On farm biosecurity
Property biosecurity involves protecting the health of your animals and their environment by reducing the risk of disease, chemical residues and pests on your property.
Assessing the risks and planning to control them can improve the profitability of your business and contribute to good biosecurity in your community.
Visitors can bring disease onto your property. Visitors include neighbours, agents, salespeople, advisors, shooters, fishers and vets.
To reduce biosecurity risks from visitors:
- place a sign at the front gate advising visitors to report to your house or office rather than driving over the farm looking for you
- have one entry point for vehicles and ensure vehicles entering your property are clean
- allow visitors access to livestock and property only where necessary - conduct a risk assessment before allowing a visitor on to the property, and drive them around the farm in your farm vehicle
- keep a record of names and dates of every visitor to your property
- ensure that visitors wash their hands, and have clean clothing and boots
- provide protective clothing, footwear and disinfectant for visitors inspecting your animals.
Introducing new animals
New animals are the most common way that disease is introduced to stock. This includes bought-in replacement stock and stray, feral or wild animals. A priority is to ensure that boundary fences are stock-proof to prevent stray animals entering and property stock leaving.
Before introducing new animals, request the history of livestock and minimise the risk of introducing disease. Obtain supporting paperwork, such as animal health statements, and ensure movement requirements are met.
Keep a record of the property of origin of livestock and notify NLIS database of relevant movements.
Having a closed property substantially reduces risk. If you need to introduce new genetics, consider:
- purchasing new stock from a known and reliable source
- quarantining new introductions for a certain period of time to allow any incubating diseases to manifest
- using embryo transfer or artificial insemination.
Water, food and machinery
Disease-causing agents, weeds and chemicals can be brought onto a property with water or food, or on machinery.
To reduce risks:
- assess water sources for diseases, chemicals or algal bloom
- assess feedstuffs for contamination with weeds, seeds and chemical residues
- know where hay, straw and grain is coming from and obtain a vendor declaration
- do not feed swill to pigs and do not feed restricted animal matter (animal meal and fish meal) to ruminants
- ensure machinery is cleaned and disinfected with high-pressure water or air to remove soil, faeces and weed seeds before entry onto the property
- avoid sharing equipment between properties - if equipment is borrowed or lent, clean and disinfect equipment thoroughly.
All animal carers have a duty of care under legislation to look after their animals correctly.
A health program should include plans for adequate nutrition and timely execution of husbandry procedures such as vaccinations and chemical applications.
All agricultural and veterinary chemicals must be used according to label instructions. Withholding periods must be observed to avoid chemical residues in plant or animal products.
You need to constantly monitor your animals for signs of disease. Diseases are more easily treated and controlled the earlier they are detected. You must report the presence of prohibited or restricted matter (notifiable diseases). If you suspect anything unusual, report it to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 or the Emergency Disease Watch Hotline 1800 675 888.
If you own animals, work out the risks of diseases, pests and weeds to your property. Develop a biosecurity property plan to minimise their potential for entry and impact.