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

Ferals & weeds

Feral animals and weeds can both pose a health risk to livestock and damage crops. Ensure you monitor and manage these widespread risks to your business.

Feral animals pose a risk to your property through direct impact on livestock and production and by carrying disease onto and around your property. To protect the health of your livestock, crops and plantations it is important to minimise the risks associated with feral animals.

Feral pig

Wild and feral animal access

Wild and feral animals can mix with your livestock and cause disease; they can also destroy large areas of cropping land if left unchecked. Vermin can contaminate feed and water causing disease.

  • Develop a wild and feral animal control program.
  • Protect feed and water sources.
  • Regularly check and mend broken fences.
  • Ensure farm buildings are in good repair.
  • Dispose of any carcases properly and promptly.
  • Work with neighbours and other producers in your local area to implement a coordinated approach to feral
    animal control.
  • Keep records as part of your control program.

Large purple weedsWeeds

Weed species are significant biosecurity problems in their own right, as well as being alternative hosts of some agricultural and horticultural pests. They can also make livestock sick. To reduce the risks:

  • know what weeds are common to your property and region, as this will mean you know if something different is present
  • establish a weed management plan for your property, which includes plans for eradicating, containing or managing weeds currently on your property, as well as stopping the introduction of new species (this will reduce the chances of pests and diseases establishing in the weed population and then moving into crops)
  • report anything unusual immediately
  • request a declaration or equivalent from your supplier which declares their products are weed free (for plants) or a Commodity Vendor Declaration (animal feed) when buying anything that has the potential to be contaminated with weed seeds.

The earlier a suspect weed is detected and reported the higher the chance of eradication or implementation of effective control measures, and the lower the long-term damage to the individual producer and the industry. It is to your benefit to report a weed detection as early as possible.

For information regarding your state or territory’s list of declared or noxious weeds please see the below links:

Volunteer plants

Volunteer or unmanaged plants can harbour pests or diseases between seasons. These residual pests or diseases then have the potential to cause early re-infection of the following year’s crop.

Ensure crop destruction and follow-up controls remove all volunteers in paddocks. Where necessary, control volunteers external to the paddock (eg roadways, head ditches, etc).

Victorian floodingProperty and land destruction

Property and land destruction through fire, flood, storms etc, can lead to habitat changes, which often provide an opportunity for pests and weeds to become established, and for feral animals to enter. To ensure this does not become an issue, regularly inspect your property for the presence of diseases, pests, weeds and ferals, particularly any areas that have been recently landscaped (eg new roads or dams) or affected by land destruction (e.g. fences).