Taking responsibility for biosecurity

// Biosecurity

Biosecurity is everybody’s responsibility.

farmers and vehicles

This is according to Will Halliday, Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Senior Advisor for Biosecurity and Animal Welfare, who says every person in the supply chain has a part to play in a robust biosecurity system.

“A common concern among producers is that an adjoining neighbour may not be pulling their weight – and no one wants to be THAT neighbour”.

He says a common point of tension between neighbours arises from boundary fencing that fails to do its job.

“Animal diseases tend to move around with animals, and unfortunately not all animal movements are intentional. Maintaining good boundaries helps keep out stray animals, while ensuring your livestock don’t escape and potentially return carrying an unwanted disease.”

He says a gold-standard approach might involve double-fencing, shelterbelts, or at the least an electrified outrigger.

“The goal is not only to prevent animals from getting in or out, but also to prevent any nose-to-nose contact with your neighbour’s livestock.”

Will says despite everyone’s best efforts, at some point it’s inevitable that something will get through, whether due to fence damage or other means.

“Think about a ‘stray animal plan’ you can share with your neighbour and include this in your biosecurity plan. Make sure everyone understands what you will do if you find your neighbour’s animals on your property, how they will be returned, and vice versa. And always quarantine!”

He recommends farmers consider the risk profile of their neighbour’s business.

“For example, a neighbour with a closed flock or herd and no bought-in livestock in the past 12 months poses a lower risk than a neighbour who purchases livestock without consideration of their health status.”

He says if farmers are lucky enough to be surrounded by biosecurity-conscious neighbours, they may consider establishing a catchment or community-based biosecurity group. This will provide neighbours an opportunity to discuss and create solutions for common concerns.

Such groups have had success in areas plagued with diseases such as Brucella ovis. Another option is to host a Beef + Lamb New Zealand On-Farm Biosecurity workshop.

For more information about on-farm biosecurity go to https://beeflambnz.com/search?term=Biosecurity

Remember – when buying or selling stock always record your NAIT movements and complete and retain Animal Status Declarations (ASDs).