Farm biosecurity involves a range of day-to-day practices that can help keep infectious diseases, pests and weeds off a property. These practices are often documented in a farm biosecurity plan.
There are two parts to a farm biosecurity plan:
- Measures to reduce the risk of introducing an infectious disease, pest or weed onto the property.
- Measures to reduce the risk of spreading an infectious disease, pest or weed within a property.
Reduce the risk of introducing an infectious disease, pest or weed
- Purchase stock from reputable and biosecurity conscious suppliers. Inspect before purchase if possible.
- Keep incoming livestock separate from livestock already on the property until disease screening test results are available to allow clearance to enter the property.
- Purchase stock with the same, or higher, health status as your own. Insist on all relevant documentation:
Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) accredited producers now have the option to complete their declarations online through the eNVD system. The eNVD system can be accessed via the LPA service centre. For more information on the system visit www.mla.com.au/envd
- Use a TruckSafe Animal Welfare accredited transporter to carry the livestock.
- Treat incoming livestock with appropriate drenches and vaccinations and hold them for a period of no less than 24 in yards to empty out.
- Ensure records of stock transactions and movements are kept up-to-date.
- Quarantine and monitor incoming stock for at least seven days. Extend this period if footrot or Johne's disease in sheep is suspected.
- Check the faecal egg count of introduced stock 10-14 days later to ensure all gastrointestinal worms have been removed.
- Agisted livestock may have been exposed to several potential diseases sources (roadways, stray or resident livestock on the agistment property, trucks). Quarantine agisted animals on their return to the home property.
- Animals at shows or sales may be exposed to disease. Be vigilant and keep them as isolated as possible and use your own feeding and watering equipment if possible.
- Visitor's vehicles can contaminate property. Limit the movement of non-property vehicles.
- Manure from infected animals can spread diseases. Be vigilant with livestock transport.
- Know who and what comes and goes from your property. Have a single access point.
- Contractors' equipment can spread diseases, such as footrot or lice. Encourage use of protective clothing and cleaning of hands and shoes.
- Source stockfeed from a reputable supplier that operates under a quality assurance program.
- Try to source stockfeed locally.
- Feeding restricted animal material (RAM) to ruminants and swill to pigs is illegal in Australia as it has led to diseases including Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and foot and mouth disease (FMD) in other countries.
- Do not feed meat, bonemeal or any banned material to cattle, sheep or goats. Tallow is the only animal product which can legally be fed to stock.
- When buying feed, always ask for a fully completed Commodity Vendor Declaration, By-product Vendor Declaration or Fodder Declaration and check that feed is free of RAM and any other contaminants.
- Ensure all boundaries are well maintained and secure.
Feral animal and wildlife
- Control where possible and work with neighbours to maximise effectiveness.
Reduce the risk of spreading an infectious disease, pest or weed
Regularly monitor and investigate animal illness or death
- Monitor livestock regularly and investigate disease outbreaks and deaths. Remove and isolate sick animals.
- Report cases of unusual sickness or death to a vet or government officer.
- Where possible record the number of deaths to identify significant increases.
Maintain good animal health practices
- Establish and maintain a flock or herd health plan. Include horses, working dogs and pets as part of the plan.
- Use proficient operators to implement plan.
- Run infected animals or animals with parasites through the yards last.
- Wash hands thoroughly and change clothes after handling sick animals.
- Make sure stockfeed is not contaminated by domestic animals, feral animals, livestock or vermin.
- Keep feed in a clean, dry area and inspect it to ensure it is still in ideal condition when fed out.
- Keep troughs clean and try to ensure watering points cannot be accessed by feral animals that may also have diseases.
- Insects and pests are attracted to water and may spread disease. Do not allow water to stagnate.
- Make sure internal fences are adequate to keep mobs of livestock segregated.
Feral animal and wildlife
- Dispose of carcases in an area where other livestock and feral animals cannot access them, taking into account the potential for environmental contamination.
Webinar: On-farm biosecurity – what you need to know to protect your livelihood
Recorded: 21 July 2015
Did you know that an outbreak of foot and mouth in Australia could cost the Australian economy between $5 billion and $52 billion depending on how quickly it was detected and contained and that producers may bear most of these costs? Early detection of disease is critical to its control, so what can you do? The Livestock Biosecurity Network (LBN) advocates making sure you have adopted good on-farm biosecurity practices as a buffer to the spread of infectious diseases or harmful pests.
To hear more about how you can manage the risks to your property, please watch this informative webinar led by Emma Rooke of the LBN. Having an effective on-farm biosecurity plan will provide immediate and ongoing returns including reducing your chances of introducing important economic diseases to your livestock including Johne’s disease, footrot, lice, multiresistant worms, CAE and pestivirus.