Biosecurity Basics for Cattle Operations and Good Management Practices (GMP)for Controlling Infectious Diseases

Published 2007

The goal of biosecurity is to stop transmission of disease-causing agents by preventing, minimizing or controlling cross-contamination of body fluids (feces, urine, saliva, etc.) between animals, animals to feed and animals to equipment that may directly or indirectly contact animals. Biosecurity management practices are designed to prevent the spread of disease by minimizing the movement of biologic organisms and their vectors (viruses, bacteria, rodents, flies, etc.) onto and within your operation. Biosecurity can be very difficult to maintain because the interrelationships between management, biologic organisms and biosecurity are very complex. While developing and maintaining biosecurity is difficult, it is the cheapest, most effective means of disease control available, and no disease prevention program will work without it.

Infectious diseases can be spread between operations by:

the introduction of diseased cattle or healthy cattle incubating disease;
introduction of healthy cattle who have recovered from disease but are now carriers;
vehicles, equipment, clothing and shoes of visitors or employees who move between herds;
contact with inanimate objects that are contaminated with disease organisms;
carcasses of dead cattle that have not been disposed of properly;
feedstuffs, especially high risk feedstuff which could be contaminated with feces,
impure water (surface drainage water, etc.);
manure handling and aerosolized manure and dust; and
nonlivestock (horses, dogs, cats, wildlife, rodents, birds and insects). Biosecurity has three major components: isolation, traffic control and sanitation.

This NebGuide explains important steps to biosecurity and how to develop a biosecurity resource group and a plan for controlling infectious diseases. It also includes checklists of Biosecurity Good Management Practices for: sanitation, equipment, disease containment, preventing infectious diseases from entering all operations; preventing infectious diseases from cow/calf operations; calf management; strategic vaccine use; and control of Johne's Disease, Bovine Leukosis, Bovine Viral Diarrhea and Salmonella.

Publication Details


Marilyn Buhman

Grand Dewell

Dee D. Griffin


Animal Agriculture

Animal Diseases

Publication Date August 01, 2000
Last Revision Date November 29, 2007
Language English


Series NebGuide