Biosecurity? Protect your business and update your biosecurity plan

Biosecurity? Protect your business and update your biosecurity plan

June 21 2022


Quick facts

  • Australia is currently free from some of the world’s worst animal diseases
  • An infectious disease outbreak would have significant trade impacts if Australia was to no longer be recognised for our clean, green and high-quality red meat status
  • Completing a Farm Biosecurity plan is the first step to protecting your business, your livelihood and that of the wider industry

Animal diseases are a major threat to Australia's red meat livestock industries and an outbreak could halt our access to export markets and undermine productivity and livelihoods.

Even with Australia as an island nation, our international relations – through trade, tourism and work visas – mean we are susceptible to many biosecurity threats. These most notably include diseases such as Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) which have been recently identified in Indonesia.

Animal diseases can significantly impact your livestock business

Biosecurity risks can come from either domestic or offshore origins. The Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) program requires LPA accredited producers to protect their livestock and properties with a documented biosecurity plan. Biosecurity relates to the preventive measures that can reduce the risk of transmission and spread of infectious diseases, invasive pests, or weeds.

Good biosecurity practices are incredibly important within agriculture, where livestock, crops and animal by-products are at risk of being affected. Biosecurity procedures address the identification and containment of disease outbreaks when they occur and detail the measures in place to prevent a disease spreading.

Watch out for these common on-farm biosecurity risks:

  • contaminated feed
  • visitors or workers who have travelled from an infected country carrying disease or contaminated clothing (e.g. work boots)
  • vehicles and machinery that is rusted, contaminated, or is carrying foreign soils or plant matter
  • introduced livestock that may be diseased/contaminated
  • invasive plant species that may affect current biodiversity
  • invasive animal species - such as pigs and foxes
  • parasites - worms, flukes, ticks
  • waste materials through water and soil

Ensuring your livestock are, and remain, free of serious infectious diseases allows you to maximise farm productivity and minimise stock losses, animal discomfort and medical treatment costs.

Protect your business from animal disease

To protect your property and livestock from risk, LPA accredited producers must implement on-farm biosecurity systems including:

  • complete a documented Farm Biosecurity Plan for each Property Identification Code (PIC)
  • ensure all livestock movements onto the PIC have a known health status e.g. through a Livestock Health Statement/Declaration or equivalent
  • inspect all introduced livestock for signs of ill health or disease on arrival and keep them in isolation for a period of time
  • regularly inspect livestock for ill health and disease and take appropriate action where necessary
  • ensure livestock do not stray onto or from the property
  • keep records of livestock movements, as well as vehicle and visitor movements where reasonable and practical
  • have local veterinarian or animal health officer contact details available and report any unusual disease, illness, or mortalities as soon as possible
  • stay up to date with animal health warnings and bulletins issued by your state or territory department of agriculture/primary industries and know the signs and symptoms of infectious diseases
  • implement other procedures or practices that help minimise the risk or spread of disease.

Completing a Farm Biosecurity Plan

Each LPA accredited producer must have a documented Farm Biosecurity Plan that covers each of the following:

  1. Manage and record the introduction and movement of livestock in a way that minimises the risk of introducing and/or spreading infectious diseases.
  2. Where reasonable and practical, control people, equipment and vehicles entering the property – minimising the potential for property contamination and, if possible, keep a record of such movements.
  3. Prevent and control animal diseases on-farm by regularly monitoring and managing livestock.

Biosecurity plans and practices are reviewed during an LPA audit and as a part of the LPA accreditation process. Every LPA-accredited producer must ensure biosecurity requirements are fulfilled on-farm to minimise risk.

Integrating biosecurity requirements into LPA strengthens the promise made to our customers, protects our industry and environment, and streamlines the process of record-keeping and reporting for livestock producers.

Managing biosecurity risk after a natural disaster

Biosecurity is particularly important during and after a natural disaster as pests, diseases and contaminations can be spread very quickly. LPA accredited producers should review and update their biosecurity plans to include risks associated with flooding and fire. Records should be kept on all introduced feed, livestock, and debris to the property and which livestock have been in contact with any potential contaminants.

For natural disaster support, please visit: Natural Disaster Response.

If livestock have strayed to neighbouring properties, producers should consider any risks around pests and disease for their own property before they are brought home. A number of recommended practices are included on the LPA farm biosecurity plan template to assist in mitigating these risks.

LPA requirement #6 - LPA on-farm biosecurity plan template

The LPA website allows a farm biosecurity plan to be completed entirely online. Producers can access ISC’s detailed step-by-step guide to create and upload documents to your LPA account to learn how to complete your digital farm biosecurity plan.

Australia’s ecosystems and red meat industry cannot risk the entrance of infectious diseases or invasive pests and weeds. All members of the value chain, on and off property, have a responsibility to ensure diseases and other biosecurity risks are not spread to our livestock, so our products are safe for consumption, and we can stand by what we sell.