Survey of farmer knowledge and attitudes to endemic disease management in South Australia, with a focus on bovine viral diarrhoea (bovine pestivirus)

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Abstract

Objective

We aimed to establish the attitudes of South Australian cattle farmers towards endemic animal disease prevention and control, with a particular focus on the awareness of and attitudes towards bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD).

Methods

This cross-sectional postal survey involved mailing a questionnaire to all South Australian cattle owners with 35 or more head of cattle.

Results

Worms and lice were the most common animal disease concerns. Less than half of responding farmers were adequately vaccinating their herds against clostridial diseases, but 53.0% stated that they utilised quarantine procedures. Less than 20% of respondents had actively taken part in BVD educational opportunities, or had vaccinated or tested their herd for BVD; less than 20% of respondents were actively involved in any systematic control of Johne's disease. Overall, farmers' actual knowledge of BVD was lower than their perceived understanding, although their interest in BVD and its control was high.

Conclusions

Disease prevention measures such as vaccination, quarantine and participation in systematic control schemes were used by a minority of respondents. The results suggest that respondents acknowledge BVD as an important and relevant disease, despite many believing it was not a problem in their herd. Interest in BVD appears to be high and it is likely that an education program would be well received.

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