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New guidance to reduce the risk of animal disease from stored livestock feed has been published by Defra. The guidance emphasises the pivotal role... Guidance highlights need for clean feed storage

New guidance to reduce the risk of animal disease from stored livestock feed has been published by Defra.

The guidance emphasises the pivotal role of regular and thorough cleaning in maintaining livestock health and productivity. It also stresses the significance of cleansing feed storage areas, containers and equipment.

Defra said the overarching goal was to prevent unnecessary contamination and decrease the likelihood of diseases outbreaks on livestock units. Feed storage facilities should be regularly cleaned – including silos, floors, bays, and bins.

Neglecting this may risk remnants of old feed becoming lodged in joints, grooves, and crevices. Feed spoilage could affect livestock productivity and cause illness due to mould and contaminants.

For farmers whose feed storage infrastructure predates August 1996, Defra recommends the decommissioning and replacement of feed silos. This precautionary measure aims to reduce the potential risk of BSE.

Thorough cleaning

In cases where replacement is not feasible, a thorough cleaning, both inside and out, is highly recommended at the earliest opportunity to eliminate any remnants of old feed. Dry or vacuum cleaning methods are preferred, followed by the use of disinfectant.

In instances where deep cleaning poses a challenge, engaging the services of a professional cleaning provider is suggested. Even a minuscule amount of contaminated feed could transmit the BSE agent to an animal, said Defra.

While cases of classical BSE have become rare due to the  ban on animal proteins in livestock feed since 1996, occasional instances still occur – with stringent controls still in place to protect both animals and consumers.

For full details, please visit  www.bit.ly/feedstorage