If it can move, it can carry pests, weeds and diseases. For this reason, it is important to communicate your biosecurity requirements to all people entering farms. Never assume people know the biosecurity measures you have in place for your farm.
There are a number of ways you can communicate your biosecurity requirements, including:
- Limit the entry points to access the farm. Reducing entry points allows you to record all vehicle movements and know who is on farm.
- Use biosecurity signs at farm entry points. Ensure your biosecurity signs are clear and visible with a point of contact (phone number or UHF) for visitors to call before accessing the property. This is one of the main and simplest ways to let others know you have a biosecurity plan or procedures in place.
- Direct all visitors to a designated parking area. Using clear signage and instructions allows you to further direct visitors as required e.g. whether you require visitors to report the farm office, park their vehicle in a specified spot or sign a visitor register.
- Inform visitors accessing production areas of your farm about biosecurity measures ahead of their visit. These include informing visitors that vehicles, machinery and equipment should arrive mud and trash-free. Mud and trash are the primary vectors for pathogens and pests spreading.
- Ensure visitors know the location of the farm wash-down facility or nearest public wash-down facility. This enables visitors to wash-down, if required, before or after accessing production areas of the farm.
- Incorporate a biosecurity component into employee inductions and toolbox meetings. Ensure farm staff and personnel understand the biosecurity practices and requirements of the farm on a day-to-day basis and are familiar with what to do if they see unusual plant symptoms or pests on farm.
Simple biosecurity measures built into day-to-day practices and farm events (i.e. harvest) can help prevent the spread of pests, weeds and disease 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.