Download PDF
  • Hidden
Sign up to our Newsletter

Agriculture Safety: Protecting livestock from harm

Date: 17th March 2023 Agriculture & Equestrian

At Centriforce, we understand the importance of agriculture safety for maintaining a secure, safe and profitable farm. That’s why we have worked collaboratively with farmers and distributors for nearly half a century to design durable, versatile and high-performing products that help the smooth running of livestock farming while reducing the impact on the environment. 

Agriculture safety doesn’t just help protect livestock from harm – it also ensures the longevity of agricultural industries including dairy, meat and arable farming. As we move towards a future of conscious consumerism, it is more important than ever to keep agriculture safety at the forefront of livestock farming.  

According to a spokesperson  for the National Farmers’ Union, “No matter what sector or size of the farm, or whether indoor or outdoor, animal health and welfare is a continued priority for all British farmers, as they know that the public hugely values the high standards of animal health and welfare that farmers work to”.

Read on to find out more about the key considerations of agricultural safety and how you can ensure that you’re providing optimal conditions for your livestock.

The importance of biosecurity for agriculture safety

Perhaps the biggest threat to agriculture safety is the introduction and spread of animal diseases that can have the potential to cause a devastating global impact. A recent example would be the 2014 outbreak of the African Swine Fever virus (ASF) which swept across Eastern Europe. The virus rapidly spread on an international scale, reaching Europe and Asia and causing mass destruction by late 2018, including the death of an estimated quarter of the global pig population. The financial losses were irreparable and had a devastating impact on a global scale. 

To reduce the threat of disease to a farm’s agriculture safety, good biosecurity practices are essential. It’s important to understand how diseases are spread, such as:

  • Movement of animals between and within farms – in particular, the introduction of new animals
  • Direct or close proximity to neighbouring animals
  • Contamination of shared vehicles, machinery/equipment, feed and bedding between farms
  • Transmission from visiting people, animals, equipment and vehicles
  • Transmission from wildlife, including vermin and birds
  • Animals using contaminated rivers and streams as a water source

In order to prevent disease from spreading, there are certain steps that can be taken. These can include:

  • Controlling farm visitation, including both people and vehicles or equipment
  • Maintaining a large supply of pressure washers, hoses, brushes, water and disinfectant, and implementing strict disinfectant practices amongst visiting people, equipment and machinery
  • Ensuring fences are maintained regularly to prevent contact with neighbouring livestock
  • Disinfecting farm machinery, equipment and animal dwellings in between animal rotations and when lending or borrowing equipment with other farms
  • Implementing a clear pest control strategy 
  • Supplying fresh, clean drinking water and fencing off uncontrollable water sources such as rivers and streams
  • Keeping regimented and updated livestock identification records
  • Creating a health care plan with the advice of your vet, including isolation of new or returning stock

Keep disease at bay with maintenance-free materials

The Centriforce product family includes durable, animal-safe products that can help you implement effective biosecurity measures. It’s best practice, for example, to separate new, visiting or livestock suspected of infection from healthy livestock to stop disease from spreading. The Duraplas® Rigi Board is a 100% recycled, cost-effective alternative to traditional materials like timber and plywood for creating temporary isolation livestock dwellings.

The plastic material is resistant to chemicals and waterproof, meaning it is easily disinfected and dries almost instantly. Where plywood absorbs rainfall and disinfectants over time, these qualities ensure that the structural integrity of Duraplas® Rigi Board remains intact, making it perfect for troughs and animal feeders that require regular cleaning. 

Our Stokbord® product range is known and trusted by farmers and the agricultural industry. Stokbord® Sheet reduces the likelihood of transmission of disease when used to line animal dwellings, offering water and chemical resistance for easy disinfection between animal rotations. 

Reducing the likelihood of your livestock contracting one of these conditions is important for the wider wellbeing of your animals and the farm itself. Suitable for outdoor usage like creating trackways to protect livestocks’ hoofs and joints from hazardous terrain, our Stokbord® Sheet offers anti-slip protection that reduces trauma to animals’ feet and acts as a cushion to minimise wear on joints. This chemical resistant and non-toxic shield can be overlaid fastened down using a fixing system to create a more permanent solution.

See how the Stokbord® Sheet was put to use at Knowsley Safari Park as an indoor shelter.

Increase comfort during veterinary visits

Your livestock is a top priority, and keeping up to date with their veterinary procedures and examinations is key to keeping them healthy. An integral part of farming is inoculation and vaccination of livestock to reduce the risk of disease and infection, and it’s good practice to use a cow chute when working with cattle to help keep them steady during examinations or the administration of medication. This is designed to temporarily restrain individual livestock, preventing it from causing harm to itself, yourself, colleagues or vets. 

However, the apparatus is usually metal and can feel cold or uncomfortable for the animal, so creating a more pleasant environment can help make the cattle feel more at ease. Stokbord® Sheet can be used as lining for cow chutes, acting as a cushioning material and preventing the animal from experiencing unnecessary discomfort while it is examined. 

Foot and joint health

An important aspect of agricultural safety is considering the foot and joint health of your livestock. Clinical lameness is a welfare concern and can be indicative of inadequate farm facilities. Livestock need clean, dry and stable ground and pasture to protect them against environmental hoof or foot health issues, such as:

  • Laminitis – caused by excessive standing on concrete
  • Digital dermatitis (heel warts) – caused by high exposure to some organisms in mud and manure
  • Interdigital dermatitis – caused by bacteria on the skin of cows and spread from cow to cow, especially through manure
  • Foot rot (interdigital phlegmon) – enters the foot via skin defect possibly caused by the environment, including stones, stubble, pieces of wood, uneven ground, constant moisture presence or dried mud

Like Stokbord® Sheet, Stokbord® Ground Shield is waterproof so dries quickly after cleaning or disinfecting. And it isn’t just restricted to hard grounds like cement – use it in paddocks or pastures to protect from damage and creation of bog-like conditions caused by machinery or animal hoofs where water can collect and become stagnant.

Shelter in the agricultural security

There are a variety of sheltering options for livestock, which can influence a farm’s agricultural safety. When planning or maintaining animal dwellings, it is important to consider the size of the structure as well as the material. 

Your livestock shelter must be in keeping with your country’s farming regulations, as failing to do so is a welfare concern and could jeopardise the agricultural safety of your livestock and your farm’s reputation. In fact, radical environmentalists have even been known to break into farms that are not complying to basic welfare regulations. 

The structure of a shelter should provide:

  • A waterproof environment
  • Warmth in winter 
  • A form of shade in summer 

The Duraplas® Rigi Board can be used as a waterproof membrane on roofing to make your animal shelter watertight. The water- and rot-resistant material is manufactured from 100% recycled HDPE plastic, with a lifespan four times the length of timber, and a maintenance-free finish. 

To help insulate and waterproof your livestock dwelling, Stokbord® Sheet is designed with agricultural safety in mind. The boards can be added to the interior of shelters, allowing you to disinfect without being concerned of causing moisture damage. We offer a smooth surface customisation of the Stokbord® Sheet for ease of cleaning. Plus, the material is chew-resistant so it is equipped to withstand agricultural environments.

Stokbord® Sheet can also be added to the exterior of shelters to protect your livestock from the elements all year round. Not only making the shelter waterproof, Stokbord® Sheet also improves the structural integrity of the shelter and helps with insulation – keeping your animals warm in winter, preventing hyperthermia, and keeping them cool in summer to prevent heat exhaustion.  

To find out more about how Centriforce can help you keep your livestock safe, take a look at our dedicated livestock protection page.