About Dairy Wellness

Manage manure to control Salmonella
Posted by Gary Neubauer

Cattle infected with Salmonella can shed billions of bacteria in their manure, even when they don’t appear ill. This can be a big problem for dairy producers because Salmonella is commonly spread among cattle through manure. While you can’t eliminate manure from your dairy, reducing cattle’s oral exposure to manure is critical to helping control the transmission of the disease.

Manage the manure from your cattle as well as from other animals on the dairy. Pets, pests, birds and rodents can spread disease from their manure to your cattle. Here are some tips to manage manure and equipment on your dairy to help reduce the spread of Salmonella:

  • Do not use manure-handling equipment to transport feedstuffs, as the potential for contaminating the feed is great.
  • Do not use manure-handling equipment to transport newborn calves, which are highly susceptible to Salmonella infections.
  • Clean and sanitize water troughs regularly, removing organic debris and any manure contamination. Prevent birds from roosting over water troughs.
  • Do not feed off of manure-contaminated ground, and regularly clean feed bunks to remove any manure and stale feed. Remove or block bird-roosting sites over feed bunks.
  • Train workers to change soiled clothing and regularly wash and sanitize hands and boots, particularly when moving to susceptible groups. The same applies to the herd veterinarian, hoof trimmer and any other visitors who have contact with the cows or their environment.
  • Minimize opportunities for recycled flush water to contaminate feed, feed aprons or bedding. Use staged lagoon designs with sufficient storage to kill off most Salmonella.
  • Thoroughly wash out and sanitize trailers between uses, especially when hauling young animals.
  • In the hospital pen, isolate cows with diarrhea from cows with mastitis or metritis.
  • Don’t use the hospital pen as a fresh pen.
  • Work from the youngest to the oldest calves and feed and handle sick calves last.
  • Before using lagoon water to irrigate crops, test to verify that time has elapsed to kill Salmonella.
  • Minimize the opportunity for vermin (e.g., rodents, birds, flies) to contaminate feed and water by implementing good pest control, including removing bird roosting sites and rodent hiding places. Prevent fly breeding by removing wet straw, soiled bedding and manure at least twice weekly.

Visit for more information on how to control the spread of Salmonella, or visit with your herd veterinarian.

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