Biosecurity for horticulture businesses in an emergency animal disease outbreak

Australia remains on high alert for emergency animal diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease and lumpy skin disease, due to its spread in neighbouring countries such as Indonesia.

Biosecurity is everyone’s responsibility. All landholders, including commercial horticulture operations, have an important role to play in protecting their properties, animals, and our state and country from biosecurity threats.

It’s important all landholders are prepared for an outbreak of an emergency animal disease (EAD) to ensure farming operations can continue with minimal disruption. For horticulture businesses with livestock on the same property, this means planning ways to manage your horticulture (including wine) operations and livestock separately.

Key points

  • Develop a biosecurity plan for your property.
  • Plan ways to manage your horticulture operations and livestock separately.
  • Monitor the health of your livestock and report any suspicion of disease to the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline 1800 675 888.

National livestock standstill – for foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreaks

A livestock standstill may be announced in the event of an FMD detection anywhere in Australia, which will prohibit the movement all cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and other cloven-hoofed animals.

Read more about a livestock standstill.

For other emergency animal diseases including anthrax, avian influenza and lumpy skin disease, movement restrictions are an important control strategy that may be imposed on some properties, depending on the disease and the nature of the outbreak.

Mixed farming operations – horticulture and livestock

If you run a mixed farming operation (i.e., both livestock and horticulture operations), separate livestock from your horticulture operation areas. This includes paddocks, laneways, farm roads and packing shed areas needed for the horticulture production.

Keeping livestock in separate paddocks away from plant produce will ensure that horticulture business operations can continue during and after a livestock standstill.

Biosecurity plans for horticulture businesses

If you operate a horticulture business and have livestock, it's important to have a biosecurity plan for your property.

A biosecurity plan should promote good hygiene practices and document how you control the movement of livestock, vehicles, contractors, visitors, and equipment onto your property.

Your plan should document contingency arrangements for separating livestock from horticulture operations if an EAD outbreak occurs.

Read more about biosecurity plans and templates.

Risk assessments and quarantined properties

If your property is suspected or confirmed to have infected animals, a risk assessment will be completed. Quarantine notices will be applied to infected and high-risk areas of the property based on the outcome of the risk assessment. Quarantining livestock is an important tool used to minimise the risk of spreading disease.

Where possible the risk assessment will also identify areas of the farm that are low/no risk to enable non-livestock businesses operations, such as horticulture production, to continue with the least amount of disruption possible.

If the quarantine notice impacts business operations, a permit may be available to allow business continuity, including the safe movement of horticulture produce.

This is why early planning to separate livestock, reduce disease spread risk and maintain horticulture business continuity is so important.

Animal manure for horticulture crops

In most cases, animal manure can continue to be used as normal.

A risk assessment may be required if animal manure has come from a property that is suspected or confirmed to have infected animals or products. The risk assessment will consider when the manure arrived on the property, whether it has been composted and any other aspects that may impact the disease risk.

Keeping good records of the source, timing and type of manure will assist with the assessment.

More information

Call 136 186 Monday to Friday, 8 am to 6 pm.

Page last updated: 09 Apr 2024