Providing practical information to help you protect your farm from biosecurity risks

Back to farm basics for small-area farmers

May 5, 2014
Col Langford demonstrates sheep holding

Agricultural Consultant, Col Langford demonstrated how to safely and correctly catch and hold a sheep at the Small Farms Network field day.

The Small Farms Network field day, held last month, was a chance to ask some simple but important questions and get a refresh on basic farm management for 44 small-area farmers.

Held near the southern NSW town of Gunning, the field day also provided an opportunity for Animal Health Australia (AHA) staff to discuss good on-farm biosecurity practices and remind participants about resources on the Farm Biosecurity website to help them implement biosecurity measures on their farms.

A number of other farming subjects were addressed, such as understanding government regulations, restoring run-down properties, equipment safety and animal health and welfare.

A highlight of the day was a lesson on maintaining a sustainable and profitable paddock for livestock. Information on weed identification, eradication and management as well as fertilisation techniques and livestock grazing strategies was also provided.

The afternoon also included some good hands-on lessons, courtesy of some very patient merino wethers. Participants were taught to catch and hold sheep, measure fat scores and determine a sheep’s age by inspecting its teeth. It wasn’t long before AHA staff had to put their money where their mouth was and join in on the demonstrations with AHA Communications Coordinator, Harley McNamara, catching and holding his first sheep.

AHA’s Manager Endemic Diseases, Dr Lorna Citer, said she was delighted to attend and provide information to small-area farmers, many of which do not come from a farming background.

“It was great to see so many keen and enthusiastic small-area farmers taking time to learn about good farm management and hear from the experts,” Dr Citer said.

For more information about the Small Farms Network visit or contact Andrew Britton on 02 4232 3200 or