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

Train, plan & record

An important part of farm biosecurity, and also of managing your business, is ensuring staff are well trained, that you have the ability to trace where animals or plants have come from and where they went and that you have records of purchases, sales and movements.

In the event of an emergency animal disease or exotic plant pest incursion, valuable time can be lost trying to determine how far the disease or pest may have spread. Sound record keeping can speed up this process and prevent the spread of the disease or pest.

Training staff in biosecurity measures and knowing what to look out for, monitoring plants and animals for signs of disease, recording all farm activities that could infect plants or animals, and sound planning, can all reduce the possibility of an emergency animal disease or exotic plant pest to become established on your property.

Farm Biosecurity Action PlannerDevise a biosecurity plan that is tailored to your needs. Work through the risks and actions to take to minimise the risk using our Farm Biosecurity Action Planner.


Staff training

Anyone working on the property (including family members) may not know how easily diseases, pests and weeds can spread and how to prevent this happening. To reduce the risks:

  • Greg Mouat, Babu and camerman

    Ensure staff know how diseases, pests and weeds spread, and what they should do when entering and leaving the property to minimise risk

  • Involve staff in the daily monitoring of livestock, crops or plantations
  • Keep records of staff training and ensure they are regularly maintained
  • Tell contractors what biosecurity measures are expected of them while working on your property.


Regularly monitor your crops or livestock to give you the best chance of identifying a new pest or disease before it becomes established. To effectively put these practices in place:

  • Establish an active monitoring program and record the results, even when nothing is found
  • Download and use a surveillance datasheet
  • Identify diseases, pests and weeds that are the target of surveillance before starting
  • Become familiar with the usual diseases, pests and weeds found on your property, so that you will know if you see anything unusual
  • Consult with neighbours on any biosecurity issues, as it is likely that the problem doesn’t stop at your own property’s boundaries.

Man-with-computerRecord keeping

A property owner or manager should to be able to ‘trace back’ and ‘trace forward’ if there is a disease, pest or weed incursion on their property. To allow you to do this effectively:

  • Keep a record of every visitor to your property and include details of their biosecurity risk assessment
  • Ensure your visitor register is up to date
  • Keep a record of all livestock or planting and propagation material that comes onto your property, including the source, date, treatments, certifications and where it is stored on your property
  • For planting material entering the property, records should continue to be kept, including where these materials are used on your property
  • All products that leave your property should be recorded, including the date, commodity, destination and treatments
  • Record animal mortalities and dispose of dead stock in accordance with documented procedures
  • Follow any national or industry regulations or guidelines for record keeping.

hot lines stampReporting suspect diseases, pests and weeds

Check your property frequently for the presence of new diseases, plant pests, weeds and unusual signs. Make sure you are familiar with common diseases, pests and weeds so you can tell if you see something different.

The earlier a suspect disease, pest or weed is detected and reported, the higher the chance of eradicating it or implementing effective control measures, and the lower the long-term damage to the individual grower and the industry. Put simply, catching a bug early is in everyone’s interest.

Calls to the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline or the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline are forwarded to an experienced person in each state or territory. Every report is checked out and treated confidentially.

If you suspect you have found an exotic plant pest or emergency animal disease, the following general precautions should be taken:

  • For plants, mark the area to make it easy to find again later
  • Isolate the affected livestock immediately
  • Do not allow movement of people and equipment near the affected area and animals
  • Wash hands, clothes and boots that have been in contact with affected livestock, plant material or soil.
  • Do not touch, move or transport affected plant material or livestock without advice from your state Department of Primary Industries.

Biosecurity checklistBiosecurity planning

A Farm Biosecurity Action Planner will help you prioritise the implementation of biosecurity practices relevant to your property. After you have ranked your priorities, you may also like to consider which ones you can achieve in the short and long term.

More about planning