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

Biosecurity basics: Vehicle biosecurity kit

April 24, 2012

Vehicle biosecurity kitA vehicle biosecurity kit is a simple and useful tool to help limit the spread of unwanted weed seeds, pests and diseases on-farm or between farms. A kit should be carried and used by anyone working on-farm such as consultants, agronomists and farm staff, including itinerant workers and contractors.

Although the contents of a biosecurity kit can vary from farm to farm, the basic components of all kits should include items for cleaning hands, shoes, small equipment (eg secateurs) and vehicle interiors, such as:

  • brush and pan
  • stiff brush for removing soil and plant matter from shoes, clothes, equipment and vehicle tyres
  • disposable gloves
  • handwash or hand sanitiser
  • spray bottle containing a cleaning agent such as detergent, diluted bleach solution or 70% methylated spirits
  • paper towel
  • plastic bags for holding dirty clothes, shoes or equipment.

In addition, you could include vials or small containers, paper bags, or resealable plastic bags for collecting samples of unusual pests and plant material for further examination and identification. You may also wish to keep fact sheets on high priority exotic pests for your crops or livestock diseases as a ready reference. And always be sure to keep contact numbers for reporting unusual plant pests and emergency animal diseases handy:

  • the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline is 1800 084 881
  • the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline is 1800 675 888.

Additional suggested items include:

  • spare pair of shoes, for example for wearing while driving to keep vehicle interiors clean
  • overalls, particularly where clothes might get dirty or contaminated with seeds, insects, spores or animal faeces
  • gaiters (sock protectors)
  • disposable boot covers
  • magnifying glass to help identify unusual pests or plant symptoms
  • container of water (eg 5 L) to assist with cleaning.

A kit need not be expensive, and all of the items are usually available from a local hardware store. The idea is to keep your hands, clothing and small equipment clean from anything that can cause or spread weeds, pests or diseases.

Vehicle movement should also be minimised between properties to minimise the spread of soil borne diseases and weed seeds. Try to stay on formed roads and, if possible, have a vehicle that is only used on-farm. If visitors need access to parts of your property, leave their vehicle at the designated parking area, well away from crops and livestock, and take them where they need to go in the farm vehicle. That way, you will only have to deal with the weeds and potential diseases on your farm, and not those brought in from elsewhere. Visitors can also be sure that they are not taking anything off the farm.

Credit: Parts of this article are from a fact sheet by Louise Rossiter, Grains Biosecurity Officer, NSW Department of Trade and Investment, Regional Infrastructure and Services