August 2017

What is farm biosecurity?
Biosecurity refers to practices that aim to reduce the risk of introducing and spreading diseases, pests and weeds.

Effective biosecurity:
 Allows early detection and management to reduce the impact of diseases, pests and weeds
 Underpins farm productivity
 Maintains market access
 Gives consumers confidence
 Protects the natural environment.

What can I do on farm?
Effective biosecurity isn’t costly or difficult to implement. 

Preparing a biosecurity plan is a great starting point as it takes you through key practices, documenting what you’re doing and helps identify key areas to address.

1. Farm inputs
Products entering your property pose a risk, including new livestock, feed and water supplies.

When purchasing livestock you can request an Animal Health Declaration (AHD), in addition to the compulsory National Vendor Declaration (NVD), which declares the livestock disease status and helps you assess the risk of introducing diseases or pests.

Once stock arrive from sale, agistment or shows, inspect their health and keep them separate from other stock for at least 21 days. This allows signs of disease to develop and stock to empty out. 

When selecting stock feed it is important that it does not contain animal matter. Also inspect feed for other foreign material on arrival.

Identify waterways and drainage that could carry contaminants, fecal matter or chemicals onto your property. Fencing these areas will reduce the risk of stock accessing contaminants. 

2. People, vehicles & equipment 
People, vehicles and equipment entering and moving around your property can pose a high risk and it is important to monitor and record their movements where possible.

Display highly visible signs to support your property’s biosecurity message and control where people enter your property.

It is important that all employees and visitors are aware of the biosecurity practices on your property. This may include a designated parking area and transporting visitors around your property in your own vehicle.

High risk visitors, who may have been in contact with livestock on other properties such as veterinarians and livestock agents, should wear clean boots and clean and disinfect any equipment.

3. Production practices
Regularly monitoring livestock for unusual symptoms is key to rapid disease response. Keep watch for:
 Unexplained deaths
 Sores/ulcers/lesion on the feet or mouth
 A reluctance to eat or move
 Excessive salivation/drooling

Report any cases to your vet or the 24 hour Emergency Animal Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888. 

Having a permanent quarantine area allows animals to be isolated if needed.

If a death occurs, a disposal procedure will reduce the risk of other livestock coming in contact with the carcass. 

Ensuring property and boundary fences are maintained will reduce the risk of strays entering your property. Set up an arrangement with neighbours to contact each other if a stray is found so you can quarantine the animal before re-introduction. 

Consider how to prevent nose-to-nose contact with neighboring stock to reduce the risk of introducing diseases and pests.

4. Pests & weeds
Be aware of any feral animal or weed control programs that are in place in your area and try to coordinate your management strategies in with them. 

Quarantining stock on arrival gives weed seeds time to pass through the animal’s digestive tract before going out to pasture. 

5. Farm outputs
It is important that animals leaving your property are fit to load to minimise the risk of animal welfare issues.

To comply with NLIS standards, stock leaving your property must be tagged, appropriately recorded on the NLIS database and accompanied by an NVD. 

6. Train, plan & record
Efficiently recording livestock treatments is essential to maintain your herd health status and complete accurate nvds and AHD when stock leave your property.

It is also important to be aware of vulnerable people working on your property, ensuring they are protected against animal-to-human diseases such as Q fever, tetanus and leptospirosis.

Make sure all family members and employees are aware of their role in effective biosecurity on your farm and who to contact if a risk is identified. 

For more information contact Livestock Health & Biosecurity VICTORIA on 1300 020 163 or email

Farm Biosecurity 

On Farm Biosecurity Plan Template

Author; VFF, original version published November 2012, updated August 2017. Disclaimer: The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF), its partners, agents and contractors do not guarantee that this publication is without flaw and do not accept any liability whatsoever for any errors, defects or omissions in the information provided. This publication is intended for general information purposes only and does not constitute financial, legal, investment, production or marketing advice. The VFF excludes all liability for any loss or damage of any kind arising in relation to this publication including any reliance on the information contained herein. 

Take home messages:

► Biosecurity is everyone’s responsibility. 

► Something to keep in mind when contractors arrive on your property: arrive clean, leave clean.

► Keep your biosecurity plan up to date, review it annually and take the opportunity to look for ways to reduce the risk on your property.

You can download the 'Biosecurity Fact Sheet' from the link below

Biosecurity Fact Sheet
(Adobe PDF File)