Ross Bishop

Biosecurity isn’t just about border control at airports and ports. Once pests, weeds and diseases are in our country, the border becomes your farm fences and gates, as they can easily be transmitted from farm to farm.

Here are some simple ways you can shore up your borders to protect your farm and the animals and plants inside it from a range of risks.

Your farm is an island

A good way to start thinking about biosecurity is to see your farm as an island, with your farm boundary as the border. Ensuring boundary fences are secure helps to protect your stock and reduce biosecurity risks. Many farms also limit farm entry points to control access through a single entry and exit.

Clean off, clean on

We encourage farmers to adopt a ‘clean on, clean off’ policy. You can provide visitors with a footbath, scrubbing brush and place to wash their hands and equipment. Contractors travel between many farms, so it’s important they have good biosecurity practices.

Many farms have a sign-in and sign-out process to record who’s been on-farm. This is also an opportunity to share biosecurity requirements with visitors.

Traceability is key

Tagging your animals is only half the job. You must also register your animals online and tell NAIT which tags you’ve used.

Farmers need to record and confirm all livestock movements within 48 hours of the animals leaving or arriving onfarm.

Biosecure grazing

If you’re sending calves to grazing, check the grazier is aware of biosecurity requirements. And that your calves are tagged and registered, and their movements are recorded. To protect calves, check with your vet they’ve had the recommended vaccinations before leaving.

You should also carry out due diligence on the district and property your stock may be moving to. Knowing any potential risks beforehand is prudent. You’ll also want to discuss your expectations with your grazier.

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  • Ross Bishop is acting regional leader, Canterbury, DairyNZ