What is biosecurity?

Biosecurity is the foundation of all disease control programs. In animal production, it is the combination of all measures (practices) implemented on the farm to reduce the risk of entry or spread of pests and disease agents into the herd or flock.

Farm biosecurity

Farm biosecurity is the management practices carried out on-farm to:

  • prevent the entry and spread of pests and diseases
  • protect the livelihood of those who depend on reliable farm production.

Having a strong and effective on-farm biosecurity system is essential for protecting your status as a premium livestock producer and for maintaining and increasing access to both local and international markets.

Farm biosecurity is your responsibility, and that of every person working on or visiting your property. Remember, you have control over what happens on your property.

Every good biosecurity practice you implement will contribute towards reducing the risk of bringing a disease onto a property, then establishing and spreading.

Reduce risk of disease on your property

Buying animals can create a major risk of introducing disease onto your farm. A good biosecurity plan will reduce the number of introduced animals onto your property.

Before buying animals

Before you purchase animals consider buying:

  • from as few herds or flocks as possible
  • animals from properties which have good disease control practices
  • from properties with the same or higher biosecurity rating
  • lower risk such as younger or non-pregnant animals

Assess the potential risk of introducing disease with introduced livestock by:

  • checking the Animal Health Declaration for relevant disease information before bringing livestock onto the property
  • checking the National Vendor Declaration
  • sourcing breeding stock from accredited producers
  • asking questions about the livestock before purchase
  • transport using your clean and disinfected transport where possible.

Quarantine new animals

Isolate and observe new arrivals. During quarantine you should:

  • look out for signs of illness
  • vaccinate and dose animals so they receive the same protective treatment as your other animals
  • test for specific diseases and parasites to reduce the risk of accidental introductions.

Keep disease out

Maintain stock-proof boundary fences and inspect them regularly.

Don’t allow ruminants access to restricted animal material (RAM).

Manage feral or pest animals and weeds.

Biosecurity responsibilities

Biosecurity is a shared responsibility that requires collaboration between governments, industries, communities, and producers. Everyone has a part to play. Good biosecurity supports the economies of the rural communities that rely on livestock production.

In South Australia, the Department of Primary Industries and Regions is responsible for making sure that the state has systems in place to monitor, detect, respond to and control pest and disease outbreaks, and food safety issues. These systems underpin South Australia’s status in export markets which in turn helps to protect our economy.

Links to other livestock resources