The world relies on livestock farmers supplying milk and meat to feed the world. Ensuring animals and farms are healthy, productive and profitable is more vital than ever in the current situation. Providing professional veterinary care and advice is a critical part of this. Warrnambool Veterinary is continuing to provide veterinary attention to large and small animals. Covid 19 means we need to take extra precautions. Remember that extra precautions are to protect our vets and workers AND to protect you and your workers from Covid 19.

GOOD HYGIENE

Hand washing with soap and water for 20 seconds, or use hand sanitiser with 60% alcohol. Hand washing is the key to minimising disease transmission for Covid 19. This should be done regularly, especially after handling any equipment which other people have been handling. Gloves will only protect you for a short time. Gloves quickly become contaminated with Covid 19 and then spread the infection to you probably more than your bare hands.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, mouth or nose and always wash hands before eating or drinking.
  • Practice good hygiene by coughing into a tissue or elbow and then wash hands and dispose of tissue
  • No sharing of food or drinks

SOCIAL DISTANCING

  • Maintain a 1.5 to 2m separation between people, unless it is essential for safety reasons. If so, minimise the time spent in close contact.

Yes, we know hygiene and distancing are difficult on farms. However, with planning and thought, precautions can be maxised.

PEOPLE ON FARMS

  • Minimise the number of people on farm. Those visitors not necessary for the day-to-day operation of the business should not be allowed onto the operation.
  • Do not go to work if you are not feeling well, especially if you have a cough or fever. Inform all employees to not come to work if they are feeling unwell. Management on farms should routinely look for ill employees and immediately send them home.
  • Exclude visitors or workers who:
  • have travelled abroad in the last 14 days
  • are ill, especially with symptoms of COVID-19
  • have been in contact with a confirmed or suspected case in the last 14 days.

Some farms are making all visitors sign a form confirming people coming on the farm fit this criteria.

POTENTIAL WORKER SHORTAGES

  • Farmers should have plans and protocols in place in the event of staff shortages. Consider the major job roles on the farm and decide on any cross-training where applicable. Warrnambool Veterinary can assist with staff training where needed.

  • Farmers should have a plan in place for continuity of day-to-day job functions in the event that employees self-isolate or are quarantined. For example, perhaps synchronising may lessen the need for worker hours spent on heat detection.

SUPPLY OF DRUGS AND MEDICATION

  • Please phone the clinic and discuss any requirements for drugs with a vet.

  • Once the vet has approved the drugs required, we will get them ready. If you phone on arrival at the clinic, we can put them outside for collection. This minimises the risks to you and us.

  • Alternatively, we offer our farm delivery service.

  • Telemedicine may provide another method on ensuring treatment is correct without an on-farm visit.

  • Suppliers have stated that they are not currently experiencing any supply issues Hoarding of supplies or bulk purchasing in anticipation of a shortage is not necessary and not recommended as it could create artificial product supply issues.

OFF FARM VISITS

  • As required by social distancing rules, ensure you and others on the farm only go off farm for essential supplies.
  • Ensure good hygiene (hand washing etc) between stores or visits and on your return.
  • Consider if contact can be made remotely, or if the product can be delivered – as Warrnambool Veterinary can.

HEALTH AND WELL-BEING

  • Consider your mental health and physical well-being as well as the mental health and well-being of your employees The farm economy and stress of being a farm owner, manager or worker can be exacerbated during the uncertain times we are currently facing. Ask everyone how they are doing.

FARM SAFETY

  • Safety of our people is paramount. Whether employers, farm owners or farm managers, we all have obligations to ensure that we provide a safe working environment.
  • Social distancing does NOT mean vets should be left to work alone
  • Yards, crushes and equipment must be safe and fit for purpose.