Protecting your farm

On-farm biosecurity involves protecting your livestock against pests, diseases and chemical residues.

Assessing the biosecurity risks and planning to control them can improve profitability of your business and contribute to your local community's economic health.

If you suspect an emergency animal disease or pest in your animals, report it to your veterinarian and the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888 immediately.

Read the Biosecurity basics: ways to prevent risk to your property fact sheet for more information.

Biosecurity risks

Introducing new livestock to your property may spread diseases, pest or weeds.

Purchase livestock from a known and reliable disease-free source and seek written assurances about their health status, including vaccinations.

Keep new or returning livestock separate and monitor them for a minimum of 14 days (may be longer if concerned about certain diseases) before introducing to other animals on your property.

Keep movement records for 2 years for horses and 5 years for cattle, sheep and goats notify NLIS database of relevant movements within 48 hours of receiving livestock.

Water and stock feeds

Disease-causing agents and weeds may be brought onto a property through water or livestock feeds. To reduce risks:

  • assess water sources for diseases, chemicals or algal bloom
  • obtain a vendor declaration for raw stock feeds
  • do not feed prohibited feed to pigs or poultry and do not feed restricted animal matter (animal meal and fish meal) to ruminants.

Visitors, vehicles, equipment and machinery

Visitors can accidentally bring disease and pests onto your property. Visitors may include neighbours, agents, salespeople, advisers, shooters, fishers and veterinarians.

To reduce biosecurity risks from visitors:

  • place a sign at the front gate advising visitors of your entry requirements
  • minimise entry points for vehicles where practical
  • ensure visitors and their vehicles entering your property come clean, go clean
  • minimise visitor contact with animals where possible
  • ensure machinery is cleaned and free of 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.

Insect vectors

Insects such as mosquitoes, ticks and biting flies can spread disease and negatively impact on animal health and welfare. To reduce risks:

  • implement an integrated control program to reduce biting insect populations
  • look at livestock during periods of risk (after rain when insect populations increase).

Pest and vermin, or feral animals

Pest animals such as wild birds or feral animals and vermin can introduce disease onto livestock properties. To reduce risks:

  • erect external fencing that is sufficient to keep feral or wild animals out of livestock areas
  • implement a feral animal management program on your property
  • manage vermin where feed is kept, reducing disease transmission or potential contamination of feed sources.

Good management

All livestock owners have a duty of care under legislation to care for their animals.

A health program should include plans for adequate nutrition, and timely 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 animal products.

Monitor and report

Monitor your animals for signs of disease and pests. Isolate sick livestock (where practical) and report unusual signs in livestock immediately to your veterinarian and the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888 immediately.

Dispose of carcasses appropriately.

Biosecurity management plan

If you own animals, develop a biosecurity management plan to minimise their potential for entry and impact.

Also consider...