Biosecurity essential when hosting on-farm trials

Field work and on-farm trials bring biosecurity risks that must be managed

Biosecurity
The basic components of all field biosecurity kits should include items for cleaning hands, shoes, small equipment and vehicle interiors. PHOTO Plant Health Australia

The basic components of all field biosecurity kits should include items for cleaning hands, shoes, small equipment and vehicle interiors. PHOTO Plant Health Australia

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Growers reminded to closely manage biosecurity risks that come with trials and field work.

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On-farm trial sites and field work are an important part of agricultural research and development, but it is important to manage the biosecurity risks they pose when holding them on your property.

The movement of people, vehicles and equipment may bring unwanted plant pests to the field site and risks spreading pests to other research sites and properties.

Managing these risks by ensuring compliance to biosecurity practices is simple, safeguarding all involved in conducting and hosting field research and on-farm trials.

Stuart Kearns, manager of the Grains Farm Biosecurity Program, recommends three things to consider when conducting and hosting research on-farm - location, having the right tools for the job and communication.

Location, location, location

"You can plan where you locate the trial site to minimise the movement of vehicles and people, including any field day visitors, to reduce the risk of spreading pests and diseases," Mr Kearns says.

"While looking for the most uniform site, it should be located near an access road to reduce the need for on-site vehicle movement throughout the year.

"This is even more important if the trial involves in crop field walks, demonstrations or field days."

You can plan where you locate the trial site to minimise the movement of vehicles and people, including any field day visitors, to reduce the risk of spreading pests and diseases. - Grains Farm Biosecurity Program manager Stuart Kearns

Have the right tools for the job

Mr Kearns says it is also a good idea for researchers to carry a vehicle biosecurity kit so that they have the provisions on hand to keep clothing, shoes, equipment and vehicles free of major pests and diseases.

"Work with the researchers and their technical staff to ensure that a foot bath or mat is incorporated at site access points and that they know if there are vehicle parking bays or cleaning stations available," he says.

Communication is key

Mr Kearns says another helpful strategy is to clearly outline the biosecurity practices that will be undertaken in the contractual arrangement between the host and researchers to ensure all those involved are protected from biosecurity risk.

"Make sure it is detailed enough so that it's clear what practices will be employed to safeguard the site and its surrounding paddock and expectations are made clear," he says.

For assistance in creating a biosecurity plan to identify and mitigate biosecurity risks when hosting field trials, contact your Grains Biosecurity Officer.

More information: www.planthealthaustralia.com.au/gfbp

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