Improving your biosecurity safeguards

29 November 2018

Good biosecurity practices are now considered some of the most important aspects of running a livestock enterprise. Biosecurity – including a Farm Biosecurity Plan – forms part of Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) accreditation.

Producers share a responsibility to protect Australian livestock from the introduction and spread of diseases, pests and weeds. Biosecurity measures underpin best practice in animal welfare, and contribute to protecting Australia’s reputation as a producer of some of the world’s safest and cleanest food.

A biosecurity breach could lead to massive costs not just to producers, but to Australia's supply chain and reputation. Foot and Mouth Disease outbreaks in the UK in 2001 and 2007 provide a cautionary tale of the potentially catastrophic consequences of a breakdown in these systems.

Animal health

Proactive management of your animals’ health and welfare requires careful and regular monitoring and early detection of disease. Your flock or herd health plan should also include management of non-production animals (horses, working dogs) as they can transmit parasites and vector-borne diseases.

Remove and isolate sick animals. Keep comprehensive records – this will allow you to identify significant increases in adverse events. Investigate any disease outbreaks and/or deaths, and report unusual illnesses or deaths to a vet or government officer.

Tips

  • Obtain certification of disease status of any new animals.
  • Conduct external parasite control on new stock before releasing on-farm.
  • Where practical, restrict the movement of people, vehicles and equipment onto the property and record any visits that do occur.

Fodder and feed security

As part of the LPA accreditation process, producers must secure a CVD (commodity vendor declaration) when purchasing fodder or feed, to ensure it’s safe from chemical contamination.

Feed storage areas should be clean, dry and secured from vermin or domestic animals.

In the paddock, keep troughs clean and watering points inaccessible to feral animals if possible. Use integrated weed management techniques – herbicide and pasture-crop rotations – to keep paddocks clean.

Tips

  • Know where your fodder comes from and keep good records.
  • Use integrated management techniques in the control of weeds and parasites: drench rotations, leader-follower grazing systems, herbicide rotations and pasture-crop rotations for weed control.

Movement of stock

Biosecurity needs to be considered both when bringing stock onto the property and when moving stock within the property. Purchase stock only from reputable and biosecurity-conscious suppliers, and inspect animals before purchase if possible.

Insist on all relevant documentation, such as:

  • LPA National Vendor Declaration/Waybill
  • National Sheep Health Declaration
  • National Goat Health Declaration
  • National Cattle Health Declaration.

It’s a good idea to quarantine introduced livestock on arrival for at least seven days.

Tips

  • Ensure livestock brought onto the property have a Livestock Health Statement/Declaration or equivalent.
  • Treat incoming livestock with appropriate drenches and vaccinations and hold them for a period of no less than 24 in yards to empty out.
  • Do not move animals grazing on weedy paddocks into clean paddocks.
  • Secure boundaries to prevent livestock straying on or off the property.

Information:

Farm Biosecurity

Livestock Production Assurance

Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline

1800 675 888

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