The beginning of the year is an ideal time for farmers and community members to assess their contribution to biosecurity and plan for the year ahead.
The agricultural sector and government play a front-line role in responding to current and emerging threats.
Recent urban incursions such as tomato potato psyllid and red imported fire ant highlight that the responsibility for biosecurity is also shared by the broader community.
Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development grains biosecurity officer Jeff Russell said biosecurity was about putting in place appropriate and effective processes to manage risk.
“Whether on the farm or within the wider community, biosecurity procedures help manage the negative impacts of pests, diseases and weeds entering, spreading and ultimately establishing in previously free areas,” he said.
“These procedures are put in place at all levels – from pre-border to at-border, post-border and at the individual farm.
“Biosecurity activities are carried out across federal, state and local governments, as well as by individual property owners and citizens.
“Even with this considerable level of vigilance, pests can still get through. People are always on the move from interstate and overseas and there is an ever-increasing amount of product coming into WA through overseas trade.”
Mr Russell urged growers and community members to keep an eye out for potential incursions and report them to the department as soon as possible.
“Early detection and reporting of a new pest increases the chances of it being controlled or eradicated,” Mr Russell said.
“The department’s annual Biosecurity Blitz events and MyPestGuide™ Reporter smartphone app provide ideal openings for everyone to engage in the maintenance of biosecurity.
“Growers can also ensure they continually maintain and improve their hygiene practices. This includes regularly revising farm biosecurity plans, erecting signage to control visitors and vehicles and reporting the presence of anything unusual to authorities.
“Make sure you are familiar with the common pest and diseases in crops and livestock, so you can tell if you see anything unusual, then report it.”
The department’s Pest and Disease Information Service (PaDIS) can be contacted on (08) 9368 3080 or at email@example.com.
The Exotic Plant Pest hotline at 1800 084 881 and the Emergency Animal Disease hotline at 1800 675 888 are other important contacts.
Useful biosecurity websites:
Farm Biosecurity: farmbiosecurity.com.au/
Plant Health Australia: planthealthaustralia.com.au/
Animal Health Australia: animalhealthaustralia.com.au/
The department’s MyPestGuide™ Reporter app: agric.wa.gov.au/apps/mypestguide-reporter
Jodie Thomson, media liaison +61 (0)8 9368 3937