BIOSECURITY has never been more front of mind.
With the UK currently in the middle of its largest-ever avian flu outbreak, every hygiene measure possible on poultry farms will reduce the chance of disease incursion.
But many biosecurity measures were introduced in recent years with the aim of cutting campylobacter loads on-farm.
New research has explored attitudes to biosecurity on broiler farms, and its perceived impact on campylobacter, aiming to identify barriers to implementation.
The work was completed by researchers from the University of Liverpool and the University of the Arts, London, and published in the journal Frontiers in Veterinary Science.
The team interviewed managers and members of staff on 16 broiler farms, 6 of which were owned by integrators and 10 independent contract producers.
Most supplied a single company, though three integrators supplied farmers in total – all respondents were kept anonymous.
While farmers understood biosecurity was an important part of farm-to-fork campylobacter control, some expressed frustration at the “heavy burden of responsibility” placed on interventions at the farm level.
That said, respondents recognised the benefits of biosecurity on broiler health and welfare and initiatives such as reducing antimicrobial use.
The full study, which has extensive extracts of the interviews with farmers, reveals attitudes towards interventions such as control room barriers, external site visitors and thinning flocks.
It concludes that involving producers more when designing new interventions could see more effective measures being put in place could that have better uptake on farms.
“The universal recognition of the benefit of [high biosecurity] with regards to broiler health and welfare and other important targets, such as reducing antimicrobial usage, leaves a legacy of which the UK broiler industry can be proud.”