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Basic Farm Biosecurity

by 5m Editor
25 May 2010, at 12:00am

Producers are advised to follow good on-farm biosecurity measures to protect their livestock and crops from the constant threat of pests and diseases.


Biosecurity Queensland principal veterinary officer Janet Berry said being aware of biosecurity meant keeping animals safe from disease and ensuring continued market access for produce.

"Straightforward measures built into everyday practice will go a long way toward protecting your farm and your future," she said.

"Animal owners should assess the risks to their animals and act to reduce the risks."

Purchased livestock

The movement of new animals onto your property represents the highest risk of introducing disease into your herd or flock. Inspect the animals carefully for disease before buying them.

Always request the history and supporting paperwork, such as the vendor declaration or national health statement, before you buy the animals. Isolate new animals to make sure they are disease and weed free before mixing with your stock.

Stray animals

Poor fencing can allow stray livestock, and wild or feral animals to mix with your stock and introduce disease. Keep all gates shut and check fences regularly.

People

People can carry animal pests and diseases. Ask all visitors where they have been previously; whether they’ve had contact with other animals, or been abroad and possibly brought diseases home. Keep a register of all visitors.

Restrict visitor access to your property and make sure they don't go near animals unless they have clean clothes and have disinfected hands and footwear.

Vehicles and equipment

Vehicles and equipment can carry pests and diseases. Control the entry of vehicles onto the property and ensure they stay in a designated vehicle area. Use your own vehicles to transport visitors or material around the farm.

Maintain clean and disinfected equipment and do not share with other animal owners.

Feed and water

Feed and water can contain pests and diseases. Always request a commodity vendor declaration with purchased feed. Keep feed in a clean dry storage area and ensure it does not become mouldy. Make sure that water sources are not contaminated by wild or feral animals or birds.

Dr Berry said there were major outcomes of having farm biosecurity plans in place.

"Outcomes include improved profitability through the reduction of diseases, less need for expensive chemical treatments or vaccinations and improved animal production," she said.

"Farm biosecurity plans can reduce the risk of introducing pests and diseases onto a property that are already present on your neighbours farm or elsewhere.

"Good planning now will also reduce the impact of the next disease emergency.

"The rapid and wide geographical spread of emergency diseases can be controlled more easily if all livestock owners begin to practice farm biosecurity now."

May 2010