In May 2021, South Africa was in the grip of another avian flu outbreak. With 42 new cases reported in the last quarter of 2021, biosecurity in South Africa’s poultry industry is more important than ever.
For Jo-Andra Gregory Cloete, a poultry farmer from the Western Cape, educating other farmers on biosecurity is essential. She defines biosecurity as the protective actions poultry farmers take to safeguard their flocks.
“Biosecurity, in laymen’s terms, are the protective security measures a poultry farmer puts in place to help prevent disease, viruses, feet and water contamination from external forces like foreign birds and visitors. It is essential because poultry is one of the most affordable and consumed proteins in SA. Securing the health of your meat is important for the food security and the safety of our consumers.”
Cloete says that one of the mistakes smallholder and new poultry farmers make is that they do not consider coup layout as part of their biosecurity measures. She explains the correct coup layout is vital to animal health.
“That aspect is the most important one because your coup layout can make or break your projects.
“If your coup is not structured in a way that allows for ventilation, you end up losing birds, you lose money and you get discouraged. The structure of your coup will determine the health of your birds.”
She also cites incorrect disposal of manure as something that is commonplace in poultry farming, which puts the animals, and ultimately the people that consume them, in danger.
“There’s a certain distance that manure needs to be away from your chicken coups. What I found in my experience is due to lack of space or land constraints, small or informal farmers tend to store compost close to the chicken coups. That is the greatest biosecurity bridge. The chickens breathe in all of that and that tends to make them sick.”
Cloete emphasises that biosecurity is not occasional. It needs to be implemented consistently in the poultry sector. “It’s an everyday thing. You cannot pick and choose when you want to do it.”
Other podcast highlights:
The best agriculture news podcast on the planet also features other highlights for the agricultural sector this week:
- Business Registration 101: Registering your farming business can be a complicated affair. We chat to agri-lawyer Katlego Ngwane to untangle the process.
- Agripreneur 101: Potjie is so popular in SA, we might as well make it our national dish. We get the ins and outs of running a potjie business from Ulrich Le Kay, founder of the Potjie Guy.
- Book of the week: Our book of the week is Setting the table by Danny Meyer.
- Farmer’s Tip of the Week: Our farmer’s tip this week is around growing seedlings. It comes from Kelly Dini, a customer experience consultant at Seeds for Africa.
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