Backyard Biosecurity – biosecurity measures for small landholders

It is important that all livestock owners - small, new, established, and commercial - take their biosecurity responsibilities seriously.

Good biosecurity practices protect your livestock from pests and diseases and help to protect your neighbour’s livestock and the broader livestock industry.

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AgVic Talk Season 8: Biosecurity Basics

Hear stories on how people can build biosecurity into their day-to-day farming practices.

Listen here

Backyard Biosecurity Sculpture Art Project

Learn more about how we are engaging small landholders in a creative and innovative way through art.

Read here

Victorian small landholders practicing biosecurity

See how four Victorian small-scale landholders are looking after their farms and their animals by practicing good biosecurity.

Watch here

Video transcript: Biosecurity Starts on Your Farm

Good biosecurity starts on your farm.

It starts with a conversation.

Talk to your visitors about their role in keeping your property and animals safe.

Display biosecurity signs in a visible area where people and vehicles enter your property and ask visitors to stop before entering your property.

Keep your animals safe by protecting your boundaries.

One of the highest biosecurity risks to your property is the introduction of new livestock

Quarantine new animals in line with your biosecurity plan.

After quarantine, your new livestock are ready to enter your herd.

Ensure you maintain good fencing, particularly boundary fences and around waterways, and double fence high risk zones to prevent contact between animals.

Always keep a record of visitors.

For more information, visit

Authorised by the Victorian Government, 1 Treasury place, Melbourne.

What is biosecurity?

Biosecurity refers to measures that limit the likelihood of introducing and spreading diseases, pests and weeds. Biosecurity measures can be very simple, are often low cost and can become part of a regular routine.

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Having good farm biosecurity will prevent the spread of diseases, pests and weeds. Simple actions you can take on your property now will protect your livestock if there is a disease incursion, such as foot-and-mouth disease.

Visit the Practical biosecurity steps on your farm page for more information about what you can do to protect your farm.

Emergency animal diseases (EADs) such as foot-and-mouth and lumpy skin disease have the potential to cause devastating impacts to our livestock industry.

While Victoria is fortunate to be free of most of the serious diseases that affect animals in other parts of the world, it is important to be aware of potential diseases that could impact your animals.

Visit the emergency animal diseases page for more information, including what to do if you have any concerns about the health of your animals.

Complete the free online training on topics like foot-and-mouth disease, lumpy skin disease, livestock standstill and staying safe while visiting farms. To get started, browse the module here.

Invasive plants and pest animals threaten and impact Victorian farms, parks, forests, waterways, biodiversity and catchment assets.

As a landholder, you are responsible for making sure that your property is free from any invasive plants and animals.

Find out more about weeds and pest animals.

Marine pests are highly invasive, non-native animals and plants that can cause significant harm to Victoria's marine environment. These pests can include a wide range of organisms, from microscopic algae to various species of mussels, crabs and sea squirts.

Head to our Marine pests page to find out how you can help stop the spread of marine pests.

Exotic pests and diseases of plants threaten Victoria’s agricultural sector and honeybee populations. The community and industry can help by reporting any unusual plant pests or plant symptoms. Early reporting is critical as it increases the chance of effective control and eradication.

Learn more about priority pest insects, plant diseases , and notifiable pests and diseases of honeybees .

Use our online reporting form to report an unusual pest or disease of plants and honeybees.

Your responsibilities

If you own or manage animals on your property, you are responsible for ensuring they are correctly tagged and their movements are documented.

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Property identification codes (PICs) provide vital information about the location of animals and allow the Victorian Government to contact you during disease outbreaks and emergencies.

You must have a PIC for the properties on which you graze or keep the following livestock:

  • one or more cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, alpaca, llamas, deer, horses, camels
  • more than 50 poultry (i.e., domesticated fowl, chickens, ducks, geese, turkey, guinea fowl, pigeons, quail, or pheasants)
  • 10 emus or 10 ostriches.

Register for a free PIC using our Online PIC service.

If you already have a PIC, make sure your details are up to date.

All cattle, sheep and goats must be identified with a National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) tag before leaving a property. These are for the identification and traceability of all cattle, sheep and goats, including those kept as pets.

Visit the livestock identification ordering NLIS tags page for more information.

A farm biosecurity plan should promote good hygiene practices and control the movement of livestock, people, and equipment onto your property.

Make sure your plan includes a farm biosecurity map and a BMP coversheet and update it regularly.

A BMP coversheet includes mandatory content and a map that outlines your property’s boundaries and biosecurity management areas. This information, along with compliant biosecurity signage, is required under the Livestock Management Act 2010, to enforce prosecution in the event of illegal trespass or non-compliance with the farm’s biosecurity protocols.

Find farm biosecurity plan and BMP coversheet templates at Farm biosecurity plan templates.

This course will provide you with information to know what to do to visit farms in a safe manner. You can help protect Australian’s farms. All people, vehicles and equipment visiting farms can spread pests, diseases and weeks.

View Come Clean, Stay Clean, Go Clean – when visiting farms online course

Free courses to upskill today

Grow your biosecurity knowledge with the help of these e-learning modules, focused on different aspects of farm biosecurity.

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This short course provides an introduction to the concepts of working in an emergency response, biosecurity hygiene and two priority Emergency Animal Diseases (EAD); Food-and-mouth disease and Lumpy skin disease.

View the Working in an Emergency Animal Disease (EAD) Response – Foundational learning

In the event of foot-and-mouth disease being confirmed or strongly suspected anywhere in Australia, authorities will implement state-based movement restrictions.

View the Livestock Standstill for Foot-and-Mouth Disease online course.

Food-and-mouth disease (FMD) is considered one of Australia’s greatest biosecurity risks. This online module is designed to give an overview of the risk and impact food-and-mouth disease can have on the farming industry and what is being done to reduce that risk.

View the Foot-and-Mouth Disease Awareness online course

Lumpy skin disease is a viral disease of cattle, buffalo and wild ruminants that can result in animal welfare issues and significant production losses.

View Lumpy Skin Disease Awareness online course

Top biosecurity tips to implement now

Strong biosecurity practices on your property are crucial to protecting your animals, as well as the safety of our food and agricultural industries, from pests and diseases.

Follow these top biosecurity tips to keep your property safe.

Here is a checklist you can follow to ensure you are implementing good biosecurity measures on your property:

  • Register for or ensure your Property Identification Code (PIC) details are up-to-date
  • Do not permit visitors onto your farm if they have been in a foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) infected country within the last seven days
  • Have a biosecurity plan. A biosecurity plan should, as a minimum, promote good hygiene practices and control the movement of livestock, people and equipment onto your property. For more information on creating a biosecurity plan for your farm, including a plan template, visit Animal Health Australia
  • Consider documenting vehicle movements onto your property, such as fodder deliveries and milk pick-ups, agricultural contractors
  • Use biosecurity signage at farm entry and exit points with clear instructions. Consider implementing a sign-in processes and restricting access to certain parts of your property – check out Farm Biosecurity for example gate signs
  • Have procedures, facilities and equipment in place for washing and disinfecting shoes and clothing and any other equipment and vehicles that enter your property
  • If you are working on a property and are in contact with sick animals, change your clothing and wash footwear after contact to avoid infecting other healthy animals
  • Keep up-to-date and timely records of livestock movements on and off your property. This includes completing a National Vendor Declaration and recording these movements in the NLIS database for cattle, sheep and goats and PigPass for pigs
  • When new livestock arrive on your property, isolate them and monitor closely for any signs of sickness for up to two weeks
  • Do not feed or supply pigs with meat, meat products or any food that has been served on the same plate or has come into contact with meat – see prohibited pig feed
  • Understand the signs of disease in different types of livestock
  • FMD is a notifiable exotic disease and any suspected cases must be reported to Agriculture Victoria
Page last updated: 16 Oct 2023