LIVESTOCK producers can take advantage of a new biosecurity management tool to reduce the threat and impact of disease outbreaks, weeds, feral animals and pests.
The Livestock Biosecurity Network has developed a tool containing detailed guidelines and biosecurity planning checklists to help livestock producers identify and manage biosecurity risks on grazing livestock enterprises.
Northern Australia LBN Regional Officer, Dr Sarah-Jane Wilson said it was important farmers and graziers get involved, as the responsibility for biosecurity measures is progressively being placed on individual landholders.
“Biosecurity is such a broad and imposing topic, encompassing any activities taken to prevent the introduction and spread of livestock disease, weeds or pest species, and it can be difficult for livestock producers to know where to start. Our biosecurity management tool is made up of simple checklists for on-farm activities and biosecurity-related documentation, covering eight priority areas. We also provide support documents and reference materials to make the system easier to implement,” Dr Wilson said.
Many of the biosecurity practices covered in the guidelines are familiar and common practices, such as maintaining records on chemical use, fencing off on-farm rubbish dumps and keeping livestock inventories. Using an integrated farm system approach, these practices can be built upon to show a clear linkage between them and the big picture of biosecurity management.
A documented system is considered to be the ‘gold star’ of the industry. However data collected from more than 1,000 producers undertaking the Grazing Best Management Practices (BMP) program in Queensland, where participants benchmark themselves against industry agreed standards in key areas such as biosecurity, found that only 9% of participants had a documented plan to manage the biosecurity issues.
To help more livestock producers implement documented biosecurity plans, Dr Wilson is running a pilot project delivering training workshops that show them how to use the new tool.
The workshops include training on feral animal control measures, how to manage risk from natural disasters, communicating staff roles and responsibilities within an enterprise and managing animal welfare requirements.
“Australia has a unique position in the trade of livestock products, with an excellent reputation for safe and disease-free product. Implementing documented farm biosecurity practices helps our livestock producers enhance and take full advantage of our trading position,” she said.
Having a biosecurity plan in place is a cost-effective way to manage risk. By helping to reduce the impact of endemic disease, pests and weeds, in a continuous improvement cycle, the costs associated with managing them are also reduced.
LBN’s biosecurity management tool is a practical way for those without a system in place to get started or those wanting to upgrade their current system – but it can also complement what producers already have in place, there’s no need for duplication of processes.
- The role of LBN is to improve the knowledge and understanding of animal health, welfare and biosecurity among key stakeholders. Click here to access website.
- To help protect their livelihood and income, producers are encouraged to download and complete the On-farm Biosecurity Guidelines and Checklist, accessible here.