Livestock research gets even more complicated during pandemic

Cattle groups have tips for conducting on-farm research — two pages’ worth

The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Beef Cattle Research Council, and Canadian Beef Breeds Council has put together a two-page list of guidelines to follow if research is being conducted on your ranch or feedlot.

Topping that list is: “Consider postponing on-farm research activities that require more than one person or interaction with farm operators whenever possible until provincial health guidelines relax physical distancing recommendations.”

If conditions are put in place to ensure the safety of researchers and farm personnel, “then we recommend proceeding but with extreme caution.”

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Among the many specific recommendations:

  • Consider postponing research activities that require close interaction between people.
  • Familiarize yourself with local public health guidelines, exemptions for agriculture in your province and monitor conditions as they change rapidly.
  • Have a game plan for how the activities of the day will unfold.
  • Only the required research team members should participate on farm, however, consider additional help if the farm owners are in a high-risk category and not able to fully assist.
  • Assign tasks (vaccination, castration, dehorning, branding, and drawing blood) to the same people and avoid switching tasks whenever possible.
  • Clean and disinfect equipment and supplies frequently.
  • The visiting research team should provide personal protective equipment and hand sanitizers for themselves as well as farm workers who will be assisting with the activity.
  • Provide dedicated restroom facilities that have been sanitized prior to the arrival of the research team and after they depart; providing soap, water, and single-use towels.
  • Where travel to field sites is required, do not share vehicles.
  • Food and drinks should not be provided. Visitors should be encouraged to bring provisions with them. If food or drinks are provided, it should be prepackaged and not prepared on farm.

The full list can be found in the BCRC blog at beefresearch.ca.

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