Basic hygiene should be the first line of defence
Salmonella is a winter bacteria that can affect any dairy farm. Small changes now can keep this nasty disease off the farm for the entire year.
There are many different strains of this bacterium and some can cause very bad diarrhoea and stomach cramps in humans.
In animals, the disease spectrum is very wide. Salmonella will cause anything from navel ill, scour, abortion, lameness and plenty of other less obvious diseases in between.
Again, vaccines are a vital cog in the wheel of prevention, but not before good basic hygiene practices are put in place.
Now is the time to put in a bit of elbow grease and clean out those calving pens and calf houses. Allow the walls to remain free of all organic matter such as dung and slurry marks.
Bring all surfaces back to their original material with copious use of power hosing and brushing. Bacteria can live for long periods in damp dirty corners of any sheds.
With liquid-milking herds, the calving pattern can trickle on from month to month with very little rest. This means the calf houses get no break and become fantastic havens for salmonella to multiply.
Antibiotics are a very poor part of the armoury to control this disease. Their use will lead to resistant strains of salmonella in no time at all.