Grain growers are encouraged to implement rigorous on-farm biosecurity programs to safeguard their livelihoods against the continual threat of exotic pest and disease incursions.
With more than 300 exotic grain pests and diseases existing on our “national doorstep”, growers need to be vigilant in ensuring none of these get a foothold on their farms, according to Victoria’s Grains Biosecurity Officer, Jim Moran.
“Sound on-farm biosecurity systems are crucial to the survival of our grain growers in terms of market access, sustainability of production, food security and food integrity,” said Mr Moran, who works for the Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Plant Health Australia and Grain Producers Australia.
Speaking at recent Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Updates in the southern cropping region, Mr Moran told growers that Australia’s border protection network was constantly tested because of the increasing and more rapid movement of people and produce.
“Upwards of 11 million passengers enter and leave Australia each year. At the same time, 140 million mail articles and 20 million tonnes of sea and air cargo – including more than $2 billion in cereal, cereal preparations, vegetables and fruit preparations – arrive in Australia annually,” Mr Moran said.
“There are 20,000 plus pest and disease detections by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) each year, of which more than 25 per cent are found to be exotic and would be a risk to Australian agriculture.
“Australia maintains the toughest quarantine standards in the world, and while border security at sea and airports is ever-present, they won’t detect every incoming pest.
“Ongoing vigilance is needed by farmers to ensure nothing gets a foothold at their farm should a pest enter Australia.”
Grain growers can reduce the impact of exotic pest threats, protect grain export markets and reduce potential pest management costs and income loss by adopting simple, low-cost measures, according to Mr Moran.
These measures include:
- Farm hygiene excellence – insist that everything and everyone be clean on arrival and departure
- Biosecurity fence signs – caution others to be hygienic before entering
- Monitoring, vigilance and surveillance – actively look often, identify and treat
- Record keeping – dates, names, quantities and activities
- Movement controls – people, livestock, fodder, machinery. Limit access to sensitive areas
- Quarantine paddocks established for new stock and fodder – isolate potential issues
- Machinery wash-down area – use a pressure washer
- Boot wash kit – include disinfectant, a stiff bristle brush and keep it in the ute
- Report suspects to your agronomist or the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881
- Stay informed – refer to the Farm Biosecurity Manual and biosecurity websites
- Undertake a self-assessment questionnaire – measure your risk and take control.
Jim Moran, Vic DEPI
03 5430 4479 or 0418 377930
Sharon Watt, Porter Novelli
Caption: Victoria’s Grains Biosecurity Officer, Jim Moran, says grain growers can reduce the impact of exotic pest threats, protect grain export markets and reduce potential pest management costs and income loss by adopting simple, low-cost measures.
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