Farm biosecurity and integrated pest management (IPM) complement each other and many of their practices overlap. While they have different focuses, both aim to protect crop health, often using whole-of-farm and integrated approaches to crop production and storage management.
Farm biosecurity is a set of practices and activities that prevent, minimise and control the introduction and spread of plant pests on to and around a property. In contrast, IPM primarily involves strategically using practices to control a pest that is present in a cropping system or poses an imminent threat.
Both rely heavily on planning and an understanding of pests which are present in or threaten a cropping system, including how they may be introduced and spread.
Developing a relevant plan for your farm will ensure you implement farm biosecurity and IPM practices in an organised and consistent way. For example, a good plan will ensure that you are able to keep production areas and equipment clean and use basic practices to prevent the movement of pests and diseases getting into on-farm production zones.
Within IPM programs, preventive practices make up most management strategies which can be used to help mitigate the use of applying a control or treatment.
So, it is no surprise that many IPM strategies are synonymous with biosecurity best practice.
- systematic monitoring for pests;
- inspecting farm inputs;
- implementing hygiene measures;
- controlling green bridges;
- managing crop debris; and
- controlling the movement of people, equipment and vehicles through production zones on your property.
An integrated approach
Modern farming relies on a more integrated pest, disease and weed management approach that will include strict biosecurity protocols to mitigate the risk of them entering your property in the first place.
This is a good thing because prevention is cheaper than treatment.
Steps required to put in place preventive biosecurity measures, such as keeping a property clean and reducing the movement of people, vehicles and equipment, often do not require major capital investment and can be implemented through a change of mindset and management.
Judy Bellati is a grains biosecurity officer with the Grains Biosecurity Program.