Practical weed biosecurity options

Ag Advice - September 2022

Phil Cranney, Senior Land Services Officer - Pastures

At our recent farm biosecurity planning sessions held across the region, we discussed various pathways that weeds can enter your property.

Among those were the utility providers, such as electricity companies. Of course, in emergency situations, these companies require access to your property and their infrastructure without notice. However, there is a procedure to notify landholders when the company is going to be entering your farm for routine maintenance.

This letter, sent weeks in advance, is your opportunity to notify the company of your biosecurity requirements. If you are unsure how to lodge a biosecurity risk with your utility provider, regarding the areas that they must access, then please visit their website.

Other companies, such as mining or otherwise, that may need infrequent access to your property, should have their own biosecurity procedures. If it was my farm that they want to access, I would be asking for a copy of their biosecurity procedures. I want to know what biosecurity risk management their team will be carrying out to ensure that no weeds enter my farm or leave my farm.

There are other simple ways that you can protect your farm from invasive weeds. Here are the top 5 that you should implement as soon as possible:

  1. Secure your entry points to your farm. Minimise the number of entry points by locking gates, you have more control over who enters and leaves your farm that way.
  1. Complete your biosecurity plan for your farm business. If you operate farms in different locations, this may mean tailoring the weeds section to each farm’s individual weed risks and what infrastructure is available to reduce weed risk.
  1. You must have a visitor's procedure that includes the usual suspects, such as contractors, livestock agents, agronomists and government staff, as well as family and friends.
  1. A visitor’s car park and wash down area is a must. It doesn’t need to be fancy. It just needs to be used for its purpose, to reduce biosecurity risk by isolating the potential pathways.
  1. Hang a sign on your front gate with your mobile number and ensure that everyone, whether they have an appointment or not, to ring that number and speak to you or your representative, before entering your farm.

Some fencing to keep livestock out, and IBC container of water and a petrol pressure washer, could be all you need to keep the next invasive weed from entering your farm.

You all know our mantra of keeping your soils and pastures healthy to ensure that weeds do not establish once they germinate. Most weed seedlings do not survive competition from a healthy perennial pasture. Healthy soils and pastures should underpin your weed biosecurity plan.

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