Ensuring effective biosecurity measures on farms isn’t only about the health of crops and livestock – it also involves managing external factors that could introduce threats, such as visiting vehicles. These machines, if not appropriately managed, can inadvertently carry pests, seeds, and diseases onto a property, posing a risk to farm biosecurity. This is particularly true if they frequent various farms, increasing the chance of cross-contamination.

During an emergency animal disease outbreak, vehicles could become a significant vector for pathogen transmission. Infected material, such as manure or contaminated soil, can become lodged in tyres, undercarriages, grills, floors, and trays.

Farm Gate Protocols

The farm gate serves as the first line of defence. It is recommended to have clear signage displaying the farm’s biosecurity plan and requirements. The sign should also include instructions for visitors and contact details of the relevant personnel, generally the farm manager.

Managing Entry Points

Limiting access points to your property helps control biosecurity risks. Ideally, a single designated area for visitor parking should be established, limiting visitor vehicles from accessing production areas like paddocks, pens or livestock sheds without prior approval and risk mitigation.

Vehicle Wash Points

There will be instances when vehicles need to access production areas, such as during feed delivery, livestock transportation or for veterinary services. In these situations, vehicle wash points are crucial. These help maintain vehicle hygiene and prevent contaminants from spreading to livestock or crops.

Effective wash points should be:

  • Located well away from livestock
  • Equipped with a high-pressure hose for effective removal of organic material
  • Positioned where wash runoff can flow away from production areas and waterways
  • Furnished with products for applying broad-spectrum disinfectant after the initial washdown

This disinfectant should be active against viruses, fungal spores, and bacteria, with enough contact time to effectively disinfect the surface.

Maintaining Records

It’s essential to keep records of all visitors and vehicles entering the property, documenting any vehicle cleaning procedures undertaken. Examples of visitor and vehicle cleaning records can be found on our website: Farm Biosecurity Toolkit Records.

For a more detailed guide, check out our video on managing vehicles and equipment for farm biosecurity: Biosecurity Essentials.

Maintaining vehicle hygiene is a vital part of your farm’s biosecurity plan. By implementing these measures, you’re investing in the long-term health and prosperity of your farm.