Nutrition & Animal Health

Focus on livestock biosecurity in Queensland with new tool

Terry Sim, June 4, 2015

LBNLESS than 10 percent of Queensland producers participating in a recent Grazing Best Management Practices program had a documented plan to manage biosecurity issues, the Livestock Biosecurity Network said.

The network is recommending producers take advantage of a new biosecurity management tool to reduce the threat and impact of disease outbreaks, weeds, feral animals and pests.

The LBN tool contains detailed guidelines and biosecurity planning checklists – to help livestock producers identify and manage biosecurity risks on grazing livestock enterprises.

LBN said a documented system is considered to be the ‘gold star’ of the industry. However, data collected from more than 1000 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 percent of participants had a documented plan to manage the biosecurity issues.

To help more livestock producers implement documented biosecurity plans, Northern Australia LBN Regional Officer, Dr Sarah-Jane Wilson says 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.

Farm biosecurity underpins our trading position

Dr Wilson said 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. It can also complement what producers already have in place.

Biosecurity responsibility is moving to farmers

Dr Wilson said it is important farmers get involved, as the responsibility for biosecurity measures is progressively being placed on individual farmers.

“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.

Source: Livestock Biosecurity Network

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