Your farm. Your biosecurity risks. Your farm biosecurity plan.
The best defence against unwanted pests, weeds and diseases is to implement on-farm biosecurity practices. Simple measures and practices built into everyday routines can help protect your farm from the introduction and spread of these pests. Developing a farm biosecurity plan helps growers assess the likelihood of how pests, weeds and diseases could potentially be introduced or spread on farm and decide on the appropriate measures to minimise these risks.
In its essence, a farm biosecurity plan is a self-assessment of your biosecurity risks and on-farm biosecurity practices. Completing a self-assessment captures what practices you are currently implementing and expect others coming on farm to abide by. It also allows you to consider other practices you may want to implement to minimise your biosecurity risks. You can then prioritise what practices would provide the greatest benefit in reducing your risks and think about which ones you can achieve in the short and long term.
The recommended practices in the Farm Biosecurity Action Planner are highly effective at minimising biosecurity risks. No farm biosecurity plan requires every action and practice to be completed except ones required by law. The practices and actions chosen can vary from farm to farm depending on the size of your farm, the physical facilities available and the day-to-day management of operations. You need to make your farm biosecurity plan works for you taking into consideration the practicality of implementing on-farm biosecurity practices in relation to your farms’ biosecurity risks. Remember it is your farm and future you are protecting (and in fact, all Queenslanders and New South Welshmen have a general biosecurity obligation and general biosecurity duty based on respective state legislation).
What is considered reasonably practical for preventing or minimising the risk of spreading pests, weeds and diseases, will depend on what can be done at a particular time, taking into account a number of factors. These factors include the nature and impact of the risk of spreading pests, weeds and disease, a person’s level of knowledge of these risks, the actions that could be taken to prevent or minimise this risk, and the cost, availability and suitability of these actions.
When developing a farm biosecurity plan for your farm, the biosecurity essentials are a good place to start. The essentials are:
- Farm inputs – Almost anything moved onto your farm can be a potential source of pests, weeds and diseases
- Farm outputs – Responsibility for biosecurity does not end when the plant products leave the farm gate.
- People – If it can move, it can carry pests, weeds and disease.
- Vehicles and equipment – Pests, weeds and disease can enter a farm and spread by equipment and vehicles through mud, soil and plant material.
- Production practices – Good on-farm hygiene reduces the risk of spreading pests and diseases.
- Ferals and weeds – Feral animals, plant pests and weeds are a widespread nuisance but can also cause harm to your business.
- Train, plan & record – Ensure that staff are well trained and that you have the ability to trace where inputs and visitors come from and where they went.
The Farm Biosecurity Action Planner provides a template for cropping and livestock farms.
Resource available to help you on farm:
This blog is part of a year long program from CottonInfo, with the themes aligned with the 2020 CottonInfo cotton calendar and the UN's International Year of Plant Health. For more information, view the calendar, or contact the CottonInfo Technical Lead for Biosecurity, Sharna Holman.