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IPM strategies are often synonymous with good farm biosecurity practice

Boots can be bringing more than one 'visitor' on to a property.
Photo: Evan Collis

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.

Preventive practices

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.

For example:

  • systematic monitoring for pests;
  • record-keeping;
  • inspecting farm inputs;
  • implementing hygiene measures;
  • quarantining;
  • 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.

For more information about the Grains Farm Biosecurity Program visit Plant Health Australia's website or email

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