Good on-farm hygiene, or farm biosecurity as it is also known, is important for any agricultural venture. By being aware and following some key steps you can reduce the risk of unwanted insect, plant, animal and microbiological organisms entering your property and possibly causing problems. Poor on-farm hygiene can lead to:
- reduction of product quality
- reduction of yield
- contamination of product with inferior products
Good farm hygiene addresses the movement of vehicles and machinery, people and dogs. It is impractical to stop all pest and disease movement onto your property but you can minimise the risk. Foreign pests, diseases or contaminant fungi are most often brought into orchards in soil and plant material either intentionally introduced or by ‘hitching a ride’ on people, machinery and equipment and/or animals.
You can limit the people who enter the production area on your property to only those that need to enter. When they do enter it is particularly important that they have clean, dirt free, footwear. Having footbaths for cleaning and sanitising footwear at the entrance to the orchard is a good idea.
Likewise, all non-essential vehicles, machinery and equipment should be excluded from the orchard; and should be clean and free of dirt when it does enter. Having a wash down bay makes it easy for vehicles and machinery to be cleaned before entering the orchard, this is particularly important for vehicles that visit other properties such as contractors. Designated roadways can also reduce the amount of traffic into production areas.
Regular crop surveillance is always a good idea. It helps you pick up new pest and disease problems early keep on top of any ongoing pest and disease issues as well as track general tree health and management practices.
For detailed information on the DAFWA website refer to Truffle orchard on-farm hygiene.
For information on general farm biosecurity including a template for signage, refer to the Farm Biosecurity website.