Biosecurity remains key focus of SA producers

By JOE KEYNES, Livestock SA President

Biosecurity remains a key focus for livestock production across South Australia with recent changes to the Livestock Production Assurance and Johne’s Beef Assurance Score programs.

Impending changes to the national Ovine Johne’s Disease program, as well as TFI pulling out of mandatory OJD testing in SA, mean a biosecurity plan will be a critical tool for market assurance as to a property’s disease status.

As part of these changes, it’s important for all livestock producers to be aware of biosecurity on their properties and to put in place measures to reduce the threat of infectious diseases, pests or weeds.

Biosecurity was incorporated into the LPA program from October last year. It requires registered producers to ensure all on-farm practices meet LPA program requirements, which now includes biosecurity and animal welfare requirements. LPA helps to underpin Australia’s clean, green image of producing good quality, wholesome, safe red meat.

Biosecurity is also key to PIRSA’s new SA-based initiative, the One Biosecurity program, which is expected to be launched in mid-2018 for SA’s sheep, beef cattle and dairy cattle industries.

PIRSA plays a vital role in the development and success of the agricultural sector in SA, overlooking the Agriculture food and wine sector; Biosecurity SA; Fisheries and aquaculture; Forestry; Regions SA; Rural Solutions SA and the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI).

A free and voluntary program, One Biosecurity is fully state funded through PIRSA, but Livestock SA has had a close involvement with the program, having been involved with representatives on its steering committee since it was first in development.

Livestock SA board members have also been involved in trialling the program, as we have a strong representation of members from across the state and in a wide range of industries. Personally, I’ve found the program’s registration process to be a straightforward and easy one. Altogether it took about an hour to complete and I found it easy to register, log on and complete the plan.

The real difference in the One Biosecurity program is that it is all based online so once producers have registered they can create a biosecurity plan for their property as well as be able to access all of the latest disease information, best practice advice and declare their status for a range of endemic diseases, dependent on their industry.

Agents, buyers and abattoirs will also be able to register and use the program.

One Biosecurity is a great step forward for our industry and will help to provide credible assurances to existing domestic and international markets and help SA producers meet potential new market access requirements. It will also help improve disease surveillance and analysis capability.

A question often raised in relation to on-farm biosecurity is signage, and whether it is needed or not. While signage can be useful, it is not required in a biosecurity plan under either LPA, J-BAS or One Biosecurity.

If producers choose to use a sign, they can use any sign that fits their needs, whether it is a standard sign or otherwise. Signage can also be used to notify people entering your property that they are entering a food production area.

Thanks to funding from PIRSA Biosecurity SA, Livestock SA now have free biosecurity signs available for members. The signs are free to pick-up, but postage will be charged for any that have to be mailed out.

Details: To access a sign call the Livestock SA office on 08 8297 2299 or email admin@livestocksa.org.au