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During winter, Australian farmers have a golden opportunity to plan and prepare for the spring lambing season, with many critical tasks to be handled. While the necessary supplies and equipment need to be organised, marking facilities prepared, and labour arrangements sorted, one aspect that can’t be ignored is the matter of farm biosecurity.
As you push forward with these important preparations, biosecurity measures must stay front of mind. The winter months leading up to spring provide the perfect chance to spot and rectify any issues. Here are some key areas to consider:
Winter is an excellent time to inspect the perimeter fencing of your property. Note any damage and organise repairs. Secure fencing is essential for keeping out wild animals as well as escaped livestock from neighbouring properties, which could potentially spread disease to your animals. Contact between feral animals like goats, deer, and pigs and your flock/herd is a significant risk for outbreaks of diseases like FMD in Australia.
Look at your current pest control strategy’s effectiveness. It’s crucial to keep rodent populations under control, especially around shearing sheds and feed storage areas which often attract these pests. Remember, rats and mice can spread diseases like leptospirosis through their urine, a health risk for both humans and animals.
Ensure all your staff are up to date with biosecurity training. They should be able to recognise signs of illness in livestock and understand how to minimise the risks of spreading pests, weeds, and diseases onto your property.
Busy periods often lead to an increase in the use of contractors. Each person who steps onto your property is a potential biosecurity risk, so it’s vital that all contractors are well-versed in your biosecurity plan and abide by your visitor protocols. This includes maintaining visitor records and getting biosecurity declarations for each visitor.
Check your current stocks of products for lambing, including gloves, disinfectants, marking sprays, syringes, needles, vaccines, and drenches. Make sure you’re well stocked up in advance.
Taking a proactive approach to biosecurity during winter can set you up for a smoother and safer lambing season come spring. It also promotes a healthy biosecurity plan for your enterprise. To make sure you’re ticking all the boxes, don’t forget to utilise our ‘Create your own farm biosecurity kit’ tool. Your farm’s future will be all the better for it.