A sign of the times
Across rural Australia, farm biosecurity signs are becoming a common sight as thousands of grain growers take the first steps to introduce preventive biosecurity practices.
The signs demonstrate a landholder’s intent and commitment to farm biosecurity as well as alerting visitors of the need to consider the impact their visit could have on the farm business. Signs at entrances request that visitors contact the owner or farm manager to formally register their presence before entering the property. Signs feature contact details, such as the home telephone number, mobile number and/or UHF channel, so that someone can always be contacted.
South Australian grains biosecurity officer Judy Bellati says many farmers are concerned with restricting vehicle access, particularly on private roads that are used by the public as thoroughfares. Others want to encourage visiting contractors, such as mining and utilities personnel, to stick to good biosecurity practices.
Some producers use the signs only in specific areas where they want to manage biosecurity risks. “It might be a sensitive area like a feedlot or to maintain freedom from pests in a susceptible or high-value crop,” Ms Belatti says. “In some instances feed is pre-sold, certified free from certain pests and diseases and it’s vital to restrict entry.”
On SA’s Eyre Peninsula, where snails and the weed caltrop have been a problem, farmgate signage often includes ‘no entry’ snail and caltrop image stickers as a reminder of vigilance for these specific pests.
Ms Belatti says at the farm level biosecurity is about preventing the arrival and establishment of new pests and weeds, as well as controlling and managing the spread of those already present. For biosecurity management to be successful, all members of the farming business and those visiting the farm, be they contractors, agronomists, friends or family, need to be involved.
Plant Health Australia; www.planthealthaustralia.com.au;
GRDC Project Code NPB00012