Grains Research and Development

Date: 19.01.2015

Joint approach to farm biosecurity planning

Crop and livestock industries are working together to promote the benefits of good planning to reduce biosecurity risks

Photo of crops and livestock

Crops and livestock, commonly combined in Australian farming systems, require a similar approach to biosecurity.

PHOTO: Plant Health Australia

Biosecurity principles are much the same whether you are cropping or running livestock. With mixed farming widespread across Australia, it makes sense for extension programs to work together to help all growers protect themselves. This is the reasoning behind the collaboration of two on-farm biosecurity awareness organisations to deliver free biosecurity planning workshops in Tasmania.

Grains biosecurity officer for South Australia, Judy Bellati, and the Livestock Biosecurity Network (LBN) regional officer for Tasmania, Jess Coad, got together with grower group Partners in Grain (PinG) to raise understanding of what farm biosecurity means for grain and livestock businesses.

National PinG coordinator Kim Blenkiron says by working together, industry groups, grower groups and government could provide a seamless approach to on-farm biosecurity and planning that made it easier for growers to understand and apply.

Ms Bellati says the aims of the two organisations – the Grains Farm Biosecurity Program (GFBP) and the LBN – overlapped considerably, with the same principles of biosecurity at the heart of the plant and livestock programs. 

“Whether it’s Karnal bunt in grain or foot and mouth disease in livestock, the biosecurity practices to keep disease out of your property are the same,” Ms Bellati says. “And weeds are an issue for all growers.”

Biosecurity is best implemented with a whole-of-farm plan, rather than ad hoc measures, so the workshops focus on biosecurity planning. 

“We focus on what a plan is, why it is important, and work through potential risks or risk pathways and how to prioritise addressing them,” Ms Bellati says. 

A good plan is inexpensive to prepare and implement, and has immediate pay-offs in preventing pest, disease and weed incursions and limiting their spread if they were inadvertently introduced. A plan can also support documentation for declarations, quality-assurance systems and other compliance requirements.

Workshop participants were enthusiastic about the sessions, citing a range of actions they intended to implement to improve biosecurity on their farms. Measures included producing a farm map to show areas of weeds, requesting health statements before purchasing livestock, grain and animal fodder, setting up quarantine paddocks for new livestock, and formalising staff education.

Other state officers under the grains and livestock programs will continue to liaise and join forces.

For more information on hosting a farm biosecurity planning workshop in your area, contact your regional PinG coordinator, your state grains biosecurity officer or livestock biosecurity officer via the LBN website (www.lbn.org.au).

More information:

Judy Bellati,
08 8207 7843,
judy.bellati@sa.gov.au;

Kim Blenkiron,
0427 592 243,
sa@partnersingrain.org.au;

LBN,
www.lbn.org.au,
info@lbn.org.au;

 

Plant Health Australia,
www.planthealthaustralia.com.au

The Livestock Biosecurity Network is an independent industry initiative established by the Cattle Council of Australia, Sheepmeat Council of Australia and Wool Producers Australia to promote greater awareness of biosecurity risks and to improve on-farm preparedness for exotic and endemic disease outbreaks.

The Grains Farm Biosecurity Program is a national initiative to improve the management of, and preparedness for, biosecurity risks in the grains industry at the farm and industry levels. The program is managed by Plant Health Australia and funded by growers through Grain Producers Australia together with the New South Wales, Queensland, South Australian, Victorian and Western Australian governments.

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