Biosecurity for sheep producers
Biosecurity for sheep involves protecting their health and environment by reducing the risk of disease, chemical residues and pests on your property.
You can improve the profitability of your business and contribute to good biosecurity in your community by assessing biosecurity risks and planning to control them.
Risks to farm biosecurity
- Visitors can bring disease onto your property. Visitors include neighbours, agents, salespeople, advisers, shooters, fishers and vets.
- New animals are the most common way that disease is introduced to a flock. This includes brought-in replacement stock and stray, feral or wild animals.
- Biosecurity matter such as disease-causing agents, weeds and chemicals can be accidentally introduced to your property via carriers such as water or food, or on machinery.
Reducing biosecurity risks from visitors
To reduce biosecurity risks from visitors:
- place a sign at the front gate advising visitors to report to your house or office rather than driving over the farm looking for you
- have an entry point for vehicles and ensure vehicles entering your property are clean
- conduct a risk assessment before allowing a visitor onto the property
- allow visitors access to livestock and property only where necessary
- drive visitors around the farm in your farm vehicle
- keep a record of names and dates of every visitor to your property
- ensure that visitors wash their hands, and have clean clothing and boots
- provide protective clothing, footwear and disinfectant for visitors inspecting your animals.
Reducing biosecurity risks from new animals
To reduce biosecurity risks to your farm when introducing new animals, you should always:
- isolate new sheep on arrival
- purchase new sheep from a known and reliable source
- seek written assurances about the health status of new sheep.
- find out about any diseases at place of purchase that may affect your existing sheep (e.g. Ovine Johne's Disease)
- ensure movement requirements are met
- keep a record of the property of origin of livestock and notify the NLIS database of relevant movements (if applicable)
- inspect and maintain the boundaries of your property to reduce the risk of other animals gaining access.
Reducing biosecurity risks from other outside sources
To reduce biosecurity risks to your farm from other carriers such as food, water and machinery, you should:
- assess water sources for biosecurity matter such as pathogenic agents, chemicals and algal bloom
- assess feedstuffs for contamination with weeds, seeds and chemical residues
- know where hay, straw and grain is coming from and obtain a vendor declaration
- not feed restricted animal matter (animal meal and fish meal) to ruminants (sheep, cattle etc.)
- ensure machinery is cleaned and disinfected with high-pressure water or air to remove soil, faeces and weed seeds before entry onto the property
- avoid sharing equipment between properties - if equipment is borrowed or lent, clean and disinfect it thoroughly.
Farm biosecurity toolkit
For more detailed information about managing the environmental impacts of your farm, use the Farm Biosecurity Toolkit.