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No holiday for diseases, pests and weeds

One of the best ways to enjoy a stress-free Christmas break is to ensure that there’s someone taking care of biosecurity while you are off relaxing.

Duncan Rowland, Animal Health Australia’s Executive Manager of Biosecurity and Product Integrity Services, is reminding producers to reinforce the importance of on-farm biosecurity practices to their chosen farm caretakers.

“Unfortunately biosecurity threats like pest, weed and disease incursions don’t take holidays, which is why if you have someone minding the property over Christmas they need to do more than just feed the cattle and water the crops.

“If a neighbour, employee, friend or family member is acting as your caretaker, remind them to be vigilant by managing vehicles, people and equipment coming on to your property. Get them to check that the water supply is kept fresh and where possible free from insects and faeces and, if they need to purchase feed, chemicals or farm supplies, make sure they get them from your existing and trusted suppliers.

“Most importantly, your caretaker should be keeping a watchful eye on your livestock and crops, so make sure they have the Emergency Animal Disease and Exotic Plant Pest Hotlines handy so they can report anything unusual,” said Mr Rowland.

Mr Rowland also said that the new and free FarmBiosecurity smartphone app was a great way to create a biosecurity checklist for caretakers over the summer break.

“I encourage all producers who are going away over Christmas to download the FarmBiosecurity app and make a biosecurity action list. Once you create that list on your phone you can email it straight to your caretaker,” said Mr Rowland.

The FarmBiosecurity smartphone app can be downloaded from Google Play and the Apple app store; just search for ‘FarmBiosecurity’.

If you have a person that is not familiar with general on-farm biosecurity practices direct them to the six essentials to help them gain a better understanding of on-farm biosecurity.

More from Farm Biosecurity and Animal Health Australia.