With the annual show season underway this month and thousands of animals about to descend on the Sydney showgrounds, it is an ideal time to consider the simple biosecurity measures which prevent unwanted diseases, pests and weeds hitching a ride back to your property.
Farm Biosecurity program technical adviser Duncan Rowland said there is a biosecurity risk whenever animals from different properties are brought together in common locations such as shows, fairs or saleyards.
“There are many ways that disease may be directly transmitted among animals and carried back to another property,” Mr Rowland said. “For example, transporting animals for others, or allowing direct nose-to-nose contact, greatly increase the chance of transmitting a disease.
“But the everyday farm biosecurity practices that minimise the risk don’t have to be cumbersome, expensive or time consuming. The safest way to transport livestock, for example, is in your own, clean stock vehicle.”
Mr Rowland said disease may also be indirectly transmitted on contaminated boots and clothing, feeding and grooming equipment, tack, pens, feed and other common objects that come into contact with livestock.
“We also recommend that you do not allow your livestock to use communal water troughs , graze on the event grounds or feed on hay on the ground unless it is on rubber matting, ” he said. “Avoid feeding any grain while at shows – extra roughage should do the trick.”
Transport vehicles should be thoroughly cleaned before returning home. Immediately upon return, livestock should be quarantined for at least ten days before being allowed contact with other animals.
“The signs of many diseases emerge only after several days, so keeping returned stock isolated is one of the simplest ways producers can take protect both their livestock and their livelihood,” Mr Rowland said.
Similar precautions should be taken with any fodder brought back with you. Inspecting fodder for pests and weeds when purchasing , and isolating new fodder when it comes on to your property to check for the germination of any weeds, will help prevent the spread of weeds or pests that may contaminate your property.
If you see anything unusual on your property call the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888 or the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.