Workshops and webinars on emergency animal diseases

Avian influenza awareness for poultry owners

Agriculture Victoria delivered a webinar for poultry owners to learn about the important actions you can take to protect your poultry.

Although there haven’t been any detections of high pathogenic avian influenza in Victoria since 2020, Australia is currently facing an increased risk. All poultry owners play a crucial role in preparing and keeping their birds safe.

The webinar was presented by Dr Rachel Gibney, Senior Veterinary Officer – Emergency Animal Disease, Dr Megan Scott, Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer – Epidemiology & Risk (Acting) and Dr Julie Simons, Director – Biosecurity Strategy. Topics included a global and regional update on highly pathogenic avian influenza; avian influenza response overview and practical preparedness; and an overview of Agriculture Victoria’s emergency animal disease preparedness program.

Passcode:  mDFKG!

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Megan Scott:

Good evening, everyone. It's just ticked over seven o'clock. So in the interest of keeping everything on time, we might get started. Good evening and thank you for joining us tonight. My name's Dr. Megan Scott. I'm currently acting in the role of deputy chief veterinary officer for Agriculture Victoria. Now look, we'll just link to the next slide, and we'll start with an acknowledgement of the traditional owners. Here we go. That's great. Thank you. I'd like to begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land from where I'm joining you from, which is the Dja Dja Wurrung people, and pay my respects to their Elders past and present. And I'd certainly like to extend that acknowledgement to the traditional owners of the land which we're all joining from tonight as well.

And if we head into the next slide, you'll see an agenda for tonight's programme, and I'm thrilled that you can join us to start the conversation about avian influenza because it's about sharing with you the information about the disease, what an emergency response may look like, and most importantly, what we can all do to be better prepared. You can see from the agenda there's quite a bit of ground to cover, but also some really interesting topics in amongst all of that. You'll also notice at the bottom there, there'll be a Q&A session at the end. So please, you'll see at the bottom of your screen there's the chat function. If you click on that, you can actually enter your questions into the chat, and we'll certainly do our best to answer those either through the sessions or certainly at the end of the session for any that we may not have covered in the presentation.

Now, if we head down to the next slide, what you'll see is that Victoria has a lot at risk. We've got a large number of birds, worth a lot of money and some important export markets as well. Poultry play a really important role in securing our food supply, but if we look at the bottom corner down in the bottom, left hand there, left hand corner there, you'll also notice that just as important with all of that industry, but it's also sort of the humble backyard inn, whether it be a duck or a goose or a chicken. You see, poultry play an important part in their personal lives as well, and they're a popular pet in many backyards. Now, avian influenza, it doesn't distinguish between any of this, all the birds, and in fact, some mammal species as we'll find out, may also be at risk.

We move on to the next slide. What I really want to share tonight is take home this message that for us to have an effective response to a disease incursion. So something like avian influenza is really dependent upon the fact that we have industry owners and government all working closely together. You see, no one person or one group will be capable of eradicating avian influenza on their own. It's going to need the expertise, the cooperation, and the commitment from all of us, and that's upon owners, industry, and government all working together.

And if we look at what some of those keys to success are, it sort of covers off some of the topics that are designed to try and address these key parts of success. So where it's about recognising the disease and reporting it early, it's about understanding the best ways to control the disease, and ultimately it's about being prepared. So thank you for taking the time to join us tonight, and as we build this share win and so that we can work together, reform together and limit the impacts of an avian influenza incursion. I'll be talking to you later, but for now, I'm going to hand over to Dr. Rachel Gibney, and she's going to give us an overview about the disease itself. Thank you.

Rachel Gibney:

Thanks, Megan. As Megan said, my name's Rachel Gibney, and I'm a senior veterinary officer working in the emergency animal disease section of Agriculture Victoria. So today, I want to talk to you about this new strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza that is being seen around the world, and I also give an update of what that means to Australia. So we'll look at the impact that it's having, sorry, also what the implications are. So highly contagious... Sorry. Avian influenza is a highly contagious viral disease of birds, and it occurs worldwide. So there are many different types of avian influenza, and they're named according to the proteins on their surface, which are shown on this diagram as the green, H protein, or the orange, N protein. And avian influenza virus will have one type of H protein, which will be numbered from 1 to 16, and one type of N protein, which will be numbered from 1 to 9.

So each different AI virus will be named accordingly to these, so the one we're talking about mainly today is H5N1, and there are many, many other types like H7N9, for example. AI viruses are also classified according to the pathogenicity in poultry, which means their ability to cause disease. So they're either low pathogenic avian influenza or LPAI, and they generally cause no viral disease or mild disease, or it can be highly pathogenic avian influenza, which can cause really severe disease and a lot of deaths. Avian influenza also has the ability to infect people who have close contact with sick or dead birds or very contaminating environments, so it's a zoonotic disease. It's important to know that avian influenza is reportable in Victoria, and so you must notify Agriculture Victoria immediately if you suspect or now you've got the disease.

So the next slide discusses this new avian influenza threat and highly pathogenic avian influenza has traditionally occurred when a low pathogenic strain has spread from wild birds where causes no disease across to poultry. And usually when we see this, we expect a few poultry farms to be affected per outbreak. But the current avian influenza, which is dominant and around the world at the moment, is this new strain, which has a fairly long name of H5N1 Clade, and it's been a real game changer because it's caused huge outbreaks of illness and deaths in poultry but also in wild birds and in mammals.

We move to the next slide. It shows that there's an important difference between how avian influenza is spread with this new virus. So traditionally, we had avian influenza circulating in many species of our wild birds, so especially in waterfowl such as ducks in a local natural environment. It's not uncommon for us to, if we test those birds, to find that there is a low pathogenic strain even here in Australia, but these birds won't be showing any illness. So however, if they come into contact with poultry like in the backyard areas, and they drink from the water supply or eat the food or dabble around in the yard and defecate and then the poultry come along and pick up this virus, our backyard poultry or commercial poultry can become infected. And what happens then is that chickens will spread it to the other chickens. And often now, we have hundreds if not thousands of poultry in a shed, so there's a lot of birds for it to spread too. And as AI spreads, it has the ability to change or mutate slightly.

And what we can see is these changes may change it from a low pathogenic strain over across into a high pathogenic strain, and that's when we see these really high rates of disease. So the birds may stop eating, they'll stop laying eggs. They'll become more ruffled, and you get a lot that die. So that's the traditional way, it's seen both in Australia and also overseas, but what we're seeing internationally with this new strain is that the wild ducks and wild birds themselves are carrying the highly pathogenic strain of H5N1. So they're becoming sick and dying, but if they come into contact with the poultry, the same methods as we were talking about before, they're spreading that highly pathogenic virus directly to the poultry. So we don't need that intermediate phase of them mutating and changing because that's already occurred, so we're getting a lot more disease outbreaks, and so that's a really important difference with the new strain.

If we move on to the next slide, this just shows the outbreak situation where the H5N1 virus is expected if we get it here, to infect a lot more properties than we've seen in the past. So you're looking around a hundred property mark where in the past we've just had fairly small outbreaks of up to five properties. And traditionally, it's just been commercial egg layers that have been affected, whereas overseas, they're saying also chicken meat, ducks, turkeys, emus more likely to be affected and also quite a large number of backyard and small flocks.

I think in the UK, they're reporting up to 25% of outbreaks have been in these smaller flocks. The spread is also different as well. In traditional outbreaks, you see spread between farms if the virus is carried by humans or contaminated equipment, whereas as I discussed before with the H5N1, it can come directly from wild birds as well as being spread by humans. So there's a lot more chance of spread there while birds are likely to become and we know becoming infected with this new strain as are mammals. So in Australia, maybe cats, foxes, marine mammals, and also zoo and captive birds are at risk as well. So the next slide shows a map of how H5N1 is spread globally. So the blue dots here are notifications of poultry, outbreaks of disease, and the orange dot outbreaks in wild birds. So in the past, avian influenza has mainly been restricted to a disease in poultry, but now there are twice as many outbreaks have been reported in wild birds in most of the affected continents.

So it's spread over long distances by migratory birds and then more regionally via the local wild birds. So in Europe in October 2021, the circulating viruses of avian influenza, they mutated it and combined like I was talking about before, but they came up... A new strain emerged, which was this current lineage of H5N1, and it became highly infectious and infected the wild birds as well and caused to be disease. And from there, it spread across from Europe across to America in November 2021, and it's been reported to have caused the death of over 60 million birds there in nearly 50 states. And so far, it's cost... The US government reportedly $700 million and the outbreaks are still occurring, so there's no end in sight for this.

It then spread south towards South America. So it went to Columbia in October 2022, and it keep travelling south and across the country as well, and it reached the bottom of Chile in April 2023. So a lot of the damages occurred in Peru and in Chile in South America. And this map just really shows how quickly the virus is managed to spread globally. And also in some areas, it has survived over summer where normally the flu viruses tend to die off over summer. So this is another difference with H5N1. So if we look at the next slide, I've just put that in there to show that these red dots represent outbreaks that have occurred since October 2023. So there's still a lot of disease occurring in commercial poultry and in wild birds. And overall H5N1 has mainly caused disease in Europe and the Americas, which is different from the past as well because often it used to more commonly seen as a poultry disease throughout Asia.

So the next slide shows us looking more closely to home. And in Asia, there's also been many outbreaks, particularly in the Philippines, in Japan, and in South Korea. Our neighbours in Indonesia first reported the disease in March 2023. So the first incursion of AI virus into the Antarctica region was detected in a bird that was found dead on the 8th of October 2023. And this was confirmed in December 2023 on the South Georgia Islands. As you can see in the red dots here, the Falkland Islands have also been infected, which is another red dot. So unfortunately, it's also being confirmed in the death of sea lions and more recently in penguins. So there's a huge concern for the health and biodiversity of wild birds and animals in the Antarctica.

Onto the next slide, it shows, as we were talking about before, that devastatingly it has spread to mammals and caused huge losses. So both land and marine mammals with over 56 different species have been affected. The main countries affected have also had a lot of outbreaks in wild birds and [inaudible 00:17:56] also. There are two different groups of mammals that have mainly been affected, small scavenging predatory mammals such as foxes and also marine mammals, which live in large colonies. So there's be like seals and sea lions and porpoises. So the next slide shows that we talk about the human cases. So sporadically, humans have become infected around the world. So for example, in about the six weeks from the 2nd of October to the... 2nd of November, sorry, to the 21st of December, there were two cases of H5N1 in humans was reported.

So the human cases have occurred following very close contact with infected poultry or their infected environments where the poultry have been. So overall, the WHO says, although human infection is possible, the risk is rated as low. No human to human transition has been known to occur, which is really good news so far. So look at the impact of H5N1 on the next slide in wildlife in South America. So since it reached there in October 2022, it's had a huge impact on the conservation of many species. So it's been reported over 600,000 wild bird deaths in 82 species and also around 51,000 mammalian deaths around 10 species.

So most of these deaths have been in Chile or in Peru, and the highest numbers of reported marine mammal species that have been affected are sea lions or seals. For example, there's been a mass mortality event of southern elephant seal pups in some colonies in Argentina where about 97% of the pups have died, which is just devastating. There's also evidence that a number of adults may have died at sea. And because of these reasons and the remoteness of these places, we don't know the exact number, and it's likely that that more deaths than these numbers here have occurred. Some bird populations about a third of the population has been wiped out in just six months.

So the next slide just summarises the impact of H5N1. Obviously in poultry, it's had a massive impact on the industry. It's been reported about 200 million birds have died that's either died because of the disease or have been killed as part of control programmes. And there's some figures here from a year, from October 22 to September 23, and there's like 24 million in Europe, 3 million in Africa, 23 million in Asia, and 29 million poultry in the Americas. And the outbreaks are continuing, as I said before. So obviously, this has had a really big impact on poultry industry and also in backyard flocks. It's had a really big impact on wildlife and biodiversity. So it threatens endangered species and especially with the high pathogenic avian influenza is spread to South America and Antarctic territories where it hasn't been seen before.

The effect on human is not only can humans sometimes become sick, but if you're in the industry, it can obviously have a big impact on your income and egg prices as well as chicken meat prices in some areas have escalated, and for anyone who's had poultry that are affected or involved in responses, it's a really stressful situation to be placed in. So next, I'll talk about what this global situation means for us here in Australia, and are we at risk of this outbreak of the new avian influenza virus? So avian influenza has actually been Australia's most frequently occurring emergency animal disease of national significance. Although, we have not experienced the current global H5N1 strain. The outbreaks we've experienced have been the highly pathogenic avian influenza have been those that have originated as the low path strain in wild birds and spread across to poultry and mutated.

So in these outbreaks, the spread was contained to a small number of properties and the virus was effectively eradicated. So the most recent outbreak you may remember was here in Victoria in 2020 when a few poultry farms were infected with the high pathogenic H7N7 virus. At the same time, there was also an outbreak of low pathogenic strains, which cause illness in turkeys and a different low pathogenic strain, which called it illness in emus. So having a look at the risk for Australia on the next slide, there is an increased risk with the global circumstances that we've seen. So for a long time, we've thought that we are safe from migrating long distance migratory waterfowl as they don't tend to fly past these two lines. The areas here that are shown as the lines of the Wallace line and the Weber line, however, we do have a few species of duck that fly from the Torres Strait region to Northern Australia, for example, the Pacific Black Duck and the spotted whistling duck.

And these ducks may potentially bring the virus back to Australia if they've picked it up from neighbouring countries that might have the high pathogenic strain such as Philippines and Indonesia that we know currently infected. There's also the possibility that the return of migratory shorebirds from the northern hemisphere to Australia during the spring months may bring the virus, but we don't actually know if infected shorebirds would remain healthy enough to survive the long migration or if they'd be still infectious by the time we arrived here, but it is a consideration that we have to make. And now that the disease has been detected south in Antarctica, there's also potential for a southern pathway of infection. So overall, we'd have to say that there is an increased risk to Australia of an outbreak of H5N1, and it would put our mammals and our poultry and our wild bird populations at risk, so that's the end of my presentation. Thank you for that, and I'm now passing back to Megan.

Megan Scott:

Thanks, Rachel. And there's been some great questions coming through the chat as well. So please make sure you pop those in as you go through. [inaudible 00:25:13] if we move on to the next set of slides, please. Excellent, thank you. We're going to talk a bit about why we respond and what a response can look like because it can take a lot of the fear and the anxiety out of it when or if the time comes. So I think there's a really good topic to share. So it's pretty obvious really why we respond. And Rachel's touched on the things like it's a zoonotic disease, so there's a public health risk there. There's obviously the health of our animals as well. I talked earlier about the size of the industry and the trade side of things and food security, but there's also, of course, our biodiversity. And when you look at this new clade that's coming out, it's certainly starting to threaten a lot of these rare and endangered species, so there's a lot of that.

And of course, we have a legislative responsibility as well, so that also plays into it. So when you put it in this perspective, sometimes you'll find that the decisions we have to make in an outbreak response don't always directly benefit an individual person that might be infected. We've got to take this big picture risk and the view in mind. So if we move to the next slide, we can start to think about, well, actually what's that trigger? What starts a response and a response? You might be surprised to know we don't actually have to wait for a laboratory result. If there's a high level of suspicion, we can actually start the process or declare an emergency response. And I think that's good to know because even if you want to report something, you don't have to wait for a laboratory result from a vet or something, you can actually phone up and talk to us and say, "Hey, look, I think this is happening. It's not normal. Please come and have a chat or have a look at my birds."

So a successful response though is really based on early detection and early actions. Any sort of delay can obviously mean disease spread. And so all these things are really important early on. Now, it's always handy to know who's involved in a response. And if we flick through the next couple of slides, what I'll share with you is what looks like a fairly monstrosity of a system, so please bear with me. There's a lot happening on this, but I want to focus your attention down to the star at the bottom of the page. This is you. So I have worked with several owners on infected properties over the years on all sorts of outbreaks, and I can tell you now it can be a pretty isolating experience for them. But what I want you to understand, it's important to know that you're not alone.

There's a whole team out there that's to support you in trying to deal with the disease. So whether it be avian influenza or Newcastle disease or any of the other bird diseases, and this is part of that team that you can see here on this slide. Now, Ag Victoria will have staff working not only on your property but also in control centres at the state and local level, and that's that big green circle you can see sitting in the middle. Off to the left though, you'll see there's a national system as well. And if you think about it, diseases don't respect any sort of border. And the industry itself and our food supply chains rely a lot on interstate or international movements. So any detection of a disease like avian influenza will actually have this national overlay on it as well, and we'll have these groups sitting at the national level that are helping to coordinate the response.

You might also be surprised that off to the right side there is actually a group called Emergency Management Victoria. So here in Victoria, we've got access to police, Department of Health, firefighters, all sorts of people, SES. It's all part of this process known as all hazards, all agencies. So if we need help, we can draw upon their expertise or their resources to actually work with us in an emergency animal disease outbreak. So there's plenty of people out there to help, and you're certainly not on your own. When we move into the next slide, it talks a bit about how does a response work, and let's head down to the next bit. And essentially, you can break it down into three phases.

Early on, you have the investigations and alert phase, then you move into the operations where you're actually doing things, and then eventually you'll head into this stand-down phase, and there's several reasons why we might end a response. Pretty obviously, if we actually get rid of the disease and eradicate it, of course, we'll finish up a response, but there also might be situations where we decide that we can't physically eradicate the disease, it's just not possible. So therefore, we'll actually stop the formal response, and we'll move on to a different sort of system. Don't think of this like a recipe though, it's not a step by step process that we have to finish the first step before we can move on to the next one. Some of these activities will overlap, but in general, they'll tend to follow the pattern you see here. It's important too to realise that different properties may be on different stages of this timeline, and that will particularly be the case if we're looking at a larger outbreak.

So let's head on to the next slide and what you'll see... Let's answer that question, what's happening at your place? So early on, we hit that investigation phase. So someone will come out, they'll test your birds, and they'll ask you a million and one questions about a history on the health and the general management of those birds on your property. We'll also set up another thing called an entry/exit point. Now depending on the size of your place, it might look a little different. The picture in the middle there is a pretty simple one. You've pretty much got the ute sitting on the clean side on the gateway on which would be the farm side or the property side that would be in the dirty side. And the bit in the middle with the top is essentially where you clean yourself off so that you're not spreading anything from one place to the other.

If you've got a larger property, obviously the scale of things needs to be a little larger. And you'll see in the picture on the right hand side, we've got full trailers with gurneys and tanks of water and multiple tubs and all sorts of things. So you can actually look to remove, you can see the trucks in the background. If we've got to decontaminate that off property or if we've got to move a lot of people in and out of a place, we'll look into that sort of system. So the other thing that happens, you'll say quarantine, and that can be quite a daunting sort of prospect or a daunting sort of thing to accept, but it's so important that we prevent the spread of disease and by the quarantine is one of our best tools in doing that.

Now, don't panic. It's not about stopping you going to town to get the groceries or stopping the kids from getting on the school bus, it's about isolating the area where the birds are and stopping the movement of anything that's linked to those birds, so that's the whole concept of a quarantine. If we move into the next bit though, what you'll find is away from your property, there's also this local control centre that's been set up. Again, stay with me. It's not as complex as it looks. And again, it's all about supporting those staff that are sitting out in the field that are working on an infected property. At the top, there'll always be someone has the overall management of the incident known as an incident manager and incident controller, and they're a bit like the conductor of an orchestra. The orchestra sits below them and you've got a whole range of different functions there that are used to support the response with different areas.

So public information's critical. It's about those communications and the media and the information that you'll be getting fed outside of the actual people you're talking to. The planners, I think of them a bit like the thinkers. They're the ones there that are looking to, "Well, what's next? What's going to happen next week? What are we looking to do in a month's time?" The operation section is principally where you'll see people working on farms or going out to do the surveillance or the testing and the others are fairly self-explanatory in terms of logistics and getting things to support the response and the finance. But if we come back to the operations side of things, and if we come back to that arrow of timeline of what we were looking at, once we have confirmed that we have got disease like avian influenza, then we'll actually move into that operations phase, and this is the sorts of things that'll be happening at that time.

There'll be a lot more testing through surveillance, and I think I saw a comment earlier on in the chat about someone who had been hooked up in that multitude of surveillance activities that were happening in the outbreak in 2020. It's pretty stressful. I won't shy away from that, but it's really important that that surveillance happens because it's about trying to get ahead of where the disease is. If we can't find it, then there's no way that we can try and eradicate it and control it. So you might be part of that surveillance if you're an infected property, you might also be part of that if you're just sitting in an area that requires us to do that sort of testing. So the other thing that will happen, we've talked about movement restrictions and quarantine, but I want to touch on these declared areas, and these will be things called control areas and restricted areas, and I want you to think of them a bit like a target in an archery field.

In the centre, you've got a restricted area, which is the hot zone, sitting around those infected properties. Around that is like a buffer that we call a control area. Now, within these areas, there'll be varying levels of movement restrictions and surveillance that has to happen to try and get ahead of this disease. It's all about preventing the spread, finding it, and preventing the spread. The other thing that's happening, and if we move to the next slide is this tracing and surveillance is so critical, and it's a big part of where you'll play an important role. So we need to find out where the disease is spread, if we've got any chance of containing it. And as I said earlier, it's not just about those infected properties, it's about all these other bird properties in the area.

So the last bit down the bottom is probably the most critical. How can you help? And it's about keeping good records of movements that are on and off your property. And if you think about it, that's important because we need to know what's moved on because the question always comes up, well, where did this come from? Where did this start? How can we stop it in the future if we don't know what started it in the first place? The other question that we'll ask is, what's moved off your property? So where has the disease gone next? So again, it's about getting ahead of the disease before it starts spreading more widely. So they're really important questions to answer.

Now, for some that will be a formal record keeping process, but for a lot of you, it could just be a diary entry, a scribble on a calendar, just something that's there that you can refer back to if you ever needed to. And I will stress that our staff will ask loads of questions about how you manage the birds, what you're doing, what you're feeding them, what you're treating them with, all those sorts of things that can feel pretty tedious at the time. But rest assured, it's all really critical, really important information as part of that response.

Now, if we head down to the next slide, we really start to get embedded into that operation side of things, and we often refer to this as the three Ds. So it's a destruction, the disposal, and the decontamination, and I'll be brutally honest, it's probably debatably one of the most stressful parts of a response. Avian influenza, it has what we call a stamping out policy, which means that the birds need to be euthanized, and it is the most difficult part of a response because it's both physical and it's mental in trying to get through this stage. Now, I just want you to rest assured that if you're a bird owner or you have staff that are working with your birds, you're not expected to be involved, but on the same token, you won't be excluded. You see, it's your advice and expertise is really valuable and how we plan to do this the best way possible. So it's about you know your property and your birds better than anyone, and it's about using your knowledge to help us make good decisions during this process.

The other thing that's handy to know is that by this stage you'll also have a site supervisor and often a case manager. Now these people are here to answer your questions, get your advice, and just support you through the process. And it's another reason why things like the Department of Health and we start to tap into those other agencies because we can offer a professional support service for you and your family if the need arises because I accept that this is a really stressful part of the whole process. Now, in terms of disposal, there's lots of different options. And unfortunately, there's no one size fits all. So those sorts of options will depend upon the size and the scale of the incident. Things like water tables, can we dig a hole to bury them or are there water table issues?

If we've got huge numbers of birds, they clearly it may not be practical to bury them on a single location on that farm. So all of these things have to be taken into consideration at the time. Now, in terms of decontamination, we're probably pretty lucky in the sense that avian influenza, it's a virus that's pretty easy to kill in general, but it's still important that you pick the right chemical with the right concentration for the task. And all of them often require the removal of organic matter. And I think there was a great question that came through earlier about muddy boots. Well, the best way to clean some muddy boots is get rid of the mud to start with and then clean the boots with something useful. So all those little tricks can actually make a really big difference.

And then after all of that's over, the next step we go to in the next slide is sort of that stand-down phase, and we talked a little bit about this earlier on and the reasons why we might stand down or finish a response. One of the things if we think we can actually eradicate [inaudible 00:39:04] we'll often go through what we call a proof of freedom surveillance. And this is where we will do huge numbers of testing of birds area to actually prove that we no longer have the virus so it's not circulated uncontrolled. It can also involve a thing called sentinel birds where we might put a small group of birds on an infected property, and they'll move through... This is after we've cleaned everything, those sentinel birds will then move through an area and go through some regular testing just to be doubly sure before we put large numbers of birds back into a previously infected area.

It's worth noting though, it can be a really difficult time, believe it or not. So you think we're at the end of it all. Why is it so difficult? And for someone who's the owner of an infected property, it's a time when everyone's left all of the hustle and bustle from people coming and going with cleaning trucks and entry/exit points and all those sorts of things. It kind of all dulls down and a lot of those people leave at this point in time because it just needs to spell. So it can sometimes feel a little bit like no one seems to care anymore. I can assure you it's furthest from the truth, but it is worth understanding in yourself that if you have to go through this at any time, this can be one of those times where it actually gives you the time to think and realise the enormity of what you've been through.

And again, there's no harm in asking for help if you need it at that point. Now, recovery, although we seem to notice it more at the end of a response, it certainly starts on day one and continues throughout the response. And it's worth understanding it's not about reinstating everything back to exactly the way it was before the outbreak, but it's about getting you back to a state of functioning again, and that's a really important distinction. Lastly, one of the reasons we might stand down, we mentioned earlier, was that we might actually decide we can't eradicate the disease. So there's this thing called transition to management, and as a government, we don't just stop and walk away from it. What we actually do is work with industry and help that transition so you can adapt to ways to living with the disease in the longer term.

Now, if we head down to the next slide, I actually think this is probably one of the most important slides of them all, and it really is about what can you do, so it's all well and good. We love having you here tonight, but it's about what happens next after tonight and how you take away what you've learned out of this evening's webinar. And the fact is that everybody's got a responsibility to remain alert and to try and be prepared for an avian influenza outbreak. And I'd love to see a culture in disease preparedness similar to how we are prepared for bush fires. And CFA has done a fantastic job in changing and teaching us and grooming us into learning. We prepare for properties before summer. If you think about it, we pull the leaves out of gutters. We do the mowing. We do all of that to be ready for summer.

Over the summer, we keep a watch on fires. We watch the weather each day. It's a TFB or it's going to be a spike day. We're really quite primed for getting prepared for fires, and I'd love that same sort of thought process to be adapted into emergency animal disease preparedness. So go away from today, learn about the diseases, prepare your farm or property by getting your biosecurity plans in place and keep an eye out for those early warning signs. Now, I admit it's not as easy as looking for a nice little column of smoke that'll tell you that there's a fire there, but it could be as simple as just looking that crook chook out of the group that's not looking so well or something that dies unusually that you go, "Hang on a minute, something's not right here. I think I should talk to someone." And that's where numbers like the emergency animal disease hotline is there that you can phone up and talk to a vet and say, "Oh, hang on, I've got this. It's not normal. What should I do?"

And we'll certainly talk to your private vets as well, and I'd really encourage that because you've got that relationship with them as well. So if you have a look at those practical tips, they're pretty straightforward, pretty simple, get a property identification code. They're free. They don't cost you anything, but what it does is that if we ever have something in your area, we automatically know that you've got birds, so let's make sure that we're touching base with you to let you know what's happening in the area. Farm biosecurity plans are fantastic, and they're not just for farmers. Now, I appreciate that the templates are very farm focused, but the principles are the same regardless if you have three chickens or if you've got 200,000, so go and have a look at those and adapt it. Your property will be different regardless of the farm plan, so just try and populate it as best you can. The hotline we've talked about and certainly work with your vet, work with our vets if you've got questions, there's programmes there that can help support free testing and to give you some advice in all of that work.

And lastly, there's lots of... We move to the next slide. There is lots of information out there. Knowledge is power. Make sure you're getting your information from a reputable source. So please, there's lots of misinformation out there as well, and unfortunately that seems to be tenfold during an actual outbreak. So use a trusted source. The Ag Vic site is certainly one that, of course, I will recommend. The Notify Now app is one that you can find in your app store and actually get online with that. It's got the hotline number already programmed in. It's also got things like a list of the notifiable diseases and things like that. If you're really into avian influenza and what a response would look like, AUSVETPLAN is a national response plan that guides our thinking for all jurisdictions or all states around Australia in how we would respond to an outbreak, so that's worth a look to. But I will move on and hand over to Julie, and we can have a look at the next section. Thank you.

Julie Simons:

Good evening, everyone, and thanks so much for your time tonight. We really appreciate it. I'm just quickly going to talk to you about our emergency animal disease preparedness programme that we've had in place and so to let you know a little bit about what we're doing to make sure that we can undertake our responsibilities in an emergency animal disease outbreak and support you as well as we can. Just jump to the next slide. So basically, we've been for some time now delivering what is the Victorian Government Emergency Animal Disease Preparedness Programme. And it's a programme that kicked off in about July 2022 as a result of foot and mouth disease and the lumpy skin disease coming closer to Australia by being present in Indonesia and some of our northern countries. And as a result of that, that risk of having a major EAD event in Australia became very high.

Now, we do do biosecurity emergencies all the time, but these two diseases obviously for cattle and sheep and [inaudible 00:46:25] who's animals really escalated the risk for Australia and the economic, social, and community impact of these events because of the trade implications would be catastrophic really. Added to these is, of course, now our highly pathogenic avian influenza risk, which is the topic of tonight obviously. In response to these increased risks, this is where the Victorian government has boosted its effort with a $43 million programme to make sure we are preparing and ready for an event. Now, this is because our department, DEECA, because Ag Vic is now part in DEECA, we are the control agency who is responsible for responding to and controlling emergency animal disease event. So one of the main things about this programme is to make sure we have our house in order, and we have the people, the equipment and the skills to really be able to scale up and respond to a major event.

One of the first things that we did as a result was to develop what is the Victorian government state emergency animal disease response plan, and that was approved in October 2022 and is being revised again on the back of all the work we've done. And look, I won't go blow by blow into the activities that we have focused on but really all of these events are actually national responses. Doesn't matter where they occur in Australia, there are national agreements and national policies and programmes and strategies that really guide a nationally consistent response. And our work has been to take that national work and make sure we can roll it out, deliver our responsibilities at the state level. Some of the really significant things about that is updates to all the national plans, updates to our own systems, including how we would roll out the valuation and compensation of livestock and animals that are destroyed as part of an emergency animal disease event.

A massive programme partnering with industry and community to boost awareness about emergency animal diseases and really investing in all the equipment and the goods and the workforce and training and skills and things, so our own [inaudible 00:49:13] is high. Now, even though this programme did kick off, started off in response to the foot and mouth disease and lumpy skin disease risks, all of this preparedness is applicable to any emergency animal disease including avian influenza. And one of the things that we're doing right now is working together around being out of work through, well, what will be different with an AI event, what's the materials, and the extra things that we need to have ready in case it's an AI event that we get very soon, and tonight is part of that piece of work. It's part of that readiness for AI specifically.

So the other part of our programme, it's not just about making sure that we have our house in order, but there's been a large component of our preparedness programme working with industry and community to make sure industry is prepared, it's got materials to support an event, people are trained and ready as well. And of course, perhaps the best form of preparedness is actually prevention and the more people are aware they can mitigate the risk through biosecurity plans and et cetera. So Megan really has gone through the tips and really the call to action as far as we're asking industry and community to be prepared and to be helping us prevent the risk of an AI. Some of that is just reiterated there on the right. One of the things I'll call out is our Ag Vic resources.

There's extensive resources on our website and training information. Our eLearn modules, they're short, they're interesting, and they will build awareness of not only your own biosecurity capability but understanding what will happen in a response. So I really encourage you to jump on the Ag Vic website. Of course, reiterating the importance of a property identification code. It is key for us to be able to control an event and the emergency animal disease hotline. If you are concerned, always better to make that call than to just not worry about it or to be working with your local vet. So I might leave that here and hand it back over to Kellyanne. We've had some great questions coming through for which we've answered some of them, but we might just take the remaining time to share some of that Q&A. Over to you, Kellyanne.


Yeah. Awesome. Thank you, Julie. I'm just answering one more in the chat, and then I'll go to some live questions. So as Julie said, there's been some great questions coming in and if you have any other questions, please jot them in the chat now. I should leave that one. So yeah, one of them is around the, I guess, wildlife and people that specialise in birds or looking after migratory birds that are sick and injured, also pet parrots and cocktails and aviary birds, people who have birds in the aviaries that could be impacted. So what sort of aggregate consideration is for those sorts of birds in an AI outbreak? So who would like to tackle that one?

Rachel Gibney:

I can do that if you like, Kellyanne.


Yep. Thanks, Rach.

Rachel Gibney:

So with the new strain of avian influenza, it's been shown that most species of birds can contract it. And so all birds are at risk, and therefore, we'd be considering all birds on a property if a property became infected. I direct you to the Wildlife Health Australia website. They have got a huge amount of really good resources that's really targeted wild birds as well, and they give a lot of information about what to do and who to contact if there's any suspicions of disease, so that's a really good resource as well. Thanks.


Yeah, awesome.

Julie Simons:

Oh, probably just one thing to add. So when we are dealing with an emergency animal disease like having influenza, the priority is for the control and eradication of that disease, and so that is our responsibility. Agriculture Victoria would lead that response. We actually do it in the context of being the Department of Energy, Environment and climate Action in DEECA. So it doesn't matter whether it's detected on a farm or whether it's a farmed animal or not, whether it's wildlife, it will still remain our responsibility to execute that control and eradication. We would obviously do that in partnership with our biodiversity partners and other experts that we need to have working alongside us, but it will be our responsibility to deliver that control and eradication programme.


Yeah. And there's been a few questions about vaccines. So Megan answered, there was no vaccine currently available. So there's another one just came through then Megan about, yeah, is there a vaccine available ahead of the outbreak or should people take their pet parrots or birds for an annual vet check?

Megan Scott:

Vaccine is a really, really good question and I'm glad that's come up in tonight's conversation. So at this stage there is no vaccine that's registered for use in Australia and there's a couple of reasons for that and probably the main one is that if you remember back to Rachel's presentation, she mentioned there's lots of different Hs and Ns to put it simply. And they're basically lots of different types of avian influenza that come in. The tricky thing is that it's a virus that can actually change quite quickly and quite rapidly. So some of these vaccines have been found that when you actually start vaccinating, they can merge with the wild strains that are already here. And you can actually end up with a completely new virus, so you can actually create outbreaks by vaccinating. And now I'm not saying vaccines bad, but what I'm saying that at the moment all the risk assessments for importing vaccine from overseas have suggested that we haven't found one that we're comfortable in Australia that would be safe for us to be using widespread.

Now, there has been a lot of interest with the new clade because obviously we're starting to look at different populations and a different virus in some respects. It's still avian influenza, but it's behaving quite differently to what we've traditionally seen. Now overseas we've been watching really closely, places like France have been trialling vaccine in ducks and we're just watching to see how well that performs and if it really is a useful tool for us here in Australia. So it's one of those things, the conversation is quite active at the moment and it's not just a Victorian decision. This has to be something that's decided upon nationally because any vaccines that get imported actually have to go through the Commonwealth Department before we can get those sorts of approvals. But there is certainly a lot of interest in that space at the moment and that's certainly something we're looking at and how we could safely use it in a response. So not at this stage, it's a no at the moment but watch this space.


So keeping your backyard poultry and pet beds safe, so that comes down to biosecurity, Megan?

Megan Scott:

It is. I know that's such a broad term. And what is biosecurity? But it can be something as simple as I think we've talked about muddy boots, clean your boots, don't go from one property to [inaudible 00:57:44], one bird place to another bird place, change your boots, have clean boots. There's a lot of thought going in and it's something we trialled in the 2020 outbreak was a housing order where we actually have people to house their birds to keep them separate from the wild birds. And look, I know for a lot of backyard hens, and I'm in the same boat, I'll be honest, about trying to keep wild birds out of the feed can be really quite tricky.

So you really need to look at the construction of your house. Is it built well enough that I could actually keep that segregation between the wild birds and my own birds? And it's about getting those things in place now while we've got time in peace time than trying to deal with it in the middle of an outbreak. So it does come down to basic biosecurity and those tips and tricks all through the Ag Vic courses and through other things that you can do will certainly guide you along the right sort of path of what to do.


Yeah, because that's been a few other questions about how wild ducks on your property should there be a concern in how you do keep your birds separate from wild ducks and other wild birds. So it's tricky, isn't it?

Megan Scott:

Yeah, I just saw a really good comment come through. Same thing that someone's got show birds, and they do it for the same reason. They keep theirs quite contained and away from the... A bird proof and rodent proof shed, which is absolutely perfect, so thank you. That's a really good action.


Yeah, cool. So what happens if people do have avian influenza on their property and they have to have their birds destroyed, what is it... What happens? Or do they have to have them destroyed and the compensation available with that?

Megan Scott:

Yeah. So look, it is the current policy, and the way we assess which birds it is... Currently, it's the whole property. If there are special cases [inaudible 00:59:35] for some reason there might be birds on a separate block of land that is completely separate to the main one, there might be options there to look at how do a risk assessment and how we deal with those. But as a general rule, it is all of birds because there is this case where birds can be incubating disease, they can be carrying it without showing the clinical signs. So it's a matter, and it's kind of what I mentioned at the beginning where an individual property that's soul destroying when you've got to destroy everything on that one property, but it's about the big picture, and it's about all these other birds that we're trying to prevent from having to destroy from the disease spreading any further. So that's one thing.

The [inaudible 01:00:15] is that there are what we call national [inaudible 01:00:18] arrangements. So we have this agreement when a disease is declared nationally like avian influenza where we can apply to have it cost shared. Now what that means is that industry and government will share the cost of a response, but part of those costs will be compensation so that there are schedules in place which have been developed by industry. So government hasn't gone out and said, "Oh, this is what we're going to pay you, this is what we think it's worth." People from your own industry that know birds and understand the value of a bird will work with us to actually determine what a fair price is for those. And that's what the compensation is based on. So it's a market value unless, as we've seen in the chat, there are some special cases where obviously you will have show birds that might have a different value to the market value, and certainly, there's open to negotiation on how those birds are valued. So there are processes in place for that as well.


Yeah, awesome. And that was someone had... If your flock had to be destroyed, can you hatch out eggs from your birds in order to reboot your bloodline or does AI get transferred through the eggs?

Megan Scott:

All of that would be done as part of a risk assessment. So how those eggs are handled on the property, if they're handled on the same property or if they're dealt with somewhere else, which happens on some enterprises. So that side, it would all have to be done as sort of a case by case basis on whether or not those eggs would need to be destroyed or actually that if they could be hatched out and then as you say, maintain that bloodline. So sorry, not a simple answer for that one.


That's fine. And maybe just go through the symptoms again, just to finish off the webinar, just remind people of the visual symptoms.

Megan Scott:

So I'll get Rach to come back on, and she can finish up with that one. It's such a good job the first time.

Rachel Gibney:

Thanks. So often what you'll see, the first symptom may just be an increase in the number of deaths and you might not notice anything else to start with, and they're generally quite vague symptoms of the sick chook apart from that, so they might stop eating or drinking as much, they'll be hunched and ruffled. A lot of people say the egg production drops and so the birds will just be there. Sometimes they have closed eyes or swollen heads, sometimes they sneeze or have trouble breathing, so general indications like that.

In other animals like mammals often and in ducks, sometimes it's more neurological signs, so you might find them being really uncoordinated or if it's a swimming mammal it might not be able to swim properly and ducks will fall over and be unable to stand up. So because the virus, it doesn't just affect the respiratory tract, it also affects all of the other organs, and often that's the brain and the nervous system. So in animals other than poultry, you do often see nervous signs, neurological signs as well. So I suppose the thing is if you notice anything unusual, please contact someone, whether it's your local vet or animal health and welfare Agriculture Victoria person and we can give you advice if to test for it or whether to test for it and we can help with all those sorts of things.


Yeah, awesome. And what was the best way again, Rachel, for people to get in touch with Agriculture Victoria stuff?

Rachel Gibney:

So you can go to a lot of the websites, if you just google Agriculture Victoria and avian influenza and there's a disease hotline that's available and someone answer that 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So you can report that, and you'll speak to someone who's available to give you good advice about that. Or call your local district Agriculture Victoria animal health officer, and they'll help you.


Yeah. Awesome. So yeah, that comes to eight o'clock. So I'd really like to thank Megan Scott, Rachel Gibney, and Julie Simons for their time tonight with this avian influenza webinar, and hopefully you've all learned a lot and gained a lot of information. And yeah, I've been answering as many of the questions as I could in the chat and then here at the end and put some links, et cetera in the chat for you. So yeah, please reach out in the future, as Rachel mentioned, if you would like any further information in the future. So Megan and Julia, Rachel, do you have anything else to finish? Otherwise, we'll wrap up.

Megan Scott:

No, nothing further. Thanks, everyone.

Julie Simons:

Yeah. Thanks, everyone.



Rachel Gibney:

Thank you.


And there's an evaluation, a poll in the chat. If you can just quickly do that before you leave, that would be awesome. It'll only take you a couple of minutes or less than a couple of minutes. And yeah, if you'd like to leave any comments, there'll be a comment box that will pop up at the end. So yeah, we'd really value your feedback on this webinar and whether we should run future ones like this and all sorts of different topics. So thank you very much.

Recorded webinars

EAD Preparedness Webinar 2: Waste Disposal in an EAD emergency

Agriculture Victoria delivered a webinar for agriculture service providers, industry bodies, agencies, and councils on emergency animal disease (EAD) waste disposal . It was delivered to ensure key stakeholders understand what work has been done to prepare for EADs, and what systems and support are available to support their community engagement.

It was presented by Bronwyn Green, Project Director, EAD Waste Disposal and Ann McDowell, Agriculture Sector Development Officer. Topics covered: Waste generated in an EAD emergency - amounts and distribution, overview of waste disposal strategy, on-farm carcass burial guidance, and planning ahead for on-farm waste disposal sites using the Navigating Farm Development tool.

Passcode:  35630L

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Morning everyone who's joined, we'll just wait for some more participants to come in and then we'll get started very soon.

Morning, for those that have joined us, we will start in 30 seconds. We're just waiting for some more people to join and then we'll get going.

And while we're getting going, there are the two functions, the Q&A and the chat function should be both working today that you can use during the session today. If you've got any questions or comments during the session, please add them in those and we'll have people monitoring those during the session.

All right, so we'll get started in this webinar this morning. So thank you for joining us on this Monday morning. Hopefully, all your weekends were good. This is our second webinar in the Emergency Animal Disease Preparedness series aimed for councils, service providers, industry bodies, anyone really who works with farmers, and farmers are also more than welcome to join if you are on the line. It's just creating more information that we can help get the messages out there and spread the word about being prepared for emergency animal diseases. Hopefully, we don't get them, but just in case we do, it's great to be prepared.

Firstly, I just want to acknowledge and respect the Victorian Traditional Owners as the original custodians of the Victorian lands and waters and their unique ability to care for the country and deep spiritual connection to it. So I am based here in Bendigo, which is on Dja Dja Wurrung country.

So, the purpose of today's webinar is to outline the potential amounts of emergency animal disease (EAD) waste that could be generated, where it could come from, and some of the challenges that could arise in managing this waste. We'll also outline how we're preparing to manage waste from an EAD outbreak and explain what you can do to plan and manage EAD waste on farm. And at the end we'll have some time for questions and answers. So again, if you've just joined, we've got the Q&A and the chat functions working down on the bottom tab. Please add questions and comments as we're going along today.

Next slide please, Bron.

Now just a reminder, biosecurity plans, it's an essential part of your farm management and especially for preparing and managing emergency animal disease outbreaks and any sort of biosecurity impacts on farm. So today's section, we're focusing on that management of disposal of carcasses, animal products, materials and waste, in a timely manner to prevent the spread of any infections.

So the copies on the right there are your biosecurity plans. The appendix there is the emergency animal disease action plan. But I guess while we've got our speakers going through today, I just want you to consider if you've got a biosecurity plan yourself, does it include waste disposal and how you might dispose of that waste? Can you do it on your farm? If not, where may that occur. And then when you're dealing with your clients or farmers that you work with, have they got this covered on their biosecurity plan? Have they thought about it? What are their plans?

So our presenters today, so we're very fortunate to have Bronwyn Green who's the project director, Animal Disease Waste Disposal, and then we've got Ann McDowell, who's from the Agriculture Victoria Planning and Advisory Service. So Bronwyn will go through a lot on the waste disposal process. And then Ann's going to show us an online tool where you can help map where those particular waste disposal locations may be on your property.

So, I will hand over to you Bron to get going with your presentation. Thank you Bron.

Bronwyn Green:

Thanks Kellyanne. Hi everyone. Good morning. So I've been working on the Emergency Animal Disease Preparedness project for coming on a year actually. So we've been fortunate enough to be provided with some funding to really do a lot of work to prepare for this, and waste disposal is a big issue that will come up if we have an outbreak.

But what are we talking about when we say an emergency animal disease? So we're talking about a range of diseases and there is an increase in the risk of foot-and-mouth disease and lumpy skin disease in particular as they are in Indonesia, and that remains a source of concern. So in 2022, there were recent detection of both those diseases and that's really escalated this preparedness work. So the lumpy skin disease continues to spread across the Indonesian provinces and further modelling does need to be done to really work out what that extent and risk is. And Indonesia is also preparing for foot-and-mouth disease to be present in their country for many years, which really means that the risk of that coming into Australia will remain high for a long time.

And you can see there the chance of having one of those diseases plus African swine fever and African horse sickness collectively there's over a 50% chance of that happening within the next five years in Australia. On top of that, there's also a very high chance of avian influenza, which is spreading worldwide. And we are also planning for any avian influenza outbreak in Australia. So if there was a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak as probably the biggest impact on this country economically, you can see there that some of the modelling suggests there could be economic losses of over $80 billion across 10 years. So it's a significant impact. So we absolutely want to keep it out, but if it does come in, this is some of the work we're doing to be ready for that.

So if there is an emergency animal disease outbreak, there's a couple of agencies who are responsible for responding to that and Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action, of which Agriculture is now a part, becomes the control agency for an emergency animal disease response. So what does that mean? So we become responsible for managing that outbreak, including the destruction of any animals that are infected and then the disposal of all the waste that is generated from that destruction activity. We coordinate all that waste disposal activity and we work very closely with other agencies including local governments, but we are the ones who are responsible for dealing with that. And we work very closely with land managers and owners to manage the waste as safely as possible and quickly as possible because the speed at which we can manage the waste is very important so that we can get on top of the disease and stop it spreading. So it's really important that we get the animals that are infected, destroyed and disposed of quickly. And EPA has a very key role in that as well as a support agency and they undertake their usual waste management functions including any oversight of waste transport and any necessary approvals for burial at any landfills. And I'll take you through what that looks like.

So just to cover off what we mean by waste from an emergency animal disease, there are five key types of waste. The first one is animal carcasses and that's going to be significantly the highest volume of waste of any of the five types. But there are other things that we will need to manage including animal products, agricultural materials. There are other reportable priority wastes such as chemical and liquid wastes and milk wash waters, et cetera. And then finally clinical waste. So things like, through any vaccination programs that might occur, any testing procedures et cetera that we'll have to undertake to do surveillance across animal populations, all of that waste we will be managing.

To take you through what the disposal hierarchy preferences look like. It's a very simple triangle here. The first preference is absolutely to bury as much as we can on-farm. That obviously limits the risk of disease spread if we have to transport any waste off the property and it's obviously going to be quicker as well. So we absolutely want to maximise where we can the on-farm burial, and that's really what we're talking about today. But I will just quickly touch on the other two down in the triangle and what we would definitely have to do in an outbreak of any significance. Second is the landfill option and we are also exploring other options other than landfill and determining whether or not they are going to be viable on a large scale, like composting or other kinds of waste management. And then finally the mass burial facility. Now that isn't something we have ready to go at the moment and it's there as an option if we feel that the other two options are really absolutely maxed out and there's nowhere else for it to go, that mass burial facility is there. But it obviously takes a lot of work and funding to build something like that, and so that is something we're investigating and working out where and how that could happen, but at this stage we absolutely want to maximise the first two.

So let's go back to the first preference. So we want to bury on-farm and we need to bury on-farm safely and within the limits of the environment and public health that we have to manage. So together with EPA, we've published some guidance which is on our Agricultural Victoria website and it's the guidance for on-farm burial of carcasses in an emergency animal disease outbreak and it really supports land managers and farm owners to plan ahead where the animals could be buried on their properties, within the criteria that are set in the guidance and the criteria are designed to protect the environment and public health.

And you can see on the right-hand side there the criteria that are set for burial safely. And there's a list there and a number of those things I'll just touch on. It's absolutely important to note the key risk that we're managing with these criteria is the risk to water, and groundwater in particular, but also surface water. We don't want the animal waste, being the leachate, which is what you call the moisture that breaks down from the animal leaking out and contaminating our groundwater sources and then contaminating rivers and waterways.

So there's distances there that you have to meet. So you're not bearing within 200 metres of any surface water, 200 metres from any groundwater supply, any stock or domestic bores. We've got distance from the boundaries of your neighbours, distances from other burial areas because collectively the more waste you have in one area, the more concentrated the potential contamination is. And then 300 metres from any sensitive uses such as neighbouring houses and then obviously avoiding any other infrastructure underground like power lines, phone lines, gas lines, et cetera and in general want to keep it away from public areas so that we are containing that visually from any passing by neighbours.

So we've done a little bit of modelling to help us understand the volumes of waste that we that we will have to manage if we had an outbreak,  and so this slide here just talks about what the on-farm burial potential is that we think we'll be able to manage and use for on-farm burial. So we've mapped the type of land using those criteria on the farm and that really shows us there's a really large variability across the different council areas in the amount of land where carcasses can be buried safely. So we're using a model where we're saying there's a reasonable worst-case scenario here, but it is quite possible where let's say 2% of all properties are infected. Now it's very unlikely that every LGA will be infected to the same degree, but for the sake of the model, we need to manage approximately 2% of any one LGA and look at the places where they can be buried.

And we've mapped that here. So the map on the right-hand side shows you, using all those criteria, how much land we think we'll be able to bury on-farm. And so you can see in the northwest of Victoria, we think you'll be able to use a lot more of that land to bury. Whereas in the east and the central areas, there's much less chance of being able to bury. And that might be because there's much more tree cover in those areas, a lot more waterways, it might be mountainous, you can't bury on slopes of a certain degree and we're pretty much ruling out burying in any metro Melbourne areas. And the bottom graph shows you the amount in tonnes of animals that we think you would be able to bury on-farm based on some other statistics around the number of animals that we think are on Victorian properties at the moment. So that's using some ABS data.

So using that background information on how much we think we can bury. We also mapped looking at a whole range of different international foot-and-mouth disease scenarios to understand what that looks like in terms of the number of animals. And so we've quantified the spatial distribution of animals in Victoria using that ABS data that I mentioned. And then it looks at how many animals we think, "Well if you can bury X percent on farm, what's left over?" And you can see the map here shows you what is left over that we will have to take off farm to take to landfill. And so in the colour scheme you can see the yellow there, is there's less animals that will need to be taken off-farm, all the way to the red and the pink one there in the west of the state, where in the red, which is over 20,000 tonnes of animals, might need to be taken off-farm to a landfill or to another disposal facility, which is a huge number. So even if we maximised our on-farm burial in a 2% infected property scenario, there's still a lot left that we're going to have to deal with. That just shows you the scale at which we're planning for here.

And just quickly to touch on the other parts of the lifecycle of what happens. So once there's an infected animal detected on a farm, there's a whole range of ways that we will be managing that. Now we, as I said, at Agriculture Victoria, will be responsible for that destruction and disposal and the excavation on properties. So we will have access to a cleanup panel which includes lots of excavation services to manage those on farm burial pits. Then we'll also be responsible for any decontamination of equipment that gets used on the property and also decontamination of any trucks that take animals off the site to a disposal location. So we can use our own equipment and we'll make sure absolutely that the biosecurity risks are managed before anything leaves.

You've got your transport, which includes oversight by EPA Victoria and they look at... They have a waste tracker system which tracks where the waste will end up and we'll also be managing what type of trucks we will be using. They have to be sealed, they have to be covered, they have to be appropriate for that purpose. And then at the end point, wherever they end up, we'll look at making sure that those trucks are decontaminated again before they leave, just in case any contamination occurred from the tipping of those animals into a landfill. So there's a whole range of things there.

Now I'll just have a little pause to check for any questions before I hand over to Ann, who's going to show you the navigating farm development tool, which is there designed to help you plan ahead for where you might bury your animals.


Yeah Bron, there's a couple of questions in the chat. So from Eliza, "How well resourced is AgVic at the moment to deliver this? Is there a sense of how much local government would be relied upon? Conscious state government budgets are tight."

Bronwyn Green:

Yes, that is true. They are tight. However, in an emergency, as we know from COVID, things have to be done and emergency funds come our way and we will have that ability to do that. So councils aren't required to help us dig those pits. I know in other kinds of emergencies, councils do help with the management of animals and waste. So this is a different scenario and actually, that will be reflected in an update to the State Emergency Management Plan that's happening at the moment and there's going to be a new version of the state... what's it called? Emergency Animal Disease Response Plan. That is also being updated at the moment and there was a lot of engagement with local governments around the wording of your support for this response.

So we'll certainly be working with you and if we needed to get your help for maybe accessing some people to help us dig, but we absolutely don't require it and it's something that you might know somebody that you use, it's super helpful and we'll call them if you have that contact number. But that's the extent of that at the moment.


There's another one there from Susan. "So EU standards for ETWS, the wool standard, ask for vermin-proof area, how does that work for burial?"

Bronwyn Green:

I'm not exactly sure what that means, WS, wool standard, but for vermin-proof areas, the key for the waste is to make sure it's covered really quickly so you do stop vermin. So that's really important and why I say when you start destroying, you want to know where your animals are going, you need to cover them very quickly. We obviously don't want any feral pigs or birds et cetera coming in. So that's super important and we won't be destroying animals until we have a solution for where they'll go. I'm not sure if that's answered the question.


We'll get Susan to write back if she needs further detail there. And one from Ashley. "What is the state of readiness for AgVic in the supply of trucks with contaminant solutions and EPA for managing tracking?"

Bronwyn Green:

Yeah, that's a great question. So there is some work going on with determining the truck types and making sure we're testing them to seal them. So things like grain trucks, rendering trucks that have an ability to seal the back and then tip it out and then seal it back up before you go back to get another load. There is further work, and I think it'll be a tricky one depending on how many trucks we need. How many trucks will be available might well be a limiting factor in how quickly we can take them off-farm, which is more reason to not take them off-farm if we don't have to because I think that will be tricky.

EPA's upgraded their waste tracking tool, their online waste tracker, to manage that and so that Agriculture Victoria has got the ability and we'll be training people who will use it to do that waste tracking because ultimately we are the responsible owner of the waste and because we’re destroying it we have to manage that from a waste generator. If anyone's across the language of a waste tracker, it basically means we generate the waste, we have to use the system to track it.


Good, thank you Bron. If you've got any further questions for Bron, please put them in the chat and we've got more time for questions at the end. And now I'll hand over to our second speaker. Just before I do, we will be sending the link to today's webinar out via an email after this session in a day or so. And in that there will be, if you don't get to do our evaluation at the end of this session, please follow the link in that as well. And part of that evaluation is asking what further sessions you would like in this series. What are your burning questions? What would you like covered in further sessions that would help you be more prepared for emergency animal diseases?

So now I'll hand over to Ann McDowell. So she's going to talk about the Navigating Farm Development Tool. So it's all about planning where your on-farm burial pits could go. So over to you Ann.

Ann McDowell:

Okay, I will share my screen. Make sure I get the right one. Okay, so we should be able to see my Navigating Farm Development slide?


Yeah, perfect.

Ann McDowell:

No worries. Okay. So as part of the suite of work that's been done around emergency animal disease carcass burial, we have added a development type on through our navigating farm developments tool. So the Navigating Farm Developments web tool is freely available to anybody on the Agriculture Victoria website. It is a planning tool that allows people to do an initial check for planning implications for any development across any site in Victoria. It's based on the Victorian planning scheme. It's focused on rural zones and farm developments. So it allows that specific site by development assessment.

It also provides links to further information that are specific to the development type that you do. And it was initially developed and is primarily a tool to assess planning requirements, but we felt the fit was close enough that the carcass burial could be added as a development type and provide value without enormous resources to construct something new. But the short answer is it will not provide all the answers, but it will give you a pretty good idea and also where to go to find more information.

So it is available on the Agriculture Victoria website, you can create an account to save your projects or you can just be a one-off user without an account. If you do a one-off user, you'd need to make sure that you save your report at the end or you won't have anything - as soon as you close it out, everything is gone, but if you create an account, you can go back and revisit your work at any point in time. There is an e-guide available as well to help you use it if you struggle a bit with figuring it out,  so that's linked there as well.

I will now give you a run-through. It's best to just see it in action. It was working this morning, so hopefully, fingers crossed, this has a tendency to malfunction just at the time that I need it most, but we will hope for the best. So this is the landing page. I'm logged in here, but it looks the same even if you're not. So we're organised on sector. Obviously, the burial development type is only available in the animal sectors. You don't need to bury animal carcasses if you're involved in horticulture generally speaking. So if you want to save, if you're working with an account and want to save your project, you've got an option to enter a name at the start and then we search by address. It's Google addresses, so anything in Google. You need to obviously check that you've read the privacy statement and you need to check a sector. Well, let's just go with dairy. And it just says you chose dairy. So it gives you a chance that if you didn't choose the right sector you can have another go.

So it is a map-based tool. So we start with a property map based on the address that you put in. Now you can toggle on and off the contour lines and the land parcels, which in steep country it's a really good idea to turn off the contour lines from time to time because it can be hard to see past them often.

So I draw a property outline to start. Now I need to select my development type. So when you go in here, you see all the different development types. As I say, it's mostly an infrastructure planning tool and a land use planning tool to some degree as well. But if we scroll down, we will find that we have emergency animal disease carcass disposal pit. You'll also see that there's a bit of information under each heading that gives you a bit of context as to what that's about, and there's sometimes some live links as well. So in this case we've linked through to the guidance document at this level and later as well.

So if we select that, then we can draw a spot where we think that we want to assess with suitability. So in order, I want actually to get it to tell me this site's not suitable in the first instance, so I'm going to stick it up here in the corner because I know that there's some things there that won't be quite right. I can rename my development and I can just click... and if I put it in the wrong spot I can delete it and redraw it as well. So once we've done that, it checks the planning zone. As I said, it's based on planning. So we're in Corangamite and in the farming zone, check for overlays. No overlays, good. Although emergency works tend to be exempt under the planning schemes. So it's not like you'll need a permit, but the fact that there's no overlays does indicate that it might be a lower risk site in any instance.

Now we have a series of measurements that are specific to the development type. So if there's extra guidance needed to figure out what on earth it means by that measurement, it will be generally written in the title of the measurement. So in this case we want to go to a waterway and the blue line's a waterway. So actually while I'm here, I'll click off the land parcel and off the contour line so we're not confusing. So we measure to the closest waterway and it says, it's given me a warning that the pit should be located at least 200 metres from a waterway. So I could continue to go ahead or I could cancel and I could go back and try another spot, but in this case I'm going to keep going.

Groundwater supply, there's one down here at the dairy. Boundary of neighbouring privately owned land. Well I can check, that's 57 metres. Again, I get a warning saying it should be more than 200 metres. Other known burial pit. Now if I don't know where any other known burial pits are, I just do a measurement more than a kilometre away just so that it doesn't give me any warnings. It's fine, and it says that in the name of the... Sensitive use, so closest neighbouring dwelling. I know that there's none above there, although you can't see that. So I've got a neighbouring dwelling here at 1500 and a neighbouring dwelling here at 1036, so that's the closer one. Underground and above ground infrastructure. So I'm pretty sure there's power lines along this road. So we'll click there. And areas of aboriginal cultural heritage sensitivity. So this purple hash is that, and it only pops up when... the mapping layers required show when they're appropriate to the measurements. So in this case I can measure there and then the light goes green and I can complete my mapping.

Then it'll ask me a series of questions. Is my site located away from surface waters and drainage, low points and erosion areas? Yes. Does my site have low permeability clay subsoils or clay that can be accessed from elsewhere? Yes, I believe it does. Although question marks, but in terms of what do I really know. But I do know that this site, all the dams that are on the site hold water really well. There's really good sub-soil clay there, so it's likely that that's going to be okay. Is your site visible from public roads? Well, where I put it, yes it is. Is it on elevated land with a slope of less than 5%? Well, it's not very elevated, but it's certainly not low and it is less than 5% slope. Do I have a biosecurity plan for my farm? I'm going to say no here, just so you can see what results that throw up. Have I checked my title for caveats and covenants and easements and things that I want to avoid? Yes, I have. And have I completed a before-my-dig inquiry? That's just a really good double check to see if there's any infrastructure there that you don't know about. And also, yes, I have at this point. So then I progress to summary.

There we go. So first instance, this is our summary report. So the first instance it shows the project information is the property level information. It tells us what our address is, our sector, the development type that we've chosen, and whether we're triggered aboriginal cultural heritage sensitivity at the property level. And we get a series of maps. Now you can zoom in these maps by using the plus and minus and move things around, and anything that you do there, when you print the summary report, those changes to how it's displayed will feed over into the summary report. So if it's not showing anything that looks useful to you, you can tweak it by moving things and zooming and that sort of stuff.

Then our development info shows us... This is related to the polygon we drew for the actual pit site and it shows our zones, our overlays, our water authorities, et cetera, as well as what our measurements said. We have questions, the answers to our questions, and then the guts of the matter is the requirement section. So if we look here, we've got accompanying information, develop a farm biosecurity plan. This appeared because I said no, I didn't have one. So it says, well you should really have one and go to the farm biosecurity website as a place to start. And the Cause By box tells me why I got that popping into my requirements box.

Then the next one is the guidance for on-farm burial. So this provides me with more information about the actual development types. So it gives me a link to the guidance document and it just provides a little bit of context around emergency works being generally exempt from planning and some other things. And that's just popped in because that's a development-level requirement. Then the next one is, site may not be suitable for an emergency stock disposal pit - one or more conditions not met. So it says I didn't meet one of the conditions. And then the reason that's popped in is because I answered yes to visible from public roads, I was too close to the waterway and I was too close to the boundary. So I can print preview that and then download it and that'll be a PDF. If it pops up, it can be a bit slow sometimes.

But if I want to change my site because I'm like, oh, that's not good, it told me that's not a good site, I can return to the map and repeat. So, I can click on the shape I drew the first time and delete it and then pick... Now that I've learned something, I've learned I need to be 200 metres away from waterways and I need to be away from roads and things, I can go, "Well actually a better site would be in here." And then I can repeat the process and I can update the answers to my questions and update the measurements. So you'll see the measurement is to where I measured it last time. Now in some cases that's going to be appropriate because it's still the closest, in this case, waterway. So I can move on to the next measurement and the bore is still in the same place.

But that is no longer the closest boundary point. So I didn't include this block in the property boundary I drew, but that is actually owned by the same people. So I know that actually the closest property boundary is now there. And so that'll update that measurement. Other known burial area, I can leave that as is, I don't need to change that. Is that still the closest dwelling? 865 versus 804... so this one's now closer. Underground, above-ground infrastructure is in the same place, next measurement, and cultural heritage sensitivity is the same block, but it's not measuring to the closest point anymore, so I'll update that one. And I'll complete my mapping.

Now, I can also update my questions. The first two, the same answer, my property is now not visible and I'm going to say yes, actually I did go off and do... but no, I'll leave the biosecurity one the same. And that was the only question I needed to update. So I can just go through and regenerate my summary report. And we come across here, we'll see this is the summary report, that print preview of the first round. Shows all the maps, all the measurements and all the live links are still there. And then in this one, so this is the newly generated report, and you can see now I've only got farm biosecurity plan and the guidance because I've moved the things that triggered a site may not be suitable requirement or box, have disappeared because I've put it in somewhere different.

So that's the way you can check a site. If it's not right, go back, redo, that sort of thing. So that is a quick overview of what NFD can do for you and then you can download, print to PDF, save the document or as I said, you can create an account and it will save automatically in there as well.

So questions? Do we have any... what have we got over here?

Bronwyn Green:

I've added a couple of answers into the chat while you were talking, Ann, just the last one I accidentally pressed on a button. Sorry Eliza [inaudible 00:41:07].

Kellyanne Harris:

I was muted, sorry.

Bronwyn Green:

It is complicated, but the aim is for owners of properties to do this so that they know where they might have that land. Because ultimately if there was an infected animal on their site, we won't have a lot of time to do that planning. We really want to make that decision quickly, and so we're really trying to encourage owners and properties to think about this when there is time, think about where they might like to have that on their properties rather than, obviously at the time it's going to be stressful and difficult and you don't want to put that pressure on, but I can imagine it will be high pressure and so that's why we're trying to use these opportunities to teach people how to use it. Do the e-learning that Ann mentioned, and spread the word as far as possible that this is something you can use to help plan ahead.

Ann McDowell:

And it's really... In a situation where you're facing having some or all of your stock destroyed, you're not going to be clearheaded. It's not going to be easy to make decisions and think clearly at that point in time. So to do some investigation work, some planning at any point in time prior to hopefully never having to use it. Just if you can in that stressful situation, be able to say to the Agriculture Victoria officers who are on your farm, "I've had a look at it and this spot, this spot and this spot might be all right, but down there's no good because it's too close to X, Y and Z." That just makes decision-making that much easier and less stressful when there's an awful lot going on and you're going to be under a massive amount of stress at that point in time.

So, it's all part of your general biosecurity planning. You want to have done the investigation, you want to have some plans in place so that you're not trying to figure all that out when you're probably not sleeping and you're facing the loss of not only a productive herd that you've built up over however many years. But also it's more than just that. The emotional stress of that time is massive and you don't want to have to deal with all these additional decisions that could be thought about beforehand.

Bronwyn Green:

And I think Eliza's had a second question around, "Is there support for them to use the system?" So we are trying to help spread the word through these webinars so that you can also be there if you have contacts to help use the system. We can help but I don't know how many... I don't know actually, that's a good question. "Is there a hotline?" We do have a general Agricultural Victoria number but I don't know if that's a realistic way of getting help. But to be honest, it's a great question. Do we need something? I don't know if we've had any calls, just random calls coming in before, Ann, about this system and whether you have a system to answer queries.

Ann McDowell:

Within Navigating Farm Developments (NFD)   , there is a button that allows you to send an email to... where you could ask for help and it won't be answered on the spot. It goes to a group email address that is monitored. So at the landing page you've got, Contact Us, and it'll send us an email.

Bronwyn Green:

Perfect. Oh, that's great.

Ann McDowell:

So that's there. Also, that's part of the reason we developed the e-guides is so that... Because we tried to design Navigation Farm Developments (NFD) to be easy to use without a great deal of instruction, but not everybody spends their life on a computer and we shouldn't expect them to automatically know how to take a measurement for example. Although many people would be able to figure it out, other people using web tools is not their forte and therefore a little bit of intimidation can put people off. So that's fine. So that's why we've got the e-guide and that shows you how it all works and how to work it basically.

It's got little videos in it which have somebody actually doing the clicks and showing the way through. So that's available 24 hours a day, you don't need to call somebody to do that. So it's all available on the Agriculture Victoria website. If you Google Navigating Farm Developments, the Agriculture Victoria link will be the top page, the top response it should be. So yeah, it's all there. And hopefully yes, an e-guide isn't everybody's cup of tea, but it is something that can be accessible and available at 10 o'clock at night and on weekends and all the times when I'm certainly not sitting at my desk.

Bronwyn Green:

It's a great option.

Kellyanne Harris:


Bronwyn Green:

I've just noticed another question about... sorry, Kellyanne.


No, you go for it. Go for it.

Bronwyn Green:

About the Emergency Recovery Victoria panel. So that panel is something they use for flood waste cleanup, bushfire waste cleanup, response to those sorts of events. So I don't know if there's anything on the website publicly, it's something that they manage for their recovery operations. So yes, it's just an existing work that they run, and we are looking at how we can use that existing panel, which has all the different contractors ready to go for response to emergencies.

Within DEECA, obviously, there's already plant and equipment that gets used and we're now part of that same department. That's more set up for bushfires, not quite the same, so we're looking at how we might do our own thing for a smaller outbreak if there was ever a need. But yes, we are within the department now, so we can tap into existing experts who use that equipment.

And then Susan has another question about the cost of, "We're putting in a pit for everyday use..." Not EDM, it's EAD I assume. "It's cost is..." yes, excavator dug before you dig, et cetera, et cetera. So the funding support, we will do it in an emergency, in an outbreak. If you're doing that for normal business-as-usual management of an animal or two, then that's not something we will be able to support. We don't do that in normal business.

Ann McDowell:

[inaudible 00:48:50] Dial before you dig is also free, it doesn't have any cost associated with it. That's a small part of the overall, but yeah.

Bronwyn Green:

So it's really for us, we will do that in an outbreak. There's another question about, "If my neighbour has completed the Navigating Farm Developments (NFD) plan, can I see their proposed disposal application?"

Ann McDowell:

No. So we can't see what's going on in other people's farms that way. That would be a discussion point with your neighbour. If you're on good terms, you can have a chat. There is clearly the measurement that says 200 metres at least from the boundary of a different privately owned land, gives that indication that you want at least that 200-metre setback from your intersecting property boundaries. So that should give you at least 400 metres between any burial pits without knowing what's going on on other people's farms. Then given that Agriculture Victoria is the responsible authority, my recommendation would be that if you're doing the planning, you actually look at a number of sites on your farm, that it's not about pinning down one. As part of Navigating Farm Developments (NFD), you can absolutely add more sites.

Once you're at the summary report, there's actually a green button at the bottom that says add another development. You could do two or three or four potential sites for a pit on the one development and get that report. The maps and the project information will be conglomerated into one thing, and then you'll get a series of different development info question details and requirements based on each site that you've chosen. So you can do in one project, in one development, in one report, you can do three or four different sites and have all the information in one report. And then that might be handy to have on hand as part of your biosecurity plan, that you can hand to somebody to say, "Here's what I've looked at. You worry... I can't. There you go." So yeah, you can do that. Absolutely. And that way that can help... Again, you've found suitable sites or what you think are probably suitable sites on your farm, and then that provides... But more than one because options are good and there might be things you don't know about.


Awesome. Thank you Ann and Bron. I was just going to say we're done with the questions and then there's one sneaky last one come through from Eliza. "If there is an outbreak, is there a protocol for notifying local government?" It's okay, Eliza.

Bronwyn Green:

Yes, definitely. So as soon as there's an outbreak, then we will stand up an emergency team. There'll be a state controller appointed, and a IMT    and a state control team meeting will be called. I think through that process you would get representatives from local government Victoria, and there'll be I imagine that... If it was in let's say... I don't know, whichever, I'm not going to say it, LGA. I'll just pick... whoever's the council in the area, I'm sure there would be a phone call made into that council through the... There's the REMPSI, regional environment emergency management planning... Or not the REMPSI, there's the management team, the REMT perhaps, there'll be all those normal processes that would get stood up within the day to inform and make sure everyone's across it. So yes, absolutely. Or through your MEMO, yes, which I can't remember what that stands for, but there'll be definitely lots of... Municipal Emergency Management Officer, yeah okay. Yeah, so that person on call would be part of the team.


Awesome. On this page, there's just those links to the Navigating Farm Developments tool and the guide, but I've also put those in the chat for people. Next slide, Bron, please.

This is just a bit of a slide we put together on ways that you can help farmers engage or be prepared for emergency animal disease. So on the left there, there's some links for small-scale landholders in particular, and on the right, just generic, but any sort of farming or yourselves as service providers. So there are e-learning modules, all sorts of things,  animations, follow us on AgVic... I keep on saying Twitter, but X and Facebook. And just a reminder for people to develop or update their farm biosecurity plans. I can put those in the chat as well, but I think it might be... I'll send the links to these ones out in the email that we do to everyone following this, which has the link to the webinar recording as well.

Another question, "So after doing a bio planning workshop for groups, will there be training for farmers AgVic for the mapping part?" So yeah, Neil, we have been talking about that and I did put a link in the chat to a newsletter. So we've just done a newsletter as part of this Backyard Biosecurity e-newsletter series on how to do a farm map. And that steps you through from hand drawing one to using Google Maps to using this Navigating Farm Developments tool and then even talking about doing farm mapping programs. So you can do that.

If you follow our events page, some of the teams are looking at running a biosecurity farm planning, on-farm planning, and mapping section. So we understand that the farm map is an essential part of your biosecurity plan, a focus on it in today's webinar, and it's a critical or essential part of your biosecurity management plan if you adding that component to your biosecurity plan as well. So yeah, look out for some events and workshops on those. And if you are from local council, you can get in contact with myself and my team and yeah, we can look at running some sessions in your shire if that is needed. Also, add your comments in the question/answer for future topics, that would be great. Next slide, Bron.

Just a reminder to do the evaluation for us. It's super quick, it will take you five seconds. That just helps with us so we can keep bringing these sessions to you guys, so that would be super handy. But otherwise, yeah, thank you. A big thank you Bron and Ann for the session today. It's been extremely informative. It's good to always see that mapping tool again, Ann. So I'm definitely go back and have another play with it now. And hopefully everyone online has a bit more information about waste disposal, on-farm mapping of waste disposal and hopefully you can use that information for yourself, but also for farmers and clients, et cetera that you're working with.

The next webinar that we'll be running in this series, we're looking at February next year, and that is going to be looking at emergency permits. So what happens if there was a response and there's emergency permits, what do they mean, how do you get them? What does that mean for different industries, whether it be dairy farmers, horticulture, livestock producers, et cetera? So we'll get in touch with people who have registered for these and let them know when that's scheduled in February next year.

Bron or Ann, is there anything final from you guys before we sign off?

Bronwyn Green:

Thank you so much for joining. That's it.


Yeah, all good. So yeah, thank you everyone for joining us and look forward to you joining us next session. Thank you.

Bronwyn Green:

Thanks, bye.

EAD preparedness webinar 1 Livestock standstill in a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak

Agriculture Victoria delivered a webinar for agriculture service providers, industry bodies, agencies, and councils to equip them with livestock standstill for foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) knowledge. It was designed to ensure key stakeholders understand what work has been done to prepare for FMD, and what systems and support are available to support their community engagement.  It was presented by Les Howard, Animal Health and Welfare Director and Abby Wiseman, EAD Preparedness Project Manager. Topics covered included: What happens when FMD is detected in Australia? What is a national livestock standstill? Communication and engagement process; Permitting, border control and holding sites; Role of support agencies and industry.

Passcode: fAGSQn

Watch the recording
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Speaker 1:

The webinar has started.


Let's hope everyone gets the E-mail then, Jen. Okay.

Speaker 3:

I just got your E-mail before.



Abby Wiseman:

So, the appropriate slide sharing now?



Abby Wiseman:

You can hear me. See me?



Abby Wiseman:

Right. So, will we see people as they join?

Speaker 1:

Yes, there are two people that have attended.

Abby Wiseman:

Okay. Welcome. Yeah, this does something to my view, so I can't see who is there, besides you guys as co-hosts, I believe.


Yeah, I can't either. Can you see them, Jen?

Speaker 3:

I can't see them as well.


Yeah. Cool.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I can see their names.


Welcome, everybody. We'll just wait for people to join.

Abby Wiseman:

Oh, that's horrible feedback.


Yeah. Morning for those that are joining, we'll be starting in just a moment. I think we just sent another link to everyone for the session to join. So we'll just let people find their email and jump in.

Abby Wiseman:

So there is a question in the Q&A section, Kellyanne, I don't know if you can answer. Will the chat function be enabled for the webinar? Currently, we can only use the Q&A to ask questions.


I believe it will. So Jen and Celeste, can you turn that on?

Abby Wiseman:

Thank you. It was a little fiddly to come through Zoom, wasn't it?


It was a little fiddly coming through Zoom.

Abby Wiseman:



But, it does make it way easier to be able to share the webinar afterwards.

Abby Wiseman:

Yeah, sure. I've been caught with the MS Teams webinar. Recording's tricky.


It is. All right, we've got a few more coming online. So, we... What's the time now? 33. We might get started. So for everyone, the chat, the girls can't turn that on at the moment, so if you can ask through the Q&A, that would be awesome. So, we might kick off. It's okay to do the intro. We still have some people coming in online. So welcome to the first webinar series that we are conducting, that we're inviting service providers, and industry and other organisations to help up-skill in biosecurity planning and emergency animal disease preparedness. Abb's, do you want to go to the next slide? Yeah. So firstly, I'd just like to acknowledge the traditional owners and honour elders, past, present and emerging. And today, I'm coming from Dja dja wurrung country. Next slide. Initially, I've just got this little slide out the front. So yeah, biosecurity plans, they're key to preparing and managing for emergency animal disease outbreaks and any sort of biosecurity risks on farm properties.

So with this webinar series, we want you not only to think about yourselves, and your own businesses and what plan, biosecurity plans that you have in place, but also what your clients have in place in terms of the biosecurity plan and these sessions. The whole aim of them is to upskill you with some of that emergency animal disease preparedness to help you, A, update your plan, but B, also assist with updating your client's plans. So, I'll just put a copy of the LPA plan down the bottom of this slide, but there's definitely different versions of biosecurity plans that you can do. And, an appendix of the plans is that emergency animal disease action plan.

So it's critical to have those in place and to think about what might happen if we did have an emergency animal disease, and then what's your plan for that on your place or your client's place. So with that next slide, Abby. Today, we're going to kick this off with a livestock standstill in a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak. And we have Les Howard, the director of Animal Health and Welfare talking today, as well as Abby Wiseman, who's the program manager, Emergency Preparedness, Animal Health and Welfare. So yeah, big thank you to both Les and Abby for your time today with this webinar. And hopefully, all the participants here that you get a lot out of this session. But yeah, remember you can add questions in the Q&A. I'll be watching those as we go along and there'll be time for questions at the end. So, I'll hand over to you, Les.

Les Howard:

Thanks, Kellyanne. So we're just going to give you a bit of a rundown today on what the national livestock standstill means, how it'll be implemented, what it means for industry, etc., in terms of movements, how long it'll run for and how it'll be operated. Probably the biggest question is why do we have a national livestock standstill? The national live standstill [inaudible 00:07:01] to controlling the spread of disease, but more importantly, it's also around providing time and space at the initial outbreak to get a few things done. And those things include the initial tracing that we do to determine where the disease may be and therefore, where we have to look. But also, allows us to do the risk assessment on the disease and where it is. Now, [inaudible 00:07:29] one of the greatest you'll see there, the greatest risk of spreading disease is through the movement of infected animals by vehicles. So therefore, that's why the national livestock standstill will generally only apply to the susceptible species. And by susceptible species for foot-and-mouth disease, we mean all cloven hoofed animals, including cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, alpacas, [inaudible 00:07:52], etc.

It is a national, whilst we say it's a national standstill, all the states and territories are involved, but it is conducted under state legislation. So for Victoria, that's the Livestock Disease Control Act, which is our primary piece of legislation for livestock diseases. Other states have got their own legislation. There's no national piece of legislation that covers everything across borders. So there, as I say, therefore it's implemented on state-based legislation, but it is based on the AUSVETPLAN, which is the national guidance document for animal disease in Australia. And as I said, it is a guidance document, so it is still up to the states to implement locally. It is, for the national livestock standstill is a minimum of 72 hours. It can be extended, if necessary, by agreement. But initially, it is for 72 hours. Next one.

So, how does it occur? Well, as I said, within Victoria on the declaration of the national Livestock standstill, a control area order will be placed on hold of Victoria. And again, this is why I say it's dependent on where the disease is and the risk assessment. If the disease has not yet been detected in Victoria, then the whole of Victoria is still declared a control area. If the disease was detected in Victoria, the whole of Victoria would still be a control area. But you would also have restricted areas, smaller areas around an infected property with very stringent movement controls.

As I said, the standstill does apply to all susceptible livestock. As I said, if they were, it doesn't apply for foot-and-mouth disease, which is the disease that a national livestock standstill applies to. It doesn't apply to horses and it doesn't apply to poultry, etc. So as I said, only those cloven hoofed animals. On the declaration of the national livestock standstill, there will be no new movements permitted to occur. Movements that are already on the roads will be allowed to continue, as long as they're not exiting Victoria. And so, it was previously that a movement could occur, continue to occur if it was to be completed within four hours. We've now removed that and the movement can continue to its destination, as I said, as long as it's staying within Victoria. And, Abby will go into a little bit more detail later on in the presentation about movements that have occurred that can't go home or can't continue to their destination, etc.

Our sale yards are livestock congregation points, each have their own sale yard plans, livestock standstill plans, so if there's a sale that is in process or has animals been received, etc, or for dispatch, no animals can move from the saleyards, they have to stay at the saleyards. People will be allowed to permit permitted to leave the saleyards with some decontamination, etc. And, the saleyards are responsible for the implementation of their livestock standstill plans. Agriculture Victoria will assist where necessary to do so. And also, emergency permits are provided as well for livestock transport where required. So if a movement had to help in for animal welfare or a medical treatment, etc., you can apply for a permit and we'll go into the permits a little bit more. In terms of what the practicalities of the livestock standstill mean is essentially the borders closed to livestock transports both ways.

New South Wales and South Australia will both implement their own system, as I said there before. What that means at the borders, it's not a complete shutdown of the borders as occurred during COVID. We've been asked that numerous times as to what the implications are. As I said, it is only for susceptible species, so livestock vehicles will be pulled over, [inaudible 00:12:36] the on groundwork at the borders will be managed for Agriculture Victoria by Victoria Police, in agreement that we've been working with Victoria Police for the last 12 months. They will set up traffic management points where they will, any vehicles carrying livestock will be pulled over and checked to what their destination is. And then arrangements as to a decision will be made as to what can happen with that vehicle. As I said, if it's staying within Victoria, it may be permitted to go through to its destination or return home, or for vehicles that are essentially stuck in transport. We've got alternative arrangements, which we've been making with saleyards, certain saleyards across Victoria, where the animals may be able to go to there. And again, that'll be based on risk assessment.

Victoria Police will be supported at those traffic management points by the Department of Transport and Planning, in terms of infrastructure. I think for local government on here, representatives that'll be of interest to you as to how those traffic management points will be supported and set up. Victoria Police are very much engaged in this. They've already conducted an exercise around a livestock standstill, and what the [inaudible 00:13:58] are and how quickly they can implement. The crossing points, we've prioritised essentially in three levels for how they'll be manned. Some of those will be manned through physical presence at the border on the major transport routes and others will be managed through raving patrols, etc., along the borders, etc., depending on the likelihood of traffic, etc. But, how will it happen on day one? If we move to the next slide. So for foot-and-mouth disease in Victoria, its confirmed, The Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness, which is located in Geelong, it will confirm FMD. And then the Australian Chief Veterinary Officer will notify all of the state chief veterinary officers of the positive result.

Then there'll be a meeting of the Consultative Committee on Emergency Animal Disease and they'll agree to advise the National Management Group. And the Consultative Committee Emergency Animal Disease is made up of all the chief veterinary officers, and they're supported by the technical staff and there's industry in there as well. And then, the National Management Group is the heads of all the ag departments. And they agree to, they're advised to commence the national livestock standstill. The Minister for Agriculture for Victoria will declare Victoria as a control area under the Livestock Disease Control Area to enforce the standstill. And, Victoria's other emergency management arrangements that will be activated. So at the same time as the livestock standstill, the other emergency arrangements and enacted, in terms of setting up a full state control centre and local control centres as required. There'll obviously be a press conference to inform Victoria.

And this forms part of a communications package that's been developed, advising that the livestock stands still is commencing and the activation of the emergency communications package, which also includes notifications to industry, the PIC industry bodies, the Transporters Association, VFF, etc., to notify their members that a standstill is being enacted in Victoria.

What else is also happening is obviously, there'll be immediate trade suspensions put in place on all exports. And then as I said, the standstill, the purpose of it is around the, to buy us time to do our initial tracing. So our rapid tracing through the use of The National Livestock Identification System, and then the establishment, as I said, establishment of the checkpoint points will also be established in our call centre and the communications package, etc., supports that. And, there's scripts that people will be able to ring into and ask questions, etc., to the call centre and be able to get answers on most of the queries they've got. If the call centre can't answer it, they'll be put through to subject matter experts within Agriculture Victoria, who will be able to answer the questions that the call centre can't.

Next one. So the last 12 months has been particularly busy for AgVic in terms of the package, the Emergency Animal Disease Project that was announced by the government and the support that was given for Animal Agriculture Victoria and Animal Health and Welfare, as well as the CPO unit. This has been around working on improving our implementation plan and our policies. I wouldn't say it was about developing the plan, because a lot of this work has already occurred in the past. So, it was really about having a good look at our current plan and revising where necessary, and also our procedures and the involvement of Victoria Police has changed how that will be operated. So as I said previously, we had a different plan previously as to how it would be implemented in Victoria. And with the whole of government approach that has changed our way, we'll approach a national livestock standstill.

As I said, we've developed an emergency communications package and that's a national package, so consistent communications across the country that will be used by all of the states and territories. We've also created a new position within the structure, a deputy state controller for livestock standstill and support position. So this is a new position that we've created and it's dedicated just to dealing with the livestock standstill for that initial period, and then the resources that go with it. So around supporting saleyards, and also the livestock holding sites, which Abby will talk about. And then we've also had increased collaboration with the other states, regular meetings with New South Wales and South Australia, etc., around these issues, etc., and even Queens and Queensland as well. And they're developing and there's some really robust discussions that I had, but it's a positive environment. Everyone's working for the same goals.

As I said, Victoria Police and Department of Transport will be supporting. And then obviously, as I said, we've identified all of the traffic, the border crossings, etc., and we're working, as I said, we've reprioritized those and then to, as I said, into the levels one, two and three. And then the holding sites and the holding sites are, Abby will go into more detail, but they're essentially sites, saleyards, active saleyards that will... We've identified 11 sites across Victoria with the intention that if animals were stuck in transit for welfare reasons, we would have somewhere to go. So effectively, they couldn't go forward and they couldn't go home, that we would be able to send them to a holding site.

And we've been working with the operators of those holding sites and a number of them are local council around agreements and we're progressing further work on those. And the intention is not to send every animal to those. There'll be exceptions, but we don't want the, as what may have happened with some people stranded on sides of roads, etc., during COVID. We want somewhere that animals can go and their welfare can be looked after.

Next slide. So I mentioned there earlier that around emergency permits, we've developed an online permit system, a portal that anyone requiring a permit will be able to go to and use. This is a recent development and was supported by the Commonwealth and this will also be released to all the states that they can use. We're all operating on a very, the same disease management now, a system called MAX. And, this is a permit system that is supported by MAX to allow online applications. It should be noted that during the livestock standstill, there'll be very few permits, use of permit. As I said, the movement conditions will be contained within the control order and this will be more for around emergencies, as I said, for those emergency animal welfare issues, etc., where vet treatments required, etc.

It's quite a decent system, uses SMS and email. So electronic, sending... Each permit has a QR code, so anyone can actually check whether the permit is valid or whether a permit has been cancelled, etc. And as I said, that's being rolled out. Next one. So in terms of the announcements that, as I said, there'll be a press conference, but as I said, there's also media releases. The VicEmergency site will also be activated. Agriculture Victoria will increase its social media. There has been a website developed that can be turned on there, as which you see there on the screen. There'll be emails and SMSs to PICs from the property identification codes from the database, so around distribution of information there. As I said, communications to industry, so not only emails but calls to the PIC bodies, etc.

Obviously that includes livestock transporters, etc., who will be notified through the companies if they're on the road. And also, the use of the mobile messaging boards on the highways. Not only the fixed boards, but we're working with Department of Transport around the use of the mobile messaging boards, etc., so we can get it out. We've already developed the messages that need to go on those boards, etc., to advise people of what, that there's a standstill in place and a phone number, etc., to ring. And, then the development of fact sheets. Other work that's been done, go to the next one, I think.

So as I said, we've been working with VicPol, Department of Transport and as I said, local government saleyards, as well as some private saleyards, and then other industry and other agencies. Other things that have been occurring that support the livestock standstill, so there's just been a national exercise just completed recently around the movement of milk, etc. Whilst I said it's not about restricting product, we want to ensure that we've got sufficient systems in place as that product can move as necessary, etc. So you can see the industry bodies that we've been working with and there'll be a number of those on here today, and I think it's now to Abby.

Abby Wiseman:

Yeah, thanks Les. So I'll run you through the information here and some of that detail that Les alluded to a little bit earlier. So in terms of support agency and industry, there's a number of agencies that will assist us in implementing Victoria's Livestock standstill. Vicpol in particular, they'll be deploying members to predetermined border checkpoints for interception and redirection of loaded livestock transport vehicles. Assistance with redirection will be provided by the Livestock Standstill Movement Control Team, so that's, that AgVic team that Les mentioned earlier, the subject matter experts to assist with redirection of transport vehicles as needed. Victoria Police will also have a movement matrix, so they'll be able to make decisions themselves, but for those higher level, more difficult to determine where they should go scenarios, they'll forward that on to AgVic. Victoria Police officers will be appointed as inspectors under the Livestock Disease Control Act, which will provide them the authority to operate those border checkpoints and roving patrols.

So VicPol will be conducting proactive roving patrols, in addition to manning those border checkpoints, which I'll talk about a little further shortly. There'll be intercepting loaded livestock transport vehicles, if detected after the allowable period is over for them to reach their destination. This is through the roving patrols, I mean. They'll be available to provide assistance with crowd control and traffic management at saleyards, holding sites and infected premises. So a major change in the approach here is the support of VicPol, which is multifaceted. The Department of Transport and Planning will provide logistical support to VicPol in establishing those border checkpoints, including logistics, supplying equipment, facilities, traffic management contractors as required. Department of Transport and Planning will also be displaying predetermined livestock standstill messaging on fixed and transportable variable messaging signage. Local government owned and operated saleyards will activate the relevant saleyard or holding site livestock standstill action plans, which I'll touch on shortly.

Local government will also assist with signage, road closures and diversions on local roads if required. We'll also be looking to local councils to disseminate information through your networks. Other agencies and industry associations, such as the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, Victorian Farmers Federation, Livestock and Rural Transporters Association of Vic will communicate the requirements of a livestock standstill to their stakeholders and members. So this is all part of the communications package Les mentioned earlier, where we're really relying on it being a multi-agency and industry group approach to get the messaging out there straight away. At the time, a livestock standstill is called. There's inevitably going to be livestock travelling on our roads under the current AUSVETPLAN disease strategy for foot-and-mouth disease. Livestock in transit will be permitted to continue for up to four hours, note to the asterisks, to their destination or return to where they commence the journey, provided they're not crossing the state border.

The asterisk is there as the four hours is currently the case. However, it's likely to change to remove that time limit, as long as the journey is completed within the state border, either from the truck returning to origin or heading to destination or some alternatives. We'll talk about shortly. Livestock transporters that are caught in transit, for example, transporters with multiple consignments that cannot return to their property of origin will be instructed by our comms to contact that Vic emergency hotline. Or if they're at border checkpoints, VicPol may call through directly to the Livestock Standstill Control Team, sorry, Movement Control Team for advice. The Livestock Standstill Movement Control Team will undertake a risk assessment to determine an alternative destination. Animal welfare and driver needs will be considered in terms of that travel time, like the welfare's really critical indecision making there. VicPol will have a set of simple movement guidelines to detect livestock transport, sorry, not detect, that's not quite right.

Victoria Police will have simple movement guidelines to direct livestock transporters that arrive at border checkpoints onto suitable destinations, such as holding sites or onto slaughter. If support is required, VicPol will contact AgVic Movement Control Team. There are predetermined holding sites, which we'll go into shortly that will be activated for livestock that are caught in transit and really have nowhere else to go. There are guidelines in place with Tasmania for the management of livestock that may be in transit across Bass Strait. These guidelines provide potential options for certain scenarios, but a risk assessment would be undertaken at the time to ensure that best outcome can be reached for the livestock onboard and the risk of disease spread. Victoria also has ports for the export of livestock internationally, so this is the jurisdiction of the commonwealth and they'll be responsible for the management of livestock destined for international markets.

At the time, FMD is detected in Australia, and the intention here is that the commonwealth will find alternative markets that will accept those livestock. Of course, we plan for if stock are caught at ports, what we would need to do there. It's all part of the operational planning. Next one. So onto border control, so how are we going to limit the spread of disease into or out of Victoria? So traffic management's points, which is what you can see on the map here with the map on the left of the screen, have been identified along the state borders and prioritised in collaboration with Victoria Police. VicPol will establish and resource the traffic management points with Department of Transport and Planning, providing support with the logistics and equipment. Analysis has been conducted using CSIRO's Transport Network Strategic Investment Tool, or TraNSIT for short. The TraNSIT tool uses data around supply chains and freight movements. It was originally developed for the livestock industry in Northern Australia before it was extended to all of ag movements across Australia.

So, a very useful tool for us and covers about 98% of the agricultural sector. So using this tool, you can pin a certain transport route on the map and it gives you a lot of data, which you can see in the examples on the screen there, including annual tonnage, annual trailer movements, livestock species, time of year, the movements take place, enterprise origin, etc. The maps on the right of the screen as described, so the one above and below are both used, were both generated using TraNSIT. So, that information has been used to assist in analysing traffic management points along our state borders. And as you can see in the map on the left, well, you can't quite tell, but there's 124 different border crossings identified between South Australia, and New South Wales and categorised. So using that data from the TraNSIT web system, we've divided the different border points into four different categories.

The first category, the lowest, so very low, 73 points were classed as very low, which are the blue squares along the borders there, which were unclassified roads. For example, four-wheel drive tracks and fire trails, roads into properties or livestock movement where it only occurs once a year, for example, crossing from a property to a feedlot or abattoir. So, these crossings would have minimal police presence rely on any roving patrols as needed. The next category is the green. They are the low priority border crossings with data showing that less than two trucks using the crossing per day, VicPol will monitor these with roving patrols. But again, the set-up permanent presence, well, not permanent, but the presence won't be like it will for the medium and high. So the 12 crossings that were classed as medium, you can see represented with the amber squares on the map.

These are crossings where livestock transporters use these routes between 803,000 times annually, carrying between 10,000 and 50,000 tonnes of livestock. These crossings will be manned by VicPol for the initial 24 hours at least, and then VicPol can transition to roving patrols as needed at the time. Finally, the red high priority crossings, you can see along the borders there, they were classed red due to the data showing the constant throughput of livestock all year, moving between 66,200 27,000 tonnes of livestock per year. These will be manned by VicPol for the first 72 hours of the livestock standstill and may transition to traffic management contractors accompanied by authorised officers and authorised officer. VicPol may still have a presence at these crossings depending on resource demands at the time. So as you can see, the VicPol support here is a blend of border crossing checkpoints, as well as roving patrols, which may occur at the checkpoints or within Victoria for a number of reasons.

I think that covers that one. So livestock aggregation points such as, so these are saleyards, fixed scale operations, agricultural shows, rodeos, that kind of thing. So these are sites where livestock from multiple properties move into and out of, which present a greater risk for disease spread. The extent of livestock movement can be shown by the picture on the screen, which is taken from sheet movements across Victoria from saleyards in December of 2021. If a sailor event is in progress at the time of a livestock standstill, these saleyards and events will need to hold and provide appropriate care to the livestock on the premises for the entirety of the standstill stands. Management of the livestock at a sale or event remains the responsibility of the manager of the site or the event. This will only transfer to AgVic if disease is confirmed at the site and becomes an infected premise.

There are 36 operational saleyards throughout Victoria. The majority of those saleyards do have in place a livestock standstill action plan, which will be implemented in the event of a livestock standstill. Animal Health and Welfare Branch, which is where Les and I come from within AgVic, we meet with saleyard managers to review these plans annually. In the event of a standstill, Animal Health and Welfare staff may also be deployed to saleyards to provide guidance and advice at the time to help them implement those plans. Bobby calves will be a priority area to manage during the livestock standstill due to the increased husbandry requirements. There are 26, sorry, 28 fixed cattle scales in Victoria, of which half hold bobby calves, prior to their movement to an abattoir. These sites will be a priority for contact by AgVic, in the event of a standstill to ensure they have the necessary means to maintain appropriate welfare of the calves.

Holding sites, which we've talked a little bit about already. So, a number of holding sites have been identified for the management of livestock court in transit. For example, transporters with multiple consignments that can't go back to their origin and can't continue to destination. Select saleyards that are operational have been chosen as the appropriate holding sites in the first instance. These saleyards have the required infrastructure. The site and its equipment is maintained and they have appropriately trained staff available to manage livestock at the site. All operational saleyards have been surveyed, collecting details including sale days, species capable of being held, held capacity, shelter flooring, water availability, presence of truck watches, etc. There was a long list of criteria that were looked at with each saleyard across the state. So this information, as well as the locality we use to determine the list of holding sites, which I'll show you in the next slide.

Training has been delivered to these holding sites for the staff involved and these sites will be contracted to act as a holding site on behalf of AgVic in the event of a livestock standstill. Now, for the actual holding sites, they're over here. So, as you can see the list of holding sites and the map indicating where they are. 11 of them have been identified around the state. You can see from the TraNSIT web map, which is where we've lifted this from, they're on the busiest transport routes, which are shown by those thicker dark blue purpley lines. These sites will be activated by AgVic in a livestock standstill, if they're not holding livestock in preparation for a sale day, or it's not a sale day at the time a livestock standstill is called. AgVic will be working with holding sites to establish contracts and develop operational plans for each site to ensure that the holding sites are ready to stand up in the event of a livestock standstill.

AgVic may deploy field staff to the holding sites to support them in activating as a holding site. Livestock will only be directed to the holding sites by Vicpol or AgVic's Movement Control Team, which as discussed is it's certainly not every truck moving, it's the exception to the rule that they'd end up at the holding site and not their intended destination or point of origin. The holding sites will provide for the welfare of the livestock until the livestock can be moved. So, it will be the responsibility of the holding site operators to ensure that welfare is being met.

It's important that livestock during a livestock standstill will have the basic animal welfare needs. That being the five domains of animal welfare as shown in the diagram on the right here. So it covers nutrition environment, health, behaviour requirements, as well as the positive mental state. AUSVETPLAN, Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines, such as Saleyard Welfare Standards, and standards and guidelines for the Land Transport of Livestock provide guidance for the management of livestock welfare in an emergency animal disease response. It is important that livestock during a livestock standstill will still have the basic animal welfare needs met. To ensure the acceptable welfare of livestock in a standstill, planning and preparation is ongoing. And some of the preemptive measures that we've put in place include agreed guidelines between states, such as the agreement with Tasmania for the management of livestock transiting Bass Strait, predetermined holding sites that are trained and ready to activate to provide for the welfare of livestock that may be caught in transit.

Saleyards have livestock standstill action plans, which detail how livestock will be managed. The inclusion of an animal welfare officer into our livestock standstill incident management structure to identify and manage urgent animal welfare issues as they arise. And animal welfare considerations in the risk assessment conducted by the Livestock Standstill Movement Control Team, when advising for a suitable destination for livestock that are caught in transit. During a standstill, the welfare of livestock will be a shared responsibility of everyone, but ultimately the duty of care remains with the owner, manager or custodian of the livestock. How we going for time? Good.

Oh great. So in summary, a livestock standstill is a critical disease response activity used to limit the spread of foot-and-mouth disease in Australia. I'm sure Les, you would've touched on it, but it's primarily for use. So livestock standstill is primarily for use with foot-and-mouth disease in Australia, although we have used one for equine influenza in 2007, I believe it was. The livestock standstill implementation plan, procedure and supporting documentation have been updated. Incident management structures have been determined and resource planning is underway. So we've determined the structure that will require to stand up the livestock standstill component of the response, as well as the broader emergency animal disease incident management team. I guess, it's a very big structure of staff required for an EAD response, particularly for FMD. VicPol will be the key support agency for providing border control. As you know with Department of Transport and Planning, providing that logistical equipment support alongside them. Local government, other agencies and industry associations can assist during a livestock standstill by communicating the requirements of that standstill to their stakeholders and members as soon as possible.

Holding sites are in place for the welfare of livestock caught in transit. And a couple of other things just worth noting is that, AgVic will continue to engage with industry in preparation for an EAD outbreak and possibly a livestock standstill with a focus on engaging industry groups. So there's numerous teams in AgVic that are continuing that industry engagement focused on whether it's industry groups, saleyards, holding sites, transporters, abattoirs and [inaudible 00:41:39], agricultural show organisers and producers among others with information packages tailored to suit their audience. So what we've presented today, I guess, is a general package. Further engagement will occur with more detailed information for the relevant industry area. So, that concludes our slides. Kellyanne, I'm not sure if there's any questions that have made it into the Q&A or chat functions, but I allow you to jump in.


Thanks, Abby and thanks, Liz. Yeah, really informative, great content. So hopefully, everyone online, that's been really informative for all of you. So yeah, please ask your questions. If you do want to do a verbal question, you can do raise your hand and we can unmute you. There was just that initial question from Bernie in the chat, which Les, you have provided an answer to Bernie with that one. But yeah, if anyone has any questions, please add them in the Q&A or the chat. Otherwise, Les, if you wanted to start with elaborating on Bernie's questions, so he had nonstop for trucks.

Les Howard:

Can do. Bernie's question was, "Do logbook rules still apply?" Yes, they do. I don't think there's anything that overrides any logbook requirements and that's for obvious reasons around human safety, etc., and driver fatigue, etc, ensuring everyone is safe on the roads. As we said, if the journey starts in Victoria and is going to finish in Victoria, the journey will be allowed to proceed. If the journey starts in New South Wales and is already into Victoria, then the journey will be allowed to proceed.

The tricky one is if a journey has started in, say, New South Wales and is transiting through Victoria and is on their way to South Australia, and we do have this particular issue with certain movements, we need to seek permission from the South Australia for that entry, for that truck to enter South Australia. Now, they may refuse, depending on what the chief veterinary officer of the state, as I said, it's state-based requirements and [inaudible 00:44:08] is used as the guide. If they refuse entry to that truck, then we have to find somewhere else for that truck to go and that's the intent of the holding sites. Unless anyone's got any further questions around that one or wants more clarification?


There's no further questions on that one. There is a question from Ja Elliot from the City of Whittlesea. "So from a local government perspective, we need to be considering some of our legislative obligations on property attendance, such as municipal building surveyor entering a property or environmental health officer entering a property for a septic tank issue or business-as-usual activities." "Will we get direction on some of these tasks and what arrangements we will need to have in place?"

Les Howard:

Yeah, I think that's probably more in general during the outbreak, rather than the standstill component. Any property that is deemed to be an infected property that will have a quarantine on it, etc. We have entry exit procedures for anyone who needs to enter and that's service providers included. Obviously, we try to limit the need for people entering, but there is obviously business that has to occur and that's managed by AgVic at the gate, etc. If vehicles have to go on, we ensure that they're clean when they go on and they're clean when they come off, etc., prefer to keep them away from livestock areas, etc. In terms of other general, onto the properties that may not be restricted, but may still have livestock, that's where general biosecurity requirements come in. So people have got on-farm biosecurity plans, again, around ensuring that people don't enter animal areas, etc. And can effectively, the message we've been promoting is come clean, go clean. So, come to the property with clean equipment and you leave with clean equipment. And, there's guidance available on the AgVic website. And, Kellyanne will be able to direct you further to that one.


Yeah, absolutely. So I'll put some links in the chat, but we can also send some information out with the email post, the session to everyone who's registered, which might be the easiest way because you'll lose the chat function once we finish the webinar, so we'll send a further email. "[inaudible 00:46:42] thank you, also from Emergency Management Arrangements, "Will local government be involved in any relief provision provided to farmers, etc.? "During the pandemic, we provided the food relief to COVID positive families, have you identified potential relief needs that impacted properties will need?" "And, will local government be involved with this aspect?"

Les Howard:

Very, very good question. Yes, as it's the whole of Victorian government response, we've got other departments involved, like whilst Agriculture Victoria is the lead agency for the control and eradication of the disease, we're also working with Department of Health, etc., Department of Families and those other departments around what relief provisions are required to support families, etc. So if they have previously worked with local government to deliver a relief coordination, etc., then those arrangements still occur. But it is a very good point you raise and the support that families need, and particularly in the affected farming communities, etc., not just the infected properties, but other surrounding properties, etc., that may not have the disease but are certainly impacted by the disease. And a lot of work was done following the 2001 foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in England around mental health of farming communities, etc. And as I said, not just for those that were directly impacted, but those that were impacted otherwise, etc. So, we have certainly learned from those lessons. And as I said, Department of Health and that will provide that service as a support agency to the response.


Excellent. Thank you, Les. I've just put a couple of links in the chat for people, so one on a range of biosecurity e-learning courses, they're available and there is a course on Come Clean Go Clean. And the second link, yeah, it's got some practical information for biosecurity steps on your farm. Just interest for psychological first aid and personal support engaging BCC emergency management. So, yes. Okay. If there's no other questions, can't see any questions in any of the chat functions. So yeah, I'd like to thank you all for joining today. We will send a email, sent with the link to the webinar recording, plus some of the links that we've added into the chat as we've gone. There was also a link in the chat, a very, very short survey, just some feedback from today and also some other topics that you would like covered to help with the emergency animal disease preparedness and biosecurity planning with your clients, and yourselves and what topics you'd like covered.

We're planning the next one in this series on waste disposal, so on farm carcass burial, the guidelines that have been recently developed, and updated and added to our website on those. So, we will also add the date and the link to that upcoming webinar to everyone who's registered today. So yeah, massive thanks Les and Abby for your time and your great presentation today. So yeah, before I close off, is there anything final from you, Les or Abby?

Les Howard:

Just yeah, no, I think thanks everyone for joining us today. It's a critical component in the whole EAD Preparedness Program to engage as much as possible and seek feedback, etc. So it's been great to hear those questions, etc. If there are questions that people have afterwards that I think they can be sent in somewhere, Kellyanne?


Yeah, we'll put the email address there too, so it's the

Les Howard:

Yeah. And as I said, whilst we were fairly intense in the last 12 months around our EAD preparedness, it's not something that finished on the 30th of June, we are continuing to work on that. We don't yet have all of the answers to everything, but certainly working to improve continuous improvement in our response capabilities, etc.

Abby Wiseman:

Yeah, that's right. On reflection, Les, I'd probably add a little more information. Folks online might be interested to know that capability development for AgVic staff is a really important factor of the EAD Preparedness Program. So, there's a lot of training and exercising going on. In fact, we had a livestock standstill exercise occur in August, mainly internally focused, but it gave us some good intel in how we can continue to improve our implementation plans and procedures. And, there'll be a further exercise occurring. The phase two of that will occur in the coming months, which will have more of an external focus. So, we will be exercising with Victoria Police and doing everything we can to be prepared for a livestock standstill, even and when it happens. So, thank you. Thanks for having us.


No worries. Thank you, everybody. And, until the next session.

Abby Wiseman:

Thanks, Kel.

Biosecurity – Making it work on your farm – webinar recording

Agriculture Victoria and RSPCA Victoria delivered a webinar for small landholders to boost their biosecurity skills and knowledge on Wednesday 5th October 2022. The webinar was designed for small landholders to ensure they understand their biosecurity responsibilities and are equipped with necessary resources when it comes to keeping their animals safe. It was presented by Rachael Laukart from RSPCA Victoria and Brett Davidson from Agriculture Victoria, who both have many years of experience in animal management.

Passcode (note first character is a full stop): .jsFkG

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I now have a pleasure of introducing you to our presenters tonight. Brett Davidson is the dairy regional manager based in Tatura. Brett has 18 years experience in irrigated dairy agriculture, helping producers in a wild range of management decisions, including adopting new technology to improve productivity and performance. Brett is currently working in the biosecurity space, helping producers manage risk and improve biosecurity practises. Rachael Laukart holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Science with five years experience as a ruminant nutrition specialist in dairy production, as well as beef and feed lot systems. She's currently an education officer with RSPCA Victoria and she teaches a Certificate II in animal studies as well as coordinating a range of short course offerings for the community on animal care and welfare. I will now be handing over to our presenters tonight to take you through their presentation.

Brett Davidson:

Thank you, Richard. That's good introduction. Makes us sound fairly flash,

Rachael Laukart:

It does, doesn't it, Brett? Heck.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, I know. Everything I do is just about how to feed cows and enjoying cows. I do look at crops, but that's only cow food, which a lot of the croppers around here might find a little bit offensive, but...

Rachael Laukart:

I'm sure we've got... Everyone on here tonight I'm sure will be maybe a little bit in our camp there, Brett. Hopefully we've got a lot of animal lovers here tonight.

Brett Davidson:

Maybe not too many croppers, so might be safe.

Rachael Laukart:

But you're more than welcome to be. We welcome all the crop farmers here tonight as well, or people interested in crops. You're very welcome.

Brett Davidson:

Very good. All right. Oh, we've already got a few croppers.

Rachael Laukart:

Oh, we've got comments. Everyone's very welcome here tonight. It's great to have you. We'll look forward to the wonderful questions that hopefully will come forward.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, I'll hit you up for some silage and hay later, Gemma. I want it rain-free too this year, so here you go. All right, so we better start this webinar, otherwise I'll waffle and go off track as I always do. All right, so if we can get... So hopefully most of you attended last week and for those that didn't, we're really just going to do a quick recap at the start, but this one's really going to try and tie it all together about why we're doing biosecurity plans, how it'll help you and how we can all do our little bit to keep Australia's clean green image and to be more important, have healthy, happy livestock.

So last week we sort of touched on property identification codes, the NLI Scheme, animal health records. This time we'll go into a bit more detail with those and we'll skip over some things, but certainly ask questions, but Rachael and I'll spend a fair bit of time having a chat about the farm plans and the farm maps, which is probably more of the key bits. All right. So can we have the next slide please? All right, so we popped this one up last week for those that needed to get a PIC or update their details. So there it is again and we'll pop it up again later most likely so that we can... If you need that, that's available. It'll go to the Ag Vic site.

Rachael Laukart:

Absolutely. And hopefully some of these acronyms are meaning a little bit more to you now that we're on a second webinar for this topic. So I know we did a lot of introduction around looking at what some of these things are and last week we talked about who needs to have a PIC, and Brett, remind us who needs to have a PIC.

Brett Davidson:

Pretty much everybody that has livestock. If you get a property, you need a PIC.

Rachael Laukart:

We're really hoping that that was a strong take home message if you hadn't had one last week, that you've taken a little bit of time. It's very easy to get... It doesn't take long at all to put an application in and get that ball rolling.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, they're very handy too. Yeah, I've got mine memorised more... Memorised my PIC book quicker than my licence, so there we go. Yeah, so last week we touched on the NLIS requirements. So National Livestock Identification Scheme and the main point, we've got the link there to go there, but the main point is just to have... This maintains lifetime traceability in animals. White tags should go in at birth or very soon after, and the orange post-breeder tags are if the cow... Sorry, animal-

Rachael Laukart:

I'll have to keep him on track. There are more animals than cows, I do have to remind you here, Brett.

Brett Davidson:

I'm the state's camel expert, everybody. Anyway. And the orange tags are if the animals lost one, obviously the sheep ones are different colour-coded. So we'll move to the next one please. All right. So this is a sample National Vendor Declaration form, so these accompany animals with all movements and they're very easy to fill out, but it just gives you a bit of information about the animal and what it's been treated with, if there's any withhold periods and if there's any risks associated with it going into the food chain or anything like that, and it should give a brief update of what its health treatments have been before it's got to the property.

Rachael Laukart:

The great things about these NVDs now, Brett, is that not only do we have versions that we can do as a hard copy, but we also have them as an online version for those of us who are a bit more tech-savvy, which is fantastic. So it offers opportunities for both, I understand.

Brett Davidson:

Yes. Yep. Another thing where I'm behind the times a bit. No computers when I was at school, Rachael, which horrifies my nieces, so I still use the paper records, but the NVDs are there and they're fairly popular. Next one please. We've got the MLA dashboard here. So this is where you can get easy access to all your information. You can get your eNVDs. Also, it'll have a link to LPA accreditation when you need it, or when you need to do it. They got weather forecasts now. How about that? It's very handy site. It's very good for feedback information from your livestock too when they go for processing. We find it very valuable for us and our clients about mate quality, how the animals are going in production. We'll go to the next one. Here we go. All right, now we're getting into the more fun-

Rachael Laukart:

All right. Now, we get into the nitty-gritty of it. Vectors, Brett. What's the definition of a vector? Tell me.

Brett Davidson:

It's really just the modes of transmission. So if we had a vet on here, they'd just love to talk about every disease under the sun and there's hundreds of them and we will mention a few, but most of them come back to similar modes of transmission, and when we're doing our biosecurity plan, this is sort of what we're focusing on about what we can control with our borders. So this is probably... We'll touch on this a lot more later, but this is part of the doing. So this is what we can do to stop stuff.

Rachael Laukart:

Yeah, and when we were looking at going, "Okay, what are some of the real take home messages and how do we want to present this information tonight?" and like you said, there is so many different diseases that we could have focused on or included as part of this of the presentation, but when we're talking about, we go, "Instead of focusing on that, let's focus and have that broader approach on how can we manage them in these kind of ways," because it's going to be a bit more of a practical, on a farm level perspective that you as producers or livestock owners can take control of.

These are things that you can do and take away from this webinar and really implement straight away, and we'll be starting to talk about these farm maps and thinking about these vectors and how diseases are transmitted. Thinking of that in the back of our mind when we start to look at these farm maps and go, "Okay, where is the risk in our property? Where is that part where we maybe allow a little bit of nose-to-nose contact with animals perhaps that are not quite in a full or true quarantine situation? Is there a little bit of overlap there? Is that a level of risk that we need to either be a bit mindful of, or can we implement maybe some more infrastructure or a different way of going about something on farm that we can implement?" So that's where we kind of want you to start thinking about and that's why we start with talking about some of these vectors and going from that direction as we progress through this biosecurity plan.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, and we'll just talk about probably just a few individual diseases or virus. So I'm not sure if any of the panel will want any of the people want to chuck something at us. I might be making too much work for Paul, Richard and Gemma, but one for people buying in calves might be salmonella. That's something we don't want to buy in and that's usually water and food that that comes through. What ones do you think are important to you, Rachael?

Rachael Laukart:

Yeah, so some of the ones... Absolutely salmonella is a really big one. So things I think of as external or internal parasites, so sometimes lice as well, ones that we need to be mindful of, and internal parasites, like our worming, worms, intestinal worms, there's some of the big ones too that we need to be considering as vectors, really, for animal health for the diseases that come through.

Brett Davidson:

Yes, so with lice it's contact, and worms, well, that's usually transferred from manure, from dirty pastures, or heavily infected animals. Probably one I'd like to talk to with some of the small landholders maybe that are sharing size, there's sort of some things that aren't tested or you can... Cows do get... There I go again. Lots of animals besides cows and including cows, they can get STDs. So if you're sharing a sire for your animals, you can test for some of those and you can vaccinate for some of those. But yeah, there's always a risk there. Obviously, lumpy skin's been in the headlines a bit lately and that comes through biting insects and Japanese encephalitis. Excuse me.

Rachael Laukart:

I think when we start thinking about these things, it's really about we want to keep in mind managing the risk. So is our risk quite large or can we put some things in place to diminish it or bring it down, so to limit that risk of things coming in place? Because will we be able to have no risk whatsoever for everything? I think that would be really hard place to aim for, but can we bring it down, bring that risk down?

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, and with some of these we just sort of... And foot and mouth's been in. Why we're so worried about foot and mouth coming in, this is actually nearly transferred by everything here. It's really highly infectious. So that's one that we don't want, and that's... Obviously, if it does get here, the earlier we get notified, the better. We can get on top of it. But also something else that's probably not talked about too much is actually that there is concern that some things can actually go from animals to people, and that's in the background. So with chooks and pigs, we have seen things come through, and we've just been through a pandemic so I don't need to go any further further there. Hopefully we won't get another for 100 years or two.

Yes. So can we have the next slide? Thank you. Yeah, so these slides should nearly help you with your plan with developing up your map, but the good bits about these is that these have got reference documents, and there's nothing I like better than grabbing a cup of tea and settling down with a nice bit of cow information or cow catalogue, so the occasional scientific paper.

Rachael Laukart:

Yeah, that's good Sunday afternoon reading there, Brett.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, Monday, Tuesday.

Rachael Laukart:

If people haven't seen some of this before, because I know this will be quite... We look at these documents, this will be very familiar for some of you, I hope a lot of you, but I do recognise that for some of us viewing this information, this might be quite new. So Brett, particularly this 1.1 inputs on the livestock, where does this information draw from or where would we get this? Where's this document drawn from?

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, it's from the National Vendor Declarations and Animal Health Declarations, and what's important to know that when you fill out your plan, it's your plan, so there's no right or wrong answer with this, but it's just about documenting your plan. And some people in government love paperwork. I'm probably not one of those, even though I do work there, but this biosecurity stuff doesn't have to be onerous, it's just about getting a few simple things in place and once you've completed your plan, you only really need to worry about it if you've got an issue, or if there's something coming out, or if things change, so if you buy new property or change your layout or different things. But yeah, there's no right or wrong answers, so it is your plan. And each one of these links does go to quite a bit of information, which can be very helpful when you want to find out things you want to know.

Rachael Laukart:

What I love about some of these points, we think about, we talk about having or doing a bit of the paperwork side, or making sure that we understand what these documents are or have a bit of background on it, and we often talk about working within the business or working within the situation, and that might be having a walk through your animals and doing a bit of a daily observation or knowing where your animals are up to, or doing feeding. That would be an example of working in the business, and then this example of when we start looking through making sure that you've got your PIC, your NLIS, putting together your biosecurity plan, putting together a farm map. We talk about that as working on the business.

So that's a little bit of a step outside of the everyday stuff. This isn't stuff that you have to do every single day, but it's stuff that creates that bit of a framework for you. Whether you're in a commercial situation or a non-commercial situation, it's still vital to have this as part of your framework within your system. So just as you set up all this documentation, this is just part of it and it's quite good when it's all set up, isn't it, but it doesn't take that long and it's quite easy to work through once you've got the bare bones there.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, and it will help shape your plans, like quarantine areas and things like that. So it's quite handy. All right, we'll go to the next slide please. Thank you, Richard. All right, so this is where we're talking about Gemma's crops going into my cows.

Rachael Laukart:

I see what's going on here.

Brett Davidson:

So up first we've got the ruminant feed ban producer checklist. Now, Rachael, you were a nutritionist for a while, so you had a fair bit to do with RAM, so would you like to explain about how you used to deal with it in your role?

Rachael Laukart:

Absolutely. So RAM, we'll have a look at that as Restricted Animal Material, and I know we throw a lot of acronyms at everyone, so I just want to make sure that people know what this RAM stands for. It's not a non-castrated sheep, just putting it out there. So when we think about ruminant animals, and our ruminant animals are our cows, sheep, goats, alpacas, llamas, I'm going to put them... Brett, I understand that you're on the camel. Are you a camel expert? Yeah, I'm not putting camels into this one, so I don't need nutrition for camels, so if you've got questions for camels. So Mark, if you've got questions about camels, I'll leave that to Brett.

So we want to make sure that our ruminants are fed a vegetarian diet. They're not meat eaters, so they need to be fed a high forage diet and that works best in their digestive system, and that's required for us when we're feeding animals on particularly these ruminants. So we need to make sure that there is no restricted animal material fed to our ruminant livestock, and that's really held on by all the commercial feeds that you can buy that's particularly ruminants specific. So make sure that if you're feeding cows, but if you're feeding your cows and you're buying commercial feed, make sure that you buy cattle feed, that we're not feeding cows chook food or pig food, we're making sure that we're feeding specific feeds made for that particular species of animal. It's really important.

Brett Davidson:

Sometimes they can contain other things that are in there that are a production benefit or a health benefit to one animal, but mightn't be too friendly to the other.

Rachael Laukart:


Brett Davidson:

So with these commodity vendor decks and declarations... Sorry, I just got to look at me notes. Also on there will be things like, so if you're buying hay or fodder, it can also have your GMO status, which might be handy for certain markets you want. So if you want to make sure that if you've got a market where you get premiums for GMO-free, make sure you can get people to check that box. Just like we do with our cattle, it will have health treatments for your crop I suppose, or chemical treatments, and withhold periods if it's needed, which hopefully if you're being sold it, it shouldn't be in, but it also will have other treatments in there too. So just so people are aware, so certain seed treatments, like pickling grain, once grains pickle, that's actually not suitable for animals anymore, and then there's different seed treatments too that it's not suitable for feeding livestock.

So we actually probably see a lot more information around this and a lot bigger need around droughts, and you sort of really want to get this paperwork in order if you're getting byproducts because when we talk about the restricted animal materials and everything like that, sometimes people might sell you a food stuff that is edible to animals, but they might be trying to get rid of it rather than do something that's super profitable, and during droughts we do see this. Some people use byproducts all the time, but they've got systems in place and make sure that they maintain the health of their animals.

Rachael Laukart:

I think about when we... Vendor declarations can be a little bit scary if we're not quite used to them, but in any situation, whether it's for an animal or for commodity, it's really just identifying what you're buying. It's really just making it quite clear exactly what you're buying, any treatment that's come through and you'll be seeing that from a vendor declaration for your animal as well. They're quite similar in that sense.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, another thing I'd recommend is feed tests and dockets, but that'll be for the next webinar. All right, can we get the next slide please, Richard? Very good. We're talking about there's visitor logs, which we'll show on the next slide, and talk about vehicles, and we're talking... What we really want to do is talk on the basics about come clean and go clean, and if we have a look at the pictures here, someone's had fun with a bit of a few Petri dishes and how clean or dirty people's boots are. I remember doing things like this at uni with the-

Rachael Laukart:

I reckon that was a good honours project for someone, Brett.

Brett Davidson:

It was. Very good and there is some good information on the come clean, go clean fact sheet too. Thank you. All right, the next slide please. We'll get through the boring paperwork and get to the good stuff soon. So this is a visitor's log, they're very handy to have so and it doesn't have to do anything for us. We've got just a book that we have when people turn up, but the information we really want to capture is your date, who, when, and basically get them to sign in if possible. We've got the pig and poultry contacts here and that's sort of fairly important for pig and poultry producers.

Our commercial blokes usually don't let their staff in between sheds unless there's a week gap just to make sure that their quarantines up to scratch. Obviously, there's probably more chance of certain transmission with certain viruses at certain times, and you've got to put in there what's important to you. So I know some people do ask if people have been overseas in the last week, and if it's a yes, they might say, "Well, clean your shoes again please, or swap shoes," but it's about what risks are relevant to you.

Rachael Laukart:

Yeah, and it's not necessarily about... It's really about risk management, like Brett's saying. It's not about that those people shouldn't or can't necessarily come on site, it's about make sure you're wearing different clothes, make sure that your shoes are not shoes that you've worn or that they've been cleaned and disinfected before coming on site, and I love this part where we go, "Pig and poultry contact in the last 12 hours?" Because part of this might be poultry too, that people might have chickens at home and that's just as important as being in a commercial situation or being on a commercial chicken farm and then progressing on through to someone else's farm. So considering that there are backyard situations where these animals present, and it's just as important to consider that whether we're in a commercial or non-commercial situation.

Brett Davidson:

Very true. We'll go to the next slide. Thank you, Richard. These are hot off the press, these new signs. I actually like them. This is really good government, this is. So these are the new biosecurity stop signs. Now, there is plenty of different signs about... These are available on the Ag Vic site. This is relevant to Victorian producers only, probably it is, because of Victorian legislation. But what you need on the new sign is the biosecurity measures apply under the Livestock Management Regulations of 2021. What this does is actually give you, the property owner, it helps you with trespass laws, it helps you with uninvited people on the property and it gives you a bit of protection if you have a biosecurity plan and you have this sign up. It gives you a lot more protection than probably previously what's happened. So go to the website, there's a heap of new information. But yeah, very good. Thanks for that, Gemma.

And these are pretty handy things. I do have the old ones on my fence, I've ordered new ones. But they do help, they do stop people, and if you've got your phone number they do ring you to say, "Can I come on?" And it just helps, and like we were saying in the previous one, it's about conversations and if people see this sign, it really does help. That's good. And certainly for those people that they've got roads where people or Google Maps think it's a three road, but it's just your property. Very good. We will go to the next slide please.

Production practices. So the next slide's on treatment records, so we'll talk about that and it's just about... This is pretty handy about just checking your paddocks and having paddock records as well, and it's for your protection as well as your neighbours. So if we are controlling certain things on our crops, we've better make sure that we're not affecting our neighbours as well, and we've got plenty of information on that. We keep records, same as we do with animal treatments, about dates, times. The only difference is we probably keep wind speeds and directions as well and the type of treatment. So we've got crops, like grapes, that are quite sensitive to certain normal chemicals that will be used in other situations quite widely. So yeah, we don't want to affect their neighbours, so keep up to date with those records too.

Rachael Laukart:

What I love about the livestock monitoring aspect, it asks, "Are livestock inspected regularly to ensure early detection of sick animals?" I love this point because it talks into knowing what is normal for your stock, because if you know it is normal and then there's a slight change, because remember, it talks about that detection of sick animals early. If you can catch that early part of an animal's change, so movement away from what's normal for them, then that's when you can start to flag things. If you don't know exactly what is normal for your animals, then that early detection becomes a lot harder and then it becomes a little bit later detection because you go, "Oh, is this normal or is this perhaps not normal?" And I think whenever you have that little bit of a unsure moment of going, "I'm not sure if this is quite right," then absolutely raise your hand, call your vet, seek some assistance because this early detection is absolutely key.

Brett Davidson:

Very good. You'll get a job with department doing that, Rachael. That's just spot on. Key messages. Very good. Next slide please, Richard. Yeah, so these are just the animal treatment records. These are just easy to fill in. You don't have to use these templates, but it's good if you do. This is where I'm going to show I'm a technology wiz. I actually record all this stuff on my phone and transfer it over to Excel.

Rachael Laukart:

How do you do that? Do you just type it in? Do you have a little notes section on your phone or do you use a specific app?

Brett Davidson:

No, I use notes actually. I'm not that trendy, but there is plenty of apps out there that people do use for paddock records and stuff, and they're all quite good. If you're recording stuff and you're collecting withhold period information just in the event that something did happen to the food chain... I remember for a previous example where we had, it was a cow that calved and she had an antibiotic dry off for prevention of mastitis, and the chemical for whatever reason stayed in longer in the system that it should have, but because all the records were there, it wasn't an issue, we just had to... Obviously the milk was quarantined and didn't go into the food chain, and that cow was tested until she come down to a level where it was safe to... Withholding periods are done under some amazing amount of testing, but every now and then you'll get something, that bit of a curveball. So hopefully if you keep all the information good and up to date, it should be very good, or sometimes you can work out if there is an issue, what happened or whatever else.

Rachael Laukart:

Yeah, you can follow it back.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah. All right, next slide please. Yep. So we'll talk about treatment records and the animal health plan. Here's a little plug for our Notify Now app. So Agriculture Victoria got a Notify Now app, so if you see something suspicious you can actually just click on a button and it's got the hotline there, so you can get to that reporting thing faster. And from our perspective, if there is an incursion of anything, or the quicker we get onto it the better, so it makes it a lot easier.

All right, next slide please. This is just... We talked about paddock records and we'll talk about disposal sites and carcasses when we get to the maps, I think. Might be a bit better. That'll be easy to do. Yeah, and the same with fencing too. Pest and weeds. So obviously feral animal control. For us, foxes are a big problem and we've got a fair bit of information about fox control and it's the owner's responsibility to be controlling them, and there's a lot of... Check to see the control methods. So there's trapping and certainly other methods, but check the website as well as exclusive fencing. So none of us really that keen on having to do it, but there's some quite nasty bugs that they can carry and transfer around, like hydatids and mange, and thankfully it's not here, rabies, but there's certainly a few bugs that can affect cows and sheep, and everything else as well.

Rachael Laukart:

Yeah, I love this next point that we look at, Brett, because we go, "Do you undertake activities to maximise the effectiveness of the control program?" Do we coordinate this with our neighbours and local community members? I think when we start to look at... This webinar is really about starting or having the conversation about where [inaudible 00:37:51] kind of sits, and not only is this a conversation for you to have in your own situation, your own property, but also let's extend this conversation for people who are around us. So for our neighbours, we look at here around weed management. Well, it's fantastic if you have a great weeded management programme on your property and that is fantastic, but Brett, where might these weeds be blown in from perhaps?

Brett Davidson:

It could be neighbouring properties, but some of them can travel a fair way, and then with weeds it can be on contractors or vehicles. This is where we talk about mud and come clean, go clean, and animals that come on, that's why we talk about a quarantine period. You want to have them 48 hours in a quarantine paddock for them to empty out anything that would've been brought onto the property, and obviously feed as well. Yeah, you only need one load of feed with a weed in it to create a fair bit of work down the track.

Rachael Laukart:

And that can be a really hard place to be sitting into because I go, "All right, if I bring an animal onto the property or we've got returning animals onto the property, we know that we can quarantine them and that's great." We wait till they've emptied out, we give that time for them to empty out in the quarantine period and that might, we talk about risk, right? I might make sure that there's just that quarantine area that has that risk of... For example, if we're thinking about intestinal worms, we're waiting for them to clear out, we give them our drenches there and they empty out into that quarantine area, and that we're working towards keeping that segregated in a small part of our property. The challenge is when we think about buying in, for example, hay and if we haven't looked at perhaps that paddock where the hay has been cut, we're not quite sure if there's going to be weeds in there and we feed it out in multiple different places because we know that we're retaining our animals, we might be having to feed for a period of time.

Being able to have those relationships going to view hay before you bring it on property or on farm. I know we can't necessarily see stuff from testing hay per se in regards to whether it's got weed content or not, but it's always conversations to start thinking about and start to have that really implements into this biosecurity plan because it talks about that risk of where is some of these risks? Do we buy a lot of hay on property and do we feed it out throughout the whole property? And if that's yes for you, then we go, "Okay, where can we start to manage or minimise that risk of potential bringing weeds on property?" Because it is a lot of work once weeds start coming through and once they really get established it's a lot of work to work through that to getting clean pastures again.

Brett Davidson:

Very true. All right, can we go to the next slide please, Richard? So this is... The picture down below about the dashboard, it's the National Livestock Identification Scheme. Just so you know this is a practice one. There's probably a few Maria Crawfords out there, but none of them have a PIC called DPIV001. That's our training one. So if there's any Maria Crawford's online, that's not your details, they're made up. So there's always good information on here and it is actually very easy to use once you've got it and it's really good to keep this up to date for a number of reasons. But yeah, I've mentioned those before. So we'll go to the next slide and talk about our fit to load guidelines. Very good.

Rachael Laukart:

A fantastic resource, isn't it? This is really great to be able to have a bit of a look through. If people are not familiar with this document, I really encourage you to go and have a bit of a look after this webinar because it's absolutely fantastic. What does it help us with, Brett?

Brett Davidson:

Just makes sure that the animals that are being transported are fit to load. So you don't want to be causing any undue stress or pain to animals, so you just want to make sure that they're fit and sound to load. With livestock, they can get... I'll use bulls an example. Quite often they fight and sometimes they can cause injuries to each other and some of them might be only temporary, but you still want to give them time to recover or be treated before they're actually put on the truck. You don't want them being... Because when there's any movement, they're not like us that are strapped in, they do have to use that weight-bearing on all four legs, so they do need to be fit.

There's quite a bit of information in this document. It's actually a requirement to actually have a copy of this somewhere with all your records, as we're pointing out. But yeah, certainly have a look and unfortunately we all probably do have animals that do need to be euthanized every now and then for age or injury or whatever, and we don't want to be causing any more stress when it's not needed. So please have a look at it. There's good information and this is a national document that's had a heap of people get together and we're all doing the right thing for everybody and the animals first.

Rachael Laukart:

Absolutely. I think when we think about an animal being fit to load, we know that there's a lot of... The movement of stock is a stressful time for them and so we are wanting to make sure that we're putting an animal in a situation to be able to handle and work through that level of stress and to be able to essentially bounce back once they've been unloaded at their destination. So for whoever the person is receiving them, that they're getting an animal that's able to really go on to be productive for them too. So it's about just managing that welfare status for the animal and managing that they can handle that stress of transport because there is a level of it.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, and there's good information on travel times and that too for lifestyle, and if it's over certain times, depending on what class it is, they do have to have a rest and be fed and watered before they come to your property or go to someone's property. Yeah, so it's valuable resource. All right, next slide. Very good. So this is just all about the recording. So as we've talked today, so this is the last slide on your plan. Sorry. This will be the last one that's basically in your biosecurity plan that you need to have, so we'll get onto the good bit about designing a farm map.

Rachael Laukart:

Absolutely. And before we go ahead on that, Brett, just a reminder that we don't need to be ticking off on every single aspect of these points, that we're making sure that we can take from these what's going to be relevant for us. There's some fantastic resources here and I really encourage you to work through and consider what's going to be most important for your situation because they're not all mandatory, are they Brett?

Brett Davidson:

Sorry, what was that?

Rachael Laukart:

All these points are not mandatory. We don't have to tick absolutely every one.

Brett Davidson:

No, not at all. No, no. And like we said, it is your plan and it needs to be workable.

Rachael Laukart:


Brett Davidson:

So we'll pop to the next slide. I know, Rachael, this is where I'm going to be...

Rachael Laukart:

So it's me?

Brett Davidson:


Rachael Laukart:

Wonderful. I had a lot of fun doing this and I really want to encourage you if you haven't got a farm map or a property map for your own situation to go out and do it. This was straightforward. This is a bird's eye view of our Burwood East site for RSPCA Victoria. We've got a few different sites and this is the one where we've got our livestock for our education effects. This image is a little bit old and I got it off Google Maps, but it's still absolutely workable and feasible for us to have a bit of a look at and it's still quite useful for us. So we can see this kind of bird's eye view, it gives us an idea and you can see all the different paddocks that we have.

We keep a whole range of livestock here. At the moment, we've got some sheep, we've got goats, we've got ponies, we've got chickens, and then we've got some small animals as part of it that stay in the farm, but from a livestock perspective we have all those animals on site and it takes a fair bit of management of having all those different species because they've got different needs. So from what you can see, these are the different paddocks that we've got work with. Can we go to the next slide please?

So Brett, when we talk about these designing your map, we like to kind of bring forward these zones, don't we? We think about we've got these paddocks. Okay, that's great. What I've got in the yellow is actually our quarantine areas. So these are areas that are separate from our paddocks that we can keep stock that's away from, for example, our standard herd. So these are areas that there's no nose-to-nose contact. You can see those two, they're quite distinct from each other. The great thing here is that we've got two, so if we've got animals that perhaps are getting treated, if they're unwell and they're getting treated, I can keep them in one area as well as still have another area for any incoming stock that I can still quarantine. So it gives me some options. When we look at the orange area, this is just going to highlight for us any handling facilities that we've got.

So you can see towards the right-hand side I've highlighted our animal crush area and that's for any incoming stock that we're going to handle. Because we have some animals or some livestock that come into us. We've also got a portion of those animals that are our education animals only, so they stay here full-time. We use them in our programs and they're those sheep and goats that I spoke of earlier. So if we have a look towards that kind of centre part of the image, you can see a little square and that's where we can use just for our education animals, that's a space that I can use to contain them, things like vet checks or pairing or things like that that's completely separate to any incoming areas. So for your situation at home, you might be able to think about some different locations, some different zones of what might be appropriate for your situation. These are just a bit of an example of what we do here. Onto our next slide please.

So part of designing our farm map is I wanted to think about where is a lot of our either vehicle traffic or foot traffic. Where is that coming from? Where are people who are coming offsite coming into onto our premises? And that might be looking like external dentists or external vets, and food delivery and things like that. So you can see that in the purple we've got one part of the location, that's the area that people from off-property will be coming in. That's that spot. We start to see those yellow dots or those orange dots, they're the main access points into the property or into the situation. So they're my two, essentially, gates for example. So I can get vehicle access through one and I can get foot traffic through the other. So we've got some really clear areas where we can have some access points for either our vet or our food delivery.

You might see there also that we've got one feed storage facility for incoming feed, and that makes sure that we keep all that feed there. It can get checked and looked over, because remember we talked about before, it's really important to look over any of the incoming feed, make sure... In last week we talked about feed needing to smell fresh, needs to look free of mold, so we don't want anything damp or that's been started to be eaten into by mice example. So we make sure that all the feed that comes in is clean from that perspective before it enters the rest of the property or the other parts of the property. That might be something that you want to think about too for your place that you've got, this area that you can keep some of this incoming or inbound traffic, for instance.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, so you're stopping mud and manure that could be on vehicles being transported, and these are non-grazing areas so that the animals aren't going to... If there was something that did manage to make its way onto a property, a lot of these viruses and diseases don't survive very long without a host. So if they're not grazing areas, you're reducing your risk of transmission significantly.

Rachael Laukart:

Moving on. I love this photo, this is really cool. Progressing on what Brett said about the non-grazing areas, this might be a really good opportunity to have a spot for us to do some cleaning of people's boots, and so if you have this set up on your own property, then that means that even if people come with dirty boots or dirty vehicle, or now we know that a lot of the vectors, so with the mud coming on, that it stays in that one location and we've been able to provide people to make sure that they do come clean or progress through the property with clean footwear. It's pretty straightforward to set up, isn't it, Brett?

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, and simple and cheap. So you can use any acidic or alkaline detergents, you can use... Well, there's a list of other chemicals, but the brushes are extremely cheap, so a good wash and a hose, I think everyone's got, so we've got our boot washing stations set up where people park when they come to the property so it's visible and it's easy to use. If they're swapping shoes to go walking on my property, we can say, "Oh, we'll just give these a bit of a wash before we go on there," or swap shoes altogether. So for me and nearly all other department people, we've all got home shoes and away shoes, and home shoes always stay at home and go on the home property and there's no crossing of the away shoes. And you do keep them clean, but just by having separate pairs it's just a very easy thing to have and obviously with it being so wet, there's plenty of mud about. You don't want to be cleaning issues every day if they're in the mud. But yeah, very simple and easy to set up. So next slide please.

Rachael Laukart:

What I love to kind of link up is I'm pretty keen on the systems and processes because I think once we have them set up, they're really easy to follow. We've got-

Brett Davidson:

And they don't have to be expensive.

Rachael Laukart:

Not at all. If you go, "That works for me to have this boot washing facility set up," you can actually even link it with why don't you keep your visitors log there? So while someone's cleaning their boots, they take a couple of moments to fill in their visitors log and then you've actually ticked off two parts of your biosecurity plan easy. So if we have a look onto this image, what I've put onto this part is fences and entry ways.

So we've talked a little bit about entry points already and what I wanted to bring your attention to at this point is let's look at the blue. For us, we've got the property kind of comes into itself where we see this blue line and it has a natural drain there and the water seems to really... Particularly now it's raining at the moment, it stays quite wet throughout the winter. It's really important for these parts, if you've got this on your property as well. For us, we strictly manage the use of that paddock and we tape it off so that animals don't go into that and that's from a land pathing perspective as well, but as well as we don't want to be having livestock within those spaces where the water's just... Even if it's just sitting. We think about those vectors again. We don't want to be having our animals in those close proximities.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, and those shelter belts, you're stopping the nose-to-nose. Waterways, you're stopping things being ingested from neighboring properties or even your own, if there is runoff. So yeah, all these things add up to just to help protecting. All these little bits help a lot.

Rachael Laukart:

Yep. For us, this is a bit of a contextualized point. We do have these shelter belts that come around that perimeter of the property, but also to be aware for us... At Burwood, we don't need to worry too much around neighboring stock because we actually don't have any neighboring stock. We're surrounded by roads. So for us, that's not too much of an issue, but there will be definitely people who are listening tonight that do have neighboring or shared fence lines with neighbors that have stock on either side, and that's going to be a point that we'll touch on in a moment because that's just as important to pay a lot of attention to those situations as well. Onto the next slide please. Here we go, Brett. So this is a little bit of a different example.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, it is. This is just highlighting a few things in a different way, I suppose. With neighboring properties and fence lines, if you do have a neighbor or a fence line that's not real good... Fence lines with trees are wonderful, provides shade and shelter as well as stopping nose-to-nose contact, and it's also... My wife's taken up twitching over COVID and the amount of bird life that's come in with the extra trees, and that's been fantastic. But this plan here, can you see my cursor?

Rachael Laukart:

No. Nope.

Brett Davidson:

No, can't see it? All right, I won't use it then. I'll use it for talking to you. You see this property's got an entry point? So this is where people can come onto the property. It's a single entry point so that people are going to the stockyards or to an area where they're not just driving over the whole property to get to somewhere, they're staying in a restricted area. So this property's got your stockyards. This example's got the quarantine away from the stockyards. I'd have it... Ours is right next to it. For me, having the quarantine area away from your stockyards is that you might be walking animals onto a clean area or across a clean area to get to a dirty area.

Rachael Laukart:

And also it might be coming into contact... We look where the stockyards... Here in this image or this example, if you've got, say for example, animals that you've unloaded, you've got to take them all the way down to quarantine, and if we think about that nose-to-nose contact potential, if we want to make sure that that doesn't happen, then you have to make sure that you don't have other stock in those paddocks and being really mindful of where stock is situated on your property, and I don't know if you have this, Brett, but I find that whenever new stock come on, all the stock that are currently on that property go, "Ooh, what's going on?" And even if they're on the other side of the paddock, they come right up to the fence.

Brett Davidson:

That's it. That's it. There's feed storage here for your restricted animal materials and your grain, and they're all kept separate, which is good. You've got your chook run and your dog kennel, and this would be a non-grazed area. There's something we probably haven't mentioned too much earlier, but there could be a lot of things that are around different properties that may or may not be aware of. Some of the old power poles had certain treatments on them that were unfriendly to the food chain, so just be aware of that. Old rubbish dumps. If you inherit a property that's got old dam that's used as a tip, keep cattle away from lead and things like that. Unfortunately, all animals, but they're quite inquisitive so they will lick things and they can pick up stuff that you really don't want.

This property's got a wash down area, which is at the front so if you've getting clean access to properties. For us, we actually do sell bulls to people, but we actually specify the carrier to come clean, and we have that conversation with him where it's pay you to wash your truck before you get here, just put it on the bill, just so that the truck's spotless before it gets here, and so when the delivery happens, we're not getting any transfer. This one's got an old stock disposal site from the fires. Unfortunately, when animals do die, we do have to dispose of them. So I'm not sure what level of knackery service you have in your area. Some people have good services, others are poor. But you need to be disposing of those animals. So you can use burial, you can use composting, and that wants to be an area where you don't want other animals to have access to either. Things like anthrax can give off spores so dead animals can transfer stuff to live animals.

This one's got an old treatment site on it. Certainly some of the old stockyards and things used to have... And sheep tips. They used to use arsenic and other things. This is very old. So there is spots on properties that could still be have levels of chemical that might be a bit unfriendly. New dam. So fencing off waterways, we mentioned that. This has got a contractor area, so this is just highlighting where that contractor's been. You can manage that with your risk about what you think the risk may or may not be, and then if you do have a risk you're concerned about, you can have a period of time where you don't let the animals near that spot. So you are managing that risk and reducing it. Is there anything I've missed here?

Rachael Laukart:

I think it's looking pretty good. The one thing that I would just like to highlight, because it's one thing that we don't have to worry about too much from our side at RSPCA Burwood is that neighboring component. So if you click one more, Brett... There we go. If you see that blue line, that blue line signifies that joining fence line with the neighbor. What kind of things can we do to manage that do you think?

Brett Davidson:

Well, we can double fence it with electric fencing.

Rachael Laukart:

And that's that nose-to-nose point too, so making sure that physical space...

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, and you can use the same for waterways as well. You might want to use exclusion fencing if you're trying to keep out pest animals, like rabbits, deer, foxes, list goes on, neighbor's sheep. Yeah, so we've double fenced all our property and put big tree lines in which we really enjoy. That provides a lot of shelter for the stock. At the time, you think you're giving up a bit of land, but it gives back in spades once those trees get up and those hot and windy or cold days, like we've got today, livestock are just so much more comfortable.

Rachael Laukart:

Absolutely. That shelter component gives us two points, isn't it? Gives us shelter for our stock as well as allowing that biosecurity perspective of not only stops that nose-to-nose, but also like you were saying, the neighbors stop coming through, because it happens, and that can be a real risk to your biosecurity of your livestock, particularly if you don't know that... If you haven't had those strong conversations or communication lines between you and your neighbor, what's going on and what they're working on, what you're working on from an animal health perspective, because they could be introducing something into your animals that you might not even necessarily be aware of. And sometimes, I don't know if you've had this, Brett, but you might not be aware of if your neighboring animals are coming across because they can go across just as quick. They can come for a visit and then go again. I've had a few cattle pregnancies happening, which the bull wasn't in the pack though. Some things happen.

Brett Davidson:

So just to sort of summarize this, we're controlling mud with a wash down bay and entry. For me, I get people to park at my machinery shed and then swap vehicles and use my vehicle so that their vehicles don't come onto the property. So you're controlling mud and manure that way. Obviously with the quarantine areas, you're keeping that nose-to-nose contact away, you're protecting yourself from weeds as well. With a small area, you can monitor that area. You've got your feed areas which you can have, so you've got your hay sheds and your grain and feed storage shelters. They fence the waterways off so that you're making sure that the animals have got good clean water and that you're not getting any problems. Obviously with aerosols, there's only so much you can do with those.

Rachael Laukart:

And that's space, don't you think? A lot of that is distance.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, yeah. And the other ones your insects. Obviously, you can't do a lot with those, with the biting insects, but most people would've come across pink eye if they've got animals. Obviously, you can put out a few fly trucks to minimize transmission there. So they're quite simple. So next slide and then we'll get into the questions.

Rachael Laukart:

Hopefully we've really inspired some people to do some farm maps. I'm inspired.

Brett Davidson:

Very good. It is fun doing it, and it's good to have it so that everyone in the family and on the farm actually knows it. And my contractors and service providers that come on, they're all pretty familiar with it so they know what's happening. So it's not a shock when they get here, so it's not like, "Why do you think my boots are dirty?" It's no, they've got to take them off-

Rachael Laukart:

It's part of everyday conversation, isn't it? It's just part of it. It's brought up all the time. What works well is if you can have this in a really visual area. Again, if we're doing the boot cleaning station, visitors log, [inaudible 01:08:49].

Brett Davidson:

Yeah. So summary with the paperwork. Have your property identification code, your livestock, your NLIS tags. Have a plan, visitors log, come clean, go clean, and if you've got your farm map and you quarantine new animals and restrict movements and health treatments, you've made a very big start and you'll be putting up a fair bit of protection just with those simple things. We'll go to the fun part, we'll get some good questions going, Rachael.

Rachael Laukart:

Questions. Question time. Put in your questions, everyone. Hopefully we can have some good... Delve deep with things.

Brett Davidson:

And always, there's plenty of information on the Ag Vic website.


Thank you for that, Brett and Rachael. Yes, we've had a couple of questions come in regarding the setup of a boot washing station. Just a bit more information regarding that and a bit more information about the chemicals to be used.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, I'm quite happy to go for that one.

Rachael Laukart:

While you're talking about it, Brett, can we flip back to that slide where it showed that example so that we can have a bit of a... Sorry. This will pause a little bit of back and forth, but as you're talking to it, Brett, it might be really good for us just to see it again.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, so I'm quite happy if you use detergents that's under your sink for washing dishes or washing clothes. It's about just trying to keep things clean. A lot of diseases and viruses are sensitive to a certain pH range and a lot of our cleaning products that we use are actually more than enough to stop nearly everything, most things. So there'll be the odd thing that don't really get there. Even hot water manages gets a few things too. But yeah, a good scrubbing brush, a bit of... Well, what do people use, hoof picks? I have to replace my wife's occasionally. So there's plenty of things. You just try and pull the stuff out of the tread, give them a good scrub. It doesn't have to be overly tricky. My wife's English, when we come back from England, I just use the stuff under the sink, make it a little bit stronger than what I would if I'm washing dishes and put in a bucket and get a couple of good strong brushes and make sure there's nothing on there.

Rachael Laukart:

The good point around that is making sure all the matter is off, that's the main thing. Make sure all the mud is off, all the dirt is off, all the rocks and stuff are picked out. That's really one of those really key points rather than... Then we start to get those wins by the chemicals that we use, but making sure that all that organic matter is out first is a really big part of it.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, yeah. But there's plenty of disinfectants you can use. So what you've got in your house will most likely be more than sufficient.


There's another great question come in. If you've recently bought a property, how do you find out if there's an old livestock disposal area or if there's a contaminated area, e.g., an old sheep dip or a cattle dip on your property? Hey, Brianna, do you want to have a crack at this one, or what do you want?

Rachael Laukart:

That's a great question.

Brett Davidson:

This is up Brianna's street more than mine.


I don't know about disposal areas. We sort of have records on our PIC system of statuses in relation to organic chlorides and things like that. I'm not sure, and I would probably have to go away and find out more about things. So cattle dips and sheep dips would probably... Yeah, we might've had information about those because those are chemicals, but not really sure in relation to disposal pits. If it was a larger scale one from a response or something like that, that's probably something we would have record of, but as a producer, you don't have to run those sort of things by us, so you would never know whether person has buried livestock on their property, and livestock burial would probably be more under the scope of EPA anyway, because it's relation to waste disposal and all that sort of stuff.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, I did have a farmer the other day find some old cow skins that had the three ear notches. I might be the only one old enough to know, but it was part of the TB eradication scheme. But yeah, if there's sunken areas... But if you can talk to the previous property owners about is there any of areas of concern. But like we said, big events like fires and flooding, we do have recording of where those pits will be, but for smaller events, it's probably not likely to have too much information.


I've had another one come through, which is a great question. Where do you run the waste from a wash down area?

Brett Davidson:

Not onto the grazing area. So into a effluent disposal area. So that'll be an area where the animals don't graze. If you've got waste feed or waste, a composting area, that'd be good, and make sure it doesn't get back into your water sources as well. There's a few old dairies floating around. If they've got effluent ponds that are still connected and fenced off, you can put liquids into those from a boot wash down area or a car wash down area, but the main thing is to keep it away from your grazing area and keep it fenced off, and you can put it under tree lines or into certain spots, but protect your grazing areas.

Rachael Laukart:

I think be really strict with your non-grazing areas. If you have a non-grazing area, that doesn't mean that you can have your handful of pet sheep, for example, keeping the grass down. It needs to be strictly non-grazing.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah. And we've got those set up and they're just invisible lines, so we just mow around those areas or sometimes use different types of control. But yeah, you just keep those non-grazing areas non-grazing areas and keeps yourself safe.


And we've had an interesting question come through. Who is required to create a biosecurity plan? What if you don't sell animals or products, but you give away instead? Which animals are prescribed as livestock?

Rachael Laukart:

Good question. Good question. I think let's link this one back to... We talked about some of these acronyms before about your PIC, your NLIS, your LPA, which is your accreditation scheme. We need to be ticking these boxes. Even if we're in a non-commercial situation, we need to be aligning ourselves and following through with these things. So even if you're not selling animals, if you're giving them away, even if they're your pets, you go, "These animals are here for life. I don't intend on selling them. If they die here, I'm going to bury them here," even if you've got that all planned out, it's really important that that's part of your biosecurity and that you've got that documented through. So this is relevant for everyone who has livestock. Do you want to add, Brett?

Brett Davidson:

Brianna, do you want to add anything, or?


I was just trying to type madly away into our little side chat. I'm saying NVDs and NLIS transfers are still required even if livestock are not sold. So a transfer on the NLIS database does not mean necessarily a transfer of ownership. So the transfer is just related to movement of an animal from one property identification code to another, and same for an NVD. It is just when animals are moved from one PIC to another, and that does not necessarily to us indicate a change of ownership, it's just a movement. So biosecurity plans are completely relevant even if you're just a hobby farmer with two sheep that want to move it to your mom's block just down the road because she's got a bit of grass that she wants to keep down. So she needs to have a PIC, and you need to be able to do those transfers on the system.

Rachael Laukart:

So it's really important that you've got that PIC. So if we're going to use that example, you've got to PIC because the animal's on your property and you've got the NLIS, remember the e-tag, that e-tag needs to be there, and we're following that through, because remember, we're looking for lifetime traceability of this animal. Even if it has gone to your friend's place because it's springtime and there's a lot of grass growing and we want to be able to feed these animals instead of perhaps mowing the lawn or whatever. That that movement is documented, that needs to be documented. And again, if that animal then comes back to your place because he's eaten all the grass of your mate's place. Hopefully that answers the question.


Yeah, that was great. Just had another one come in. What is swill feeding?

Rachael Laukart:

Oh, Brett, this is your territory. You'll love this one. This is a good question.

Brett Davidson:

Yes, swill feeding is feeding food scraps to animals. So why that's important is when we come back to restricted animal materials, we don't want animals being cannibal, so to speak. There's quite a few nasties that can pop up from that. So meats or anything that can be not properly cooked or certain viruses can come over and can transmit. Also, bakery waste is still an issue. So you think that bread to be safe to feed everything, but if it's got ham and cheese on the top, it probably shouldn't be fed to certain species, or it shouldn't be fed because it's a restricted animal material.

Rachael Laukart:

Absolutely, and you might not necessarily see that. If you get a load of bakery waste that comes through, you might not necessarily see that egg and bacon roll, it's just slipped in there, but if you think about it, that's contaminated that whole load. So you don't know what's touched or what other bits and pieces are in there. I also want to encourage you to think about where we're feeding different animals and are we cross-contaminating with different feed? For example, if you are spreading out chook feed out in the paddock that your sheep is in, then just being mindful of that cross-contamination of we're feeding poultry. Poultry feed, for example, needs to only be fed to poultry. It can't be cross-contamination with some of these other animals.

Brett Davidson:

I know of... Well, swill feeding is a very high risk for things like foot and mouth. So there's been a well-documented outbreak where someone was swill feeding who shouldn't have been, and it was illegal, and the country that it went out to was the UK and that cost $16,000,000,000, eight months. It was 10,000 properties where animals were disposed of just with one swill feeder doing the wrong thing and not reporting it quickly. So it's very important. And if we talk about where does the risk come from, some of these diseases, swill feeds are very, very high risk if you're feeding animal products or if you don't know what's in there. That's why we've got these restricted animal materials. So we've got a link there to have a look. There's plenty of information and if you're not sure, just ask or have a look online.

Rachael Laukart:

Have a bit of research.

Brett Davidson:



All right. Well, as some more questions are coming in, we'll be launching the poll short now, so everybody can please fill that in to let us know what other information you'd need to get or how today's session went. Thank you.

And we've just popped in the link in the chat box for Android phones for the Notify Now app. It's a bit more difficult in the Google Play Store. We've got no more questions coming in, so if anybody's got a last minute question that they would like to ask, please fire it through.

Rachael Laukart:

I think we've done our job, Brett, if we don't have too many more questions coming in. Hopefully we've got some people thinking, give them some ideas perhaps, a few different things.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, and hopefully they've got a bit understanding about what their little bit can do to protect their animals and keep them safe.


We've got no more questions, so we're going to pull it there. So I'd like to thank our two presenters, Brett Davidson and Rachael Laukart, for being on tonight and answering everybody's questions. So thank you and we'll see you later.

Rachael Laukart:

Perfect. Thanks, everyone.

Brett Davidson:

Thank you, everyone.

Keeping your cattle healthy – webinar recording

Agriculture Victoria and RSPCA Victoria delivered a webinar to help the cattle you care for be healthy, productive, and profitable. The webinar was designed for small landholders covering: assessing health in cattle (body condition scoring, manure scoring), feeding cattle (grazing management, feed testing, quality of forage, transitioning a diet), biosecurity management, and fit to load. It was presented by Rachael Laukart from RSPCA Victoria and Brett Davidson from Agriculture Victoria, who both have many years of experience in animal management.

Passcode: EAD23!

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Rachael Laukart:

Well, let's make a start because the great thing is that we've got quite a few participants already online and ready to go.

And of course, this recording, well this presentation's recorded so it will be available for everyone to look back on if they missed the first little bit.

Brett Davidson:

So yeah, just to introduce myself, my name’s Brett Davidson. I'm the regional manager for dairy in the north. I'm a bit of a cow tragic.

I have a few cows on the side as well, few beef cows and I’ve probably had about 20 years in dairy/animal extension working for both Victoria and New South DPIs across a range of programs developing up, all different types of programs, whether it's biosecurity or fertility, nutrition pastures.

I've certainly been allowed to have a fair bit of fun converting some science into packages that farmers can use. I'll hand it over to you, Rachel, to introduce yourself.

Rachael Laukart:

Thank you.

Good to see everyone tonight. My name is Rachel Laukart. Similar to Brett, I've got a fair bit of experience both in the beef and dairy industries, a lot more on the nutrition side as well as animal welfare, and it's great to be part of RSPCA, what I do here is do a lot of this kind of extension work out into the community so that we can share a lot of this information that we've got, which is fantastic.

Brett Davidson:

All right, we'll get into it. Sorry, if we could have the next slide please.

This is a slide that I like to sort of start with.

Rachael Laukart:

And you start with the hard questions I reckon Brett, this is a tricky one.

Brett Davidson:

It is, the thing is why are cows and sheep not extinct? So, from my point of view, simply we can't get people to talk back from the crowd, it's basically because they don't eat what we eat, so they get to convert fibrous materials into energy, which we can't digest, so they're not competing for our food sources. And what we've got here is one of the most fantastic fermentation vats you'll ever, ever see.

So hopefully there's a few people out there that have tried to grow or do home brew or something like that and have just had that fermentation process and if you sort of keep that in your, what we're trying to do is get you to keep that in your back of your mind because when that doesn't work, it turns pretty ordinary at times, so that’s the key point we're trying to get across with this slide.

Pop to the next one. Alright, do you want to have a go at this one Rachael?

Rachael Laukart:

Yeah, yeah, I would just love to add for thinking about the room and it's just been that massive fermentation vat and like the ability that these animals have to process what essentially like there's not much, you know, metabolisable energy or there's not much really good stuff in pasture, essentially and they're able to, make, get whatever they can out of it and essentially work really well off it.

So we work with such incredible animals. And the main, or one of the main, system of parts of this system that we're going to be talking a fair bit about tonight is this NDF, so neutral detergent fiber.

Lots of big words there, but we talk about it as NDF and it really is one of the drivers of this system because it talks about or essentially it's a factor of how much an animal can actually fit and eat.

So important for this fermentation vat to take, to work effectively, that there's what we talk about this effective fibre that they've got this beautiful fibre raft that sits in that rumen, and all the little rumen, bugs and microbes sit on this raft and help the whole process work.

So, we talk about effective fibre and when we look at that second dot point about it needing to be muzzle width, that's what we mean about it needing to be effective because it essentially sits and makes this beautiful little raft that sits in the rumen.

And that's kind of often be thought about as like a prickle factor, you might hear people talking about that, and it has this huge role of determining how full, or how maybe not full, a cow might be feeling at a particular time. What are your thoughts, Brett? What kind of, comes, jumps out at you on this slide?

Brett Davidson:

Ohh I was thinking that I probably couldn't explain it better myself, but you know with that fibre length, you know, like if you grind it down into, the same material into dust or chaff, it's still not functional because it's too short and doesn't work properly.

Rachael Laukart:

Yeah, yeah.

Brett Davidson:

It can still have the same material and overprocess it to make it not work. That's what we're talking about, functional and nonfunctional.

Rachael Laukart:

Yeah, absolutely. And I think, like, we see that when, for example, if someone might be feeding, like maybe, like a lot of chaff, for example, that that's been cut down to such a short length that yes, it is fibre in the sense of if you were to send off a feed test, and we will talk about feed test later on, it will come back with a fibre number but it's not effective because it's not the same as the muzzle width and it's not gonna help promote that raft in the rumen, so.

Brett Davidson:

It's not being regurgitated and producing that saliva and producing it, helps that whole system work.

Rachael Laukart:

Yeah, all those physical factors. So, that's one thing to kind of start getting your head around when we start thinking about how do we feed our cows.

Brett Davidson:

Alright, we'll pop onto the next slide.

Alright, so this is, there's a bit on this slide.

So, what we really want you to sort of have a look at is the green range, so like the NDF level, we sort of want cows in a 30 to 50 percent range for them to work really, really well.

And the black line is the averages for cereal hay. And there's a green line within the other green line where the lucerne hay is, so and what we want to try and show you that even though there's averages, the range is quite good, quite big, and even though you know the majority of lucerne is quite good, sometimes like the really good stuff's actually too good and some people, some people with the seasonal conditions still manage to make poor loose of hay.

So sometimes just cause it's lucerneed doesn't mean it's great.

Rachael Laukart:

Not necessarily fit for purpose, isn't that right? But like, you know, we think about just the seasonal variations that we can get and we've got expectations of what this, you know, if we took lucerne, for example, of what the average might be.

But it's so important to think about, you know, but what did this season or this past season, what did that look like? And, if you're looking at purchasing, are you purchasing this previous season or maybe a season prior?

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. And you know, this year was a wet year and the feed tests we're getting back this year are really, really quite poor, from our point of view.

Rachael Laukart:

So why would that be, Brett, if it's a wet year, why would we start to see some poorer quality results on a feed test?

Brett Davidson:

Basically, the plants are saying I need to have, hold up a big seed head and because it's wet they're saying I need a really big strong stem to do that. So all the energy goes into making a really strong stem before the seed head goes up.

So yeah, and vice versa when we've got a drought year where all the all the hay ends up being pretty good is that there's not enough moisture for those plants to get mature, so it's cut early, it's leafy it, to be honest, during droughts, usually the hay quality is quite good, it's just that it's scarce and dear.

Rachael Laukart:

There's not so much of it. So, we might be seeing, maybe this season, tell me if this if, I'm on the right track, that we might be seeing a higher fibre NDF level in some of these feed tests and maybe a bit of a lower energy, which is ME, and maybe a bit lower crude protein, is that what you're starting to see?

Brett Davidson:

Yeah. Yes. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Are we getting the cleaner making noise come through here?

Rachael Laukart:

You're all good.

Brett Davidson:

Am I? Yeah, it's a challenge tonight. And, you know, conversely, you know like, we think, you know, pasture is great for cows. But sometimes it can be too good.

Rachael Laukart:

Well, yeah.

Brett Davidson:

So obviously with things like bloat or, a lot of times it's not enough fibre in that really fresh strung, fresh pasture, and you know, a lot of people say, oh, there's not enough guts in it, and that's basically because the NDF’s low and there's heaps of energy and protein but it's just going through the cow too quick.

Rachael Laukart:

And water content too, because we'd be expecting to see some of, like if we talk about spring pasture or maybe some of the pasture, like new pasture at the moment if we've, we might be coming onto some that we've maybe sowed earlier on in the year and that might be coming through into rotation at the moment, that might be sitting around like, maybe, like mid to high 20s, maybe reaching up into that 30 zone.

So we're really low when we think about total diet of where we want that fibre factor to be sitting if we look at that lovely green kind of wedge where that ideal zone is, we’re actually just underneath that we want to kind of lift it up a little bit.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, yeah, and you know, these core cereal haze with a bit of spring pasture actually make a lovely diet.

Rachael Laukart:

Yeah, yeah.

Brett Davidson:

But by themselves, they're not, not much chop. So yeah, and obviously grain is very, you know, it's not  a fibre source and from the NDF level, you know the average of that's about 12. So it's a good energy and protein source but you can't feed grain to ruminants without some type of effective fibre, otherwise you're not going to get the system working very well.

Rachael Laukart:

Absolutely, so if we can fit into that lovely green wedge area as a total diet, like just what you were saying, Brett, you know, mixing things up that we know some of them are going to be lower NDF and if we might be supplementing grain at the moment while we're letting the pasture get, you know, a get ahead of us.

We might be doing that alongside maybe some silage or some different hay that we've had over the summer and those two together combined probably sit really nicely, you know, maybe around that 40 to 50 NDF of a total diet. But by themselves, if we think of that grain just by itself or really lush grass by itself, we're not hitting that beautiful sweet spot.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, alright we’ll pop on to the next slide thank you. Alright, so this is the average of feed tests of hay from a few years ago, we're just using this as for an example. These change every year as we can see. But as you can see, you know we've got a NDF average for legume hay of 45, which is wonderful. But the range is 27 to 80.

Rachael Laukart:

It's huge, isn't it? Look at that. That's crazy.

Brett Davidson:

And the same with energy, like, if you if you got 3 ME of energy and 1.8 of protein it's not helping your animals out very much at that. And then on the flip side, if you get the best stuff, it might be OK, but you know this is why we keep saying feed test feed test feed test and grab some way dockets.

So, know what you're buying, know what you're paying for, and we've got some more information on feed testing on our website. And there's quite a few companies and people that can help you out if you're not sure what to do there.

Rachael Laukart:

Yeah, it's quite an accessible resource and like you can see in those ranges, it's absolutely fine if it's sitting within, you know, part of that range and of course it will be.

It's just knowing where in that range it kind of sits, that is the most important part, because you could still utilise any of it, no matter where it kind of sat, you just needed to know, and you needed to know what you're looking to achieve with your animals as well.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Alright, we'll pop onto the next slide, thank you. So these are basic requirements, if you follow these things, your animals should be ticking along pretty right.

You know, they’re browsers and grazers and during certain times of the year they'll pick out a, you know, a bit better diet than what's offered.

So if you get your if your feed’s like around the 10 energy for growing stock and 15% protein and in that 30 to 50 NDF range, they're going to tick along very, very well. They're gonna grow, they're gonna put a little bit of weight on and they're going to do very well.

So lactating cows with calves, you know, we're talking beef cattle here, so 8 to 10 ME, you know, 10 to 14% is enough, you know, obviously early lactation like, you know, like to keep the protein in there.

So your grass will have plenty of this under normal conditions, fresh green grass, and you know we'll be at the bottom of this NDF range for our spring pastures so, or green pastures depending on certain areas of the state, they got a lot more grass than we do in the north.

And, you know, dry cows, you know, don't have the same load on them, so you know, they don't quite as need as much feed. You know, keeping them full and happy if they're in good condition is usually pretty easy to do. So, we'll pop onto the next line. Alright, Rachel, well this is your slide. I'll let you talk to them.

Rachael Laukart:

Yeah, this is a little one that I put together. What I wanted to do here is really show a bit of a picture of what things look like when we do feed different quality of forages.

So, we touched on a little bit before about with NDF allowing that fill factor within an animal and that that can be one of the first limiting factors that we're working on.

So if we think about OK at the moment, say we don't have a lot of grass ahead of us and we're holding the, you know, holding our stock back just a little bit so we can get it some good pasture, and we're feeding them, we've got some poorer hay because it's been a wet year and that's what we had available and that's, you know, where things are at. And we've had it pre tested and it comes back around that maybe say a 75 NDF. Our 500 kilo cow can actually only eat up to 8 kilos of that hay, so we can get 8 kilos of that and it might, you know, we'll know the energy and protein content of that.

Reality is that that actually that animal will most likely be losing a bit of weight, a bit of condition even though they are full, they are fully fed, but we just can't get enough energy into that system because they can't eat anymore, because of some poorer quality hay.

If we moved a little bit more into that middle one where we start looking at, you know, maybe a hay that sits around that 65 NDF.

We, because the fibre load is lower, we can eat a little bit more, our cow can eat a little bit more, we can fit another, you know, 1.2 kilos per day into that animal, which means that we can get a bit more energy in, a bit more protein in and she's actually able to maintain herself for this point in time, which is really great because it allows her to then, alright, you know we're getting some grass up ahead of us and soon she'll be under some grass and she's managed herself during this time.

If we go OK, let's open up the gates to the paddock and you know we're feeding some forages or, you know, starting to go onto some of that grass with bitter hay as well to supplement and our total diet sitting more around that 45% NDF, look at how much more that animal can actually eat.

So it can eat up to 13 kilos of dry matter per day. So this huge amount from that 8 kilos, if you look at some poorer quality to 13 kilos of dry matter daily intake.

It's a huge difference, and that animal will actually start to gain weight, when we can start, you know, eating that kind of level of food. Anything you'd like to add to that one, Brett?

Brett Davidson:

No, I don't think that's a great summary. We'll go to the next slide, we'll keep moving. So this is what we'd expect to see from a feed test, that when you get it back.

So this would be from some hay I bought and as you can see, there's a lot of information in here, so you've got your dry matter percentage, so there's always moisture in hay, so there's a water content.

Obviously with hay, you know, you don't want the moisture too high because then it turns into silage and if there's too much moisture we can end up with haystack flies.

Crude protein 15.4, so this is good. The NDF’s 44, which is excellent, right in the zone. ME’s nearly 9, so this would be some of some good lucerne hay I would have bought. Ohh yeah, yeah, it's good lucerne hay.

And then there's always fat and ash in there too, but it's not burnt, but that's the amount that's left after they, if they, the lab, they just get everything out of the plant, so, you know, there is some of that in there, but don't fixate on that, those numbers will be always there.

You don't really need to know them, so if we just focus on energy, NDF, and protein, and obviously dry matter with haze, you know, you want about, you know, 10 to 15% dry matter with haze, you don't want anymore.

Rachael Laukart:

So just to add, probably onto that ash component, because we do get a lot of questions about what ash is. Think of it as maybe like a little bit more of around that, like organic matter that can be in there.

So for example, if you were testing like silage, it can be soil or like dirt that's kind of been picked up into it and so we want it sitting below that 10%, so if it's below 10, fantastic If it's that little bit higher, we can start to go, OK this actually has a little bit of, maybe it's a bit dusty, maybe there's a bit of soil, and that can sometimes then kind of go on to palatability, so how much the animal would like to eat that product.

But for, when we look at this kind of feed test, everything sits really nicely, that moisture and dry matter content, it all needs to add up to 100%, that's when we know where that kind of sits

And we really look for that NDF factor, we do have an ADF number there which you will always get, but we will consider for that fibre, the NDF, yeah.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, yeah, some nutritionists may use that. But yeah, for what we're talking about tonight, certainly what we've discussed are the key points that we're, that have the most impact on how you set up feeding your cows. So next slide please.

Yeah, this is just to highlight that plant and animal systems don't always add up. So, basically through the season, there's some surpluses of pasture, and hopefully we'll be making hay and silage then, and then other times of the year there's not enough pasture around, so you need to be supplementing your cows to keep them fed.

So, but yeah, that's just sort of something I want to highlight, that they don't add up, and if you've got livestock, you're gonna have to feed them at some times.

Rachael Laukart:

Sometimes we do our best, absolute best to try and make a system that fits this pasture curve, but in practicality, in reality sometimes it's just a little bit hard, sometimes.

Brett Davidson:

It'll be that day that we can predict the weather properly, isn't it?

Rachael Laukart:

Oh, that's right. Or each season is the same, like, each year, season's gonna be the same.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, that's it. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Or water rain in two weeks.

Rachael Laukart:

Yeah, that's right.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, right. Next slide, thank you. And this slide is probably going back to the earlier one. So obviously the shorter and more lush the pasture is, the better the quality is, but there's less bulk, and then the longer you let it, pasture go towards the seed head phase, the ranker it gets.

And then as the plant gets mature, feed quality drops off towards the end and you might have a heap of bulk there, but it, that as we're talking, there's a fair bit of chewing to get through it.

Rachael Laukart:

And because we, you know, we spoke earlier on about, like, what works best for the rumen, and we're talking about ruminant animals, and where we see this kind of arrow around, or between I guess, pasture quality and pasture yield, that's really that really beautiful sweet spot for the rumen too, because remember, we don't want it actually too low in regards to too lush or kind, or too earlier in the growth phase for the plant, because the NDF's not going to be there, it's very leafy and lush.

And remember when it's too stalky or too, gone too much reproductive, that we start to lose quality on that side because their energy and protein all gets kind of locked up in all that fibre and the animal struggles to access it through there.

Brett Davidson:

And that quality versus quantity yield, best time to do it usually coincides with flowering of the plants, so whether it's cereals or grasses or even clovers and lucerne, you know you want to see a a bit of a, a fair bit of flowering, so, but then you don't want those flowers turning to seed heads and go and cause some rank, so if you can sort of think about that flowering stage, if you're certainly locking up hay, and for hay and silage, obviously as you go pass that, you get towards milky doughs, and that's when the seed starts getting to a white milky color when you squeeze it.

If you're doing that, you're starting to get to the point where the plants starting to get fairly thick, and for me, that's nearly past it for performance animals.

So yeah, flowering's good.

Rachael Laukart:

Perfect, good take home.

Brett Davidson:

And next slide, thank you. This is probably, hopefully you can get a fair bit out of this slide to really set yourself up because we've all got boots, we all know how to use them. And what we need to be doing, when we're doing pasture courses, a lot of times we get people to say, calibrate your finger, but also your boots is probably an easy thing.

So when we're grazing pastures you want to have residuals of about 50mLs. So for me, that's that knuckle there, so that's 50mLs exactly there, if I go measuring. But another good way to do it is to actually, the heel of your boot is, you know, plus or minus a bit, but if it's, if your pastures below, green growing pastures below heel height, you've overgrazed and what that does is actually stop the amount of, reduce the amount that the plant has to be able to regrow and produce more feed.

So if you keep overgrazing you actually get smaller plants and less feed going forward, where if you can keep it long, a bit longer and you get your residuals right, it'll bounce back as quick as it can and grow a lot more feed.

So yeah, so you know, think about your boot and where your ankle is. So and hopefully you can come back to this slide because it's a cracker but you know, think about if it's below heel depth, you could either supplement cows or move them to the next lot of pasture. So, pretty good rule of thumb.

Rachael Laukart:

So what you're saying here, Brett, is if I look at this, if I go and have a walk through the paddocks tomorrow, anything that I want my cattle to be going into, needs to kind of sit at that top part of the green.

So, like, above kind of where my ankle joint is, when I'm going for a walk. And then I want to take them out or move on or start to supplement kind of when it starts to go towards a little bit more of my heel because I don't really want to get them into the red zone too much, hey?

Brett Davidson:

No, no, no, no, no. And cereals, so cereals are higher again, so you work to knee to boot height. So you work to top of your work boot and knee height, when you get the cows, go into graze the cereal and then yeah, down to the top of your work boot. Not gumboot, yeah work boot so.

Rachael Laukart:

Right, that's a good clarification.

Brett Davidson:

It is, yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Not your dress boots and not your own boots.

Rachael Laukart:

Right, OK, alright. OK, I’ll keep that in mind, thank you.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Alright, we'll pop onto the next slide. We might get a couple of visuals here about some grazing management.

So, this is my lovely model, Nelly, so it's very good to have your pasture about kelpie height, but if you haven't got a kelpie just go back to those other ones, but that's a picture of good, lush pasture that's ready to graze, and for cows, ready for cows to go in.

The photo on the right, this was actually 2006 drought. So you got cows on one side of the fence. That was actually a lock up area, so a stock containment area.

And what I'm doing here is on off grazing, so the cows are coming to graze these cereals here and I'm leaving a nice good residual here, so you can see they're getting fresh grass.

So they're getting moved out every day and then getting put back so that they didn't overgraze it. So they're still getting some hay until, you know, I had enough pasture in front of me to be able to, you know, keep going with things.

So I'm not sure if anyone remembers 2006 that’s on the line, probably a few people will, but it wasn't, it wasn't a fun time in the north, for it was, it was pretty dry, so, and I think we had certainly a big run of dry years so, but yeah, just, you know, on off grazing's a good thing to manage.

Rachael Laukart:

Yeah, you can manage that residual a little bit more in the sense of the it just stops the cattle from absolutely pushing it, or like pushing it further than what you want and I love what this image shows is that we've actually got, and I'm assuming that it's your containment on the other side of the fence, and we can see what that's, what that looks like, and I'm assuming that you probably had, that’s where you had your hay over in there.

So yeah, access to forage, some sort of forage all the time, and then to get this beautiful quality feed and see where you've had the, had the fence up and you know giving them that extra fresh strip each day or each two days, whenever they bring it down to that, you know, required residual to then kind of move them on.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, yeah. Alright, next slide, thank you. Yeah, this is just obviously the plant stages and leaf stages of rye grass. So, each leaf that comes out is nearly twice the size of the other one.

So once leaf one is fully grown, leaf 2 will end up being, end up being about twice the size when it's fully extended. And the same goes for leaf 3.

When we get to the 4th leaf, you'll get 4 leaves on your first grazing, but after, usually it'll start 4th, 4th leaf will die off.

So this is where your plant’s starting, for rye grass, that's, you know, you want to keep it at that 2 1/2, 3 leaf stage if you can, so, and obviously try and maximise your growth. Yeah, so.

Rachael Laukart:

Absolutely, that 4th, when we get to that 4th, you know, that 4th leaf that is essentially starting to die off, we'll lose that we, you know, unfortunately have lost that beautiful, you know, solar panel or energy that we've got there, that the animal could utilise.

So, we don't really want to get to that point because we start to lose efficiency then and we want to, yeah, nice, keep that between that 2 1/2 to 3 leaf because that's the maximum efficiency that we can get out of that plant, which is really cool.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, very good. Next slide, thank you.

Well, yeah, we'll talk about diet transitioning. We've already mentioned it a bit before, you know, we've got pictures of drought feeding and on the grass and we've discussed that. But what we sort of want to do is, if you are ever going to introduce grain with drought feeding or, you know, because you need to want to fatten steers or whatever the reason is, you've really got to start out with that roughage and introduce that grain quite slowly.

So, you want to be doing little bits, a couple of times a day and, yeah, it, and really just let that rumen set itself up, and just introduce your feeding regime, you know, over, well, ideally 4 days, but even up to a week if you need to, you just don't want to go, alright, you're getting 6 kilos a day.

If you do that, you're going to have some very, very upset cows and hopefully their legs will be pointing towards the ground, but, you know, you really, you know, grain in rumens, as we showed, they're not, they're not quite set up.

It's a fantastic source of energy and protein, and it does allow intakes to increase, but in doing so, you've got to introduce it slowly or you can make animals quite crook.

Rachael Laukart:

Absolutely, and I'll probably go even a little bit further from a time frame perspective is that we know that for the rumen it takes up to at least two weeks for that to adjust to something to a new aspect of the diet.

So, when we start, if we choose to start introducing grain there to think about starting off in low amounts, so that might be half a kilo to a kilo to start off with, and then we allow them time to get on to that food and know that they're eating that consistently for a good period of time before we start bringing it up, which also means that we have to be quite prepared, really, if we want to go down that track.

And to be able to feed, you know, higher amounts that we have to be very prepared because it takes it a fair bit of time to kind of build an animal up until they've got reasonable intakes, if they're going to be feeding grain.

Brett Davidson:

Very good, we'll go to the next slide. Alright, well, these are your lovely photos, Rachael. Well, most of them anyway, yeah.

Rachael Laukart:

These are all close to my heart. I'm sure everyone online will appreciate spending a lot of time looking at their animals manure. I know that I definitely do. And what I wanted to do here was provide everyone with a bit of a scoring chart, we've had a question about that when we did some webinars, I think last year, Brett, around giving some manure score chart.

So, we think about scoring from being one to five, so 1 being loose and 5, you'll see what 5 looks like. And when I look at scoring manure, I think about the looseness, I think about, so that's how, kind of I guess, watery or not watery, or formed, maybe, if you want to think of it that way, how formed a pat looks like.

Consistency, and what I mean by consistency is whether it's all kind of mixed well together, you might, you know this, I know this sounds a little bit sounds a bit gross, Brett, but I really get into this manure kind of stuff, and whether there's a lot of watery component and then fibre component, or whether it's a consistent kind of product at the end.

Of course we think about colour. Think about smell too, I know that sounds a little bit hectic, but there's different, sometimes you can pick up on different things by the smell of them. And then, of course, the presence of undigested products.

So we just talked about having animals on grain, and you might find if a rumen is a little bit upset that you might see some undigested matter kind of coming through too and that can help you up on a big things.

So, this is kind of looser manure, so a looser kind of score. These animals weren't necessarily showing signs of clinical ill health or anything, but they just weren't doing as well as what they could have.

Let's go on to the next slide.

So, if we go onto a score kind of 2, we can see that there's a little bit more form in these ones, there is a little bit more of a pat, it's not just a big squirt and if we look at, think about a consistency perspective, the image with my boot in it on the left, we can see that that's much more consistent than if we have a look at the image on the right where we can actually pick out kind of like bits and pieces and that we can see it like a little bit of fibre and a little bit of green in that one.

So that's what I would look at as around a kind of a score 2. On to the next one. Score 3, and this is for me ideal.

We always want to kind of be sitting around this kind of 2 1/2 to score 3, and this is a well-formed cow pat, is what I would kind of think of when I look at these ones.

We can see that it's got a little bit more form to it, it kind of sits and raises off the ground a little bit and they're quite consistent and there's a good colour of what we would expect, and we don't have, we can't see really any strong bits of fibre kind of coming through, it's been well digested.

Brett Davidson:

And we do want them looking like pats. That's why they call them cow pats.

Rachael Laukart:

Well, that's right.

Brett Davidson:

If you haven’t got a pat, you’ve miss it, you’ve missed the mark.

Rachael Laukart:

Perfect. So, as we start to kind of progress down the scoring, we can see there's a lot more form in these kind of ones that they sit a little bit higher up on the ground.

And, we can start, if we look at the left hand side one, we can actually start to see stuff that hasn't been as well digested. Just wanted to mention too, probably earlier in a lower score, sometimes we might see presence of bubbles and maybe like a little bit of blood and things like that.

If we see some of those things, that's something just to be really mindful of and start to looking around that we might have some animals that aren't doing as well as what they could be.

But just the same on this kind of side, getting a little bit more fibrous, we think about that NDF factor might be a bit higher in that diet than what might be ideal.

And so considering that we might not remember, be getting as much performance out of the animal and what we could be. Any thoughts on these ones, Brett?

Brett Davidson:

No, I just reckon they're in the zone, so be happy cows.

Rachael Laukart:

Score 5, Brett supplied one of these ones for me, thank you very much Brett from your girls. And this is where we start to see like a quite a high fibre diet.

You might see this over the summer or you might see this in dry cows that are on a high, you know, hay diet, for example, and these are quite, we can see there's a lot of structure to them, they're not particularly loose, they're still good colour and we can start to see kind of the some of this presence of the fibre, undigested fibre that's in there as well.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, and cows with this type of diet would be struggling to put weight on.

Rachael Laukart:

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So it all depends on where you're wanting your animal to sit too, because if you've got a cow that's carrying good condition and is giving you know these kind of manure, not a big issue.

But if you've got a cow that needs to put on condition and is presenting with this, we go well actually we've got some adjusting to be doing.

Brett Davidson:

Alright, I've got some body conditioning scoring here, so we'll just sort of go through this fairly quickly, you know, condition 1’s just unacceptable. You know, you shouldn't be able to see their bones. So you got, you can see the backbone, short ribs, the long ribs and round the tail head are the best place to do your body condition scoring.

This is just too low, these animals are in danger, so they need to be, have more body condition on them. So go to the next one, thanks, Celeste.

This one, this one's where they sort of, you know, like, maybe in the lactation, some dairy breeds may start to look like this at times too, where you can see short ribs.

But for me, it's still not enough condition on a cow. Go to the next one. Alright, now we're getting to, now we're getting to a good spot where you can't see the short ribs or any of the ribs, and you got a bit of fat cover, some rounding over the hips and pins, and you got some, there's also a bit of bit of fat round the tail head.

So that's sort of where you want to be aiming, starting to aim for your animals. OK, the next one. Bingo, we've got the green light. So nice, nice, big, fat, happy beef cows, that's what we're trying to aim for.

Rachael Laukart:

Absolutely, I love that you can start to, like, when I think about body condition and I love these kind of side on views that you can really start to see the animals square up a lot more, rather than being, you know, that little bit angular. I love seeing that you know kind of square come into place.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, yeah that's it, definitely. And a nice you can see the, you know, fleshing out across the rumps as well.

So yes, cows that are squaring up are great. Alright, we'll go to the next one. It’s come through a bit blurry, but you can see these cows are a bit overweight.

Would you, as a nutritionist, would you like to talk to all the issues around this one, Rachael?

Rachael Laukart:

Yeah, I, yeah, yeah, I find working with cows or cattle that are on a lower body condition score easier to get up than working with cattle that are over conditioned or in this condition, score 5, because there is so much metabolically that's going on here, that's, that can be a little bit hard to start to manage, and the biggest thing with these ones is that usually their intake drop off, so they don't want to eat as much and and we want to, you know, bring that body condition down but you have to do it so slowly, because metabolically they're in such a challenging spot, so they're actually quite hard to manage, animals that are over conditioned, they're harder to manage than ones that are under condition that need to come up.

So, can be, yeah, can be quite hard.

Brett Davidson:

And these cows end up empty. Is a short way about it, they won’t get in calf.

Rachael Laukart:

Yeah, because metabolically, they're all over the place.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, alright. We'll talk about fit to load.

These are guidelines, there's a link here, there's a fair bit in in these guidelines. But really, what we'd like to for you to do is actually just ask yourself some questions.

So, is it lame? Does it have an injury? Is it strong enough to travel? Can it see? Is it old enough? Are they in late pregnancy? And have they had access to water?

So they're the sort of questions you want to ask. But you really, you know, the answer is really in the name, is fit.

So, like, you want them fit to be able to travel and, you know, get on and off trucks and whatever else.

But certainly there's a fair bit on our link on our agriculture page. Obviously, Meat and Livestock Australia have it, all states have this type of information, but certainly they're all on the same page. And yeah, and it's your responsibility as an owner, that the animals that you do put on a truck are fit to load.

Rachael Laukart:

And it needs to be a strong yes when you look at these questions or when you're asking these questions of yourself, it needs to be a strong yes that, or a strong no, of, you know, does it have an injury?

Absolutely no.

So, that there's no question in your mind that this animal is absolutely fit to load and ready to get transported.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

And if you're unsure, you can always ask a vet and, you know, they should be able to give you an answer and, you know, if it needs treatment, it needs treatment, and yeah, they need to be fit to load.

Brett Davidson:

Alright, we'll pop onto the next slide.

So, yeah, this is, you know, we need to be talking about having a bit of a pantry.

So, this is one of my haystacks, I've got different types of hay. You can see, one says bulls only, that's my lucerne stuff, and I might be trying to get other members of my family using this lovely lucerne hay for some very over spoilt ponies that do not need lucerne hay.

So, I've just sort of put that bulls only sign there, but that's some lucerne. I've got some canola hay there, I've got cereals.

That might seem only a simple thing, but I don't have to like, obviously I work off farm, so there's other people that do feed my cows, so I can say to anyone in the family that's feeding the cows, go grab this hay and give it to this mob of cattle so that they're getting the right hay for the right diet. So obviously, I wouldn't be feeding lucerne to my dry cows, so that goes to my bulls that are growing.

And the same, you know, and I've got some good cereal hay for when the cows are calving. And then, yeah, I've got some coarser, cereal hays for when they're dry. So I find this is easier than having feed tests and trying to explain, you know, go to the left side of the shed or the right side of the shed. And so far, it's stopped any duffing of good lucerne hay for ponies, so it’s working at the moment so they’ll stay there.

You know, we talk about you know, what's in the pantry, so, you know, if you talk about, if you're not sure, use average figures with your hay, but you know everything that comes on the, my properties is feed tested and has got way dockets.

You’ve got to know what you're paying for, so. And we'll just sort of touch on dilution is the solution with diet, so, and they can, animals can get too much of a good thing, so, you know, even with pasture sometimes, as we mentioned earlier, some coarse hay to help fill them up, you know, dilutes that really rich grass and makes a really good diet.

So yeah, it's a nice little saying that comes in very handy and as a nutritionist, I'm gathering you’ve used it a few times, Rach.

Rachael Laukart:

Yeah, I love this one because, like, you would have experienced this too, Brett, is that, you know, you might buy in a truck load of hay and not every bale is the same as the one next door.

And so, you know, you might find a bale there that might be a little bit more stalky or a little bit more fibrous that, you know, you can start to mix in together with maybe some of your better stuff and recognising that, you know, that animals going to, naturally, go for the better stuff there and start to sort out, but being able to kind of utilise different things and mix it up, often makes for actually a really lovely diet.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, yeah, and if we're using average figures, you know, that's OK, what you're paying for is good.

But what we saw from those feed tests earlier, you could effectively paying twice as much for your hay because of the quality, it's only got half the quality in it, so it's actually costing you twice as much for each mega Joule of energy, and each unit of protein.

So, you know, yeah, $50 feed test is very, very cheap when you're buying a truck load of hay in or even smaller lots too.

Rachael Laukart:


Brett Davidson:

Yeah, anyone that's a reputable high producer would be doing a free test.

Rachael Laukart:

Yep, Yep, and you can absolutely still go and do a test as part of, like, if you've had some that's been delivered, have that tested yourself if it didn't come with the feed test.

They, the turn around is really quick, they don't take long at all, so for, it's all about being prepared and making sure that you've got it on site before you need it to allow for that turn around time, often you know less than five days to be able to get those results back, so really quick.

Brett Davidson:

OK, next slide, thank you.

Yeah, I'm big on functionality and feed wastage, so you can waste 30% of your feed by not feeding it out properly.

So, one thing is head spacings for cows, so if you haven't got enough head spacings, what they do, is they'll, they’ll fight around the hay feeder and they'll put their nose and they'll drag the hay out and half of it drops on the ground.

So actually, even though you're using a hay feeder to reduce your wastage, there's not enough head spacing, you're actually not helping yourself much because they, they're pulling it out and dropping it on the ground.

Rachael Laukart:

And what you find also is that like even you know, so you're getting wastage there.

But if you think about managing your herd, you often get a fair bit more variation because some animals are, you know, gorging themselves at the hay feeder because they're the ones, often the bigger ones, are a little bit more, you know, happy to be more dominant around that area.

And so you tend to get a little bit more of a weight variation, so you get some lighter ones, you get some bigger ones, which makes it actually a lot harder for you to manage your herd.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. OK, can we pop to the next slide?

Alright, so, you know, it's always a good, you want to manage what good biosecurity is, and you really just want healthy, productive animals.

So, and obviously we need that lifetime traceability so if we can keep that with the animals, that's a very good thing. Alright, we'll go to the next slide.

Rachael Laukart:

I love seeing those cattle, they looked very, very happy, and I think that, you know, when you have a look at these, well, I love that point at the end, happy people.

If we have happy, productive animals, we get happy owners and happy people and that's what it's all about too, is that we all enjoy being part of this and having healthy animals.

So, why not, you know, be making sure that that's the case. So yeah.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's always a good time to update your biosecurity plan. So for any of that are online that have missed some of the earlier webinars they’re actually on our AgVic website, and RSPCA have got a link, or that links to the site to go through about what the biosecurity webinars are. Foot-and-mouth is now endemic in Indonesia, which is getting closer.

Indonesia's not the only country, that's got foot-and-mouth, but it's been endemic for a lot of countries for a long time, but it's just getting closer and, you know, and there's lumpy skin and, as well, for people that are like us that work in the biosecurity area, there's always something coming in and there's always some type of challenge that we're dealing with.

So, if you haven't got a plan, we've got some links online to go have a look and there's a lot of assistance there available for you, so.

These are just a couple of plans, examples, and yes, there are plenty of sites and assistance to be able to help you.

Yeah, so here's AgVic biosecurity, so if you type in AgVic biosecurity, and it’ll take you through to this page with the links and then there's heaps of information on there, absolutely bucket loads, and not just on animals, that does crops, bees, a whole lot.

So, anything you're interested in that's related to agriculture's probably got a link on it to our site somewhere. So, it's lots of fun reading and a great resource.

Rachael Laukart:

Absolutely, lots of great information can be found there.

Brett Davidson:

And as discussed earlier in the webinars, you do need a PIC, which is a Property Identification Code for any of you that haven't got one or need to update your details, you can use that symbol there and it'll take you through so that you can update your details or you can go to the AgVic website.

Rachael Laukart:

Now, Brett, when would I need a PIC code? What type of animals would I have on my property?

Brett Davidson:

If you've got livestock, you need a PIC, so.

Rachael Laukart:

Any number? Any number of livestock?

Brett Davidson:

Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Rachael Laukart:

Perfect. And horses.

Brett Davidson:

And horses, and chooks. If you’ve got over 10 chooks. Sorry, yeah. If you got one cow, sheep, alpaca, goat, the list goes on. And then, yeah, over 10 chooks. Yeah, so, yeah.

But it's, you really need a PIC, and if you're selling animals, you know, it's just like having a license.

Rachael Laukart:

Very easy to get, unlike perhaps, getting your license.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, and it's fantastic for traceability and, you know, this is about us all working together to keep everyone's animals safe, not, it’s not used for anything else.

Alright, well we'll get to question time. This will be the fun stuff.

Rachael Laukart:

Yeah, over to you guys.

Hopefully there's been a few, maybe points that have come up that, maybe have got you thinking, maybe you're thinking about what you're doing currently, and maybe what you want to be doing, and have some points that have, you know, maybe piqued your curiosity there.

This is time for you to put into that question, kind of your question box down the bottom, should be able to access that and type it in.

Celeste Tai:

Just before we go to Q&A, I think I'll put up a poll for everyone to fill out. Thank you.

Rachael Laukart:

So, as we're thinking about maybe some questions, this poll has come up, perfect.

Brett Davidson:

And as we can see that, that lucerne that the cows are going onto has got plenty of flower on it and was quite safe to feed so, which was lucky.

Rachael Laukart:

I really like that rule about the flowering. I hadn't actually kind of considered that to be a good little rule of thumb. I’m going to take that one on.

Brett Davidson:

No, it's yeah, you can, you know, we get, sometimes you can get completely lost in the science, which can help you, fantastically, but sometimes you just, yeah, you know what it's like with agriculture, sometimes it's about there, depending on the weather and whatever else.

Rachael Laukart:

Yeah, that's right. Well you can kind of take home straight away and be able to go, you know, really easy for everyone to go out and have a bit of a wander through their paddocks tomorrow and maybe think about what that residual looks like.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Either calibrate your finger or your heel.

Rachael Laukart:

Absolutely, and gumboots not my dress boots then, Brett?

Brett Davidson:

No, no stilettos either.

Rachael Laukart:

Very cool. Well, hopefully everyone will start to think about maybe doing some of those feed tests or what some of that quality of forages that they're feeding, hopefully we're getting a little bit of pasture through now that some of our cows might be going onto.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, my bulls are grazing again, so, but yeah, what's it like down your way, Rachel?

Rachael Laukart:

Yeah, starting to go onto say we've started to see some good amounts of like pasture coming through, but I would suggest that we still tickle a bit of that hay in there because it is cold and wet down here and there's nothing better than that rumination and that fermentation creates heat. So, there's nothing better than keeping our animals warm by having some food in their bellies.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Rachael Laukart:

Ohh, I've seen a question come through, Brett.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, I can't see the full question. Jen, what's the what's the question?

Jennifer Shaw:

The question says: methane emissions are a hot topic at the moment. What relationships does it have with feed intake and other productivity traits?

Brett Davidson:

I've been doing a bit in the climate space so, there's a fair bit of variation, so giving straight line answer is very difficult because there's still a lot of research happening.

So there's certain plants that will help reduce your methane slightly by having a certain diet. There's certain animals within a population that can actually have different emissions from the same feed slightly, so yes, it's a very hot topic, we, our research team is planning on doing some webinars on it.

I think there might be even some information online as we speak, that might be more accurate, but there is little things we can do to reduce things, methane emissions but, you know, there’s going to be some rumen modifiers that will be out fairly soon that are showing a lot of promise.

At the moment, they're all got some constraints, so in feeding in a broad acre sense, but in a total mixed ration they’ll be fantastic and ready to go, very, very.

Well, we've seen the first introduction in a few feed lots already, so, and a few producers being able to adapt it, so a rumen modifiers are good, but they do have limitations, so we will see a lot of change over from the next couple of years, so hopefully that answers your question enough, but yeah, I'm certainly happy to take more.

Rachael Laukart:

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I think it's an area to kind of watch this space, there's so much going on in it.

Whilst I probably won't comment too much on the exacts of it, a efficient animal in regards to them being efficient with what they're doing, like when we think about from a nutritional kind of perspective, actually has a lower amount of methane emission.

So if we think about an animal that has that diet that sits in that beautiful kind of healthy rumen kind of zone, that animal's going to be most efficient with what's going.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, definitely.

Rachael Laukart:

A great question.

Brett Davidson:

It is, they’ve gone straight to great questions.

Rachael Laukart:

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Brett Davidson:

Have we got anymore questions there, Jen?

Jennifer Shaw:

No, nothing else have come through and most participants have filled in the evaluation poll. So thank you very much for doing that.

Rachael Laukart:

That is great.

Well, we've definitely put in some wonderful links for everyone to have a bit of a look at. We've done some webinars at the end of last year, so there's some links there too for people to think about who are interested in looking more around some of that biosecurity and when to, how you go about bringing some animals home and thinking about biosecurity on the farm.

So, there's lots of different resources for everyone to go at. It's incredible support within the industry and we're both at AgVic and RSPCA behind you guys and here to support you too, so lots of ongoing options for everyone, it’s great.

Brett Davidson:

Very good. Well, if we're not getting any more questions, we might be able to, we've still got time for a quick one, but if we're not, we'll wind up, I think.

Alright, thank you for everyone attending. Again, I really enjoyed working with you, Rachael.

Rachael Laukart:

Thanks, Brett. It's always a good evening when we get to do these webinars and get to have chats about some topics that are absolutely both, close to both of our hearts, I reckon.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. We'll keep talking cows, won’t we?

Rachael Laukart:

Yeah, yeah, absolutely, absolutely. Well, everyone, have a wonderful night.

Take care of yourselves and we look forward to seeing you next time. And we'll let you know when we've got further offerings on the go.

Brett Davidson:

OK, thank you.--

Biosecurity for small landholders – webinar recording

Agriculture Victoria and RSPCA Victoria delivered a webinar for small landholders to boost their biosecurity skills and knowledge on Wednesday 28 September 2022. The webinar was designed for small landholders to ensure they understand their biosecurity responsibilities and are equipped with necessary resources when it comes to keeping their animals safe. It was presented by Rachael Laukart from RSPCA Victoria and Brett Davidson from Agriculture Victoria, who both have many years of experience in animal management.

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Jemma Pearl:

Perfect. I now have the pleasure of introducing you to our two presenters tonight. We have Brett Davidson, who's the dairy regional manager in Tatura for Agriculture Victoria.

Brett's been around in that space in the irrigated dairy agriculture space for 18 years. I nearly said a hundred years, Brett. Keeping producers up to date with a wide range of management decisions, including adopting new technology to improve productivity and performance.

Brett's currently working in the biosecurity space, really helping producers manage risk and improve biosecurity practices.

Jemma Pearl:

The other presenter we've got tonight is Rachael Laukart. Rachael holds a bachelor of agricultural sustainable production with five years experience as a ruminant nutritionist specializing in dairy production, as well as beef and land feed lot systems.

She's currently an education officer at RSPCA Victoria. She teaches the cert two in animal studies as well as coordinating a range of short courses offerings for the community and focusing on animal care and welfare.

So I'll get Brett and Rachael to unmute themselves now and turn their cameras on and we can move to the next slide and start the presentation.

Rachael Laukart:

Hello everyone. It's good to have you all here tonight and to be able to present this to you. And what an exciting opportunity, Brett.

Brett Davidson:

Oh yeah, and thanks for Jemma for saying that I'm a hundred. I do feel like it some days and I have been round a bit, but it was very nice bio.

But really it's an introduction about I like doing stuff with cows and crops. And just as a side note, I am the state camel expert too, so any camel questions, whew.

Rachael Laukart:

Camel questions go to Brett.

Jemma Pearl:

Awesome. We now have the slides working. So Brett, over to you.

Brett Davidson:

All right. Can I see the slides? Just so everyone knows, I'm a techno immigrant. Oh yeah.

Jemma Pearl:

Hopefully you can see them on your screen, Brett.

Brett Davidson:

Oh yeah, there it is. I'm swapping views. There we go. All right. So I'll get you to move to the next slide, Richard.

All right, so today's really just a broad overview about how to get started. We're actually designing this as a series of webinars. So tonight's really a brief introduction of the biosecurity basics about what you need to do.

Brett Davidson:

We're introducing you to the record keeping and traceability requirements that you need. And for those that haven't got them properly identification codes and those requirements. And hopefully we'll explain a bit about how we use these when we are tracking animal diseases.

And with biosecurity, it takes a bit of all of us to help out with this. And if we all work together, we can end up hopefully in a spot where we are not having any incursions. And if we do get one, they'll be reduced significantly with the spread.

Brett Davidson:

So all right Richard, next slide please. I better do that rather than the thumbs up. So for those that haven't been introduced to Agriculture Victoria, we do world leading research, development, and extension.

For those that haven't been on our website before, there's a wealth of information on breeding, feeding, plants, crops. There is what your requirements are. We also work with production sectors.

We also got teams that work with international markets as well. We also do a bit in biosecurity and as we'll talk on more later on, we actually do a fair bit in the fire, flood, and emergency response phase, which we'll go into more detail later. Next slide please.

Rachael Laukart:

Perfect. So some of you might be then asking, well, where does RSPCA come into this? How do we partner with Agriculture Victoria in bringing you offerings like we do tonight? And how do we partner with our small landholders and what does this kind of look like?

So these are just some figures that I've got from our last financial year and it just talks about where we fit into this sector.

Rachael Laukart:

A lot of the information that comes through our doors is around animals not receiving sufficient food, water, shelter. A lot of it comes across from poor hygiene, husbandry, inappropriate feeding.

So there might not be enough feeding or maybe feeding of food stuff that's not appropriate for that animal. And we link this together in our education offering.

Rachael Laukart:

So just like tonight, we offer a whole range and bring this all together and these programs can be in person of virtual like we see this evening.

So we really like to partner with the community, which is you guys, and bring this information together Ag Vic tonight to essentially give you what you need to make sure that your animals are having a high welfare life. Onto the next slide please.

Rachael Laukart:

So what is biosecurity? Today is really going to be about establishing that foundation knowledge for everyone so then we can start to build on it later on.

So this is going to be the first question is why is it relevant? Because biosecurity, it's a big word that's been thrown around a lot. There's a lot of different parts to it. So for you viewing this tonight, why is it really important to still have your head around what biosecurity is?

Rachael Laukart:

And we can think of it as being a risk management on your property. So managing what is coming onto your property. These things, you can think about pests. You can think of it as animal diseases.

I've got a wonderful picture here of where we think about weeds coming into the property as well. That can be a biosecurity risk and perhaps coming in from the animals that might be coming on property as well as food like such as forages that get brought on.

And so different things that are coming through and how do we manage that risk to your place?

Rachael Laukart:

Onto our next slide please.

We are really starting with this big picture view of what biosecurity is and if we just click onto the next one, Richard, we'll see that this little box comes up. There we go.

This is where we're going to really hone in on, isn't it Brett? We're going to take this big picture view into what we can do on your small land holdings, what things you can focus on and that's going to be appropriate feeding.

Rachael Laukart:

So we'll touch on what swill feeding is and why it's important that why we don't do it. We're going to be talking about obviously on farm biosecurity planning and practices, what that kind of involves.

We'll be talking about traceability requirements and what things you can do as livestock producers and owners, the part that you can play in making sure that these traceability systems that are in place work really well.

Is there anything that you would like to add to this one, Brett?

Brett Davidson:

No, not at the moment. Thank you. No, you're doing your an excellent job.

Rachael Laukart:

Oh yes, thank you. All right, onto the next one then. Over to you, Brett.

Brett Davidson:

Oh, okay. Yeah, so just before I start here, we're not trying to alarm people, but unfortunately some of the diseases that do come in are very, very confronting.

We're certainly all animal lovers and that's part of the reason why we do the job, but unfortunately, we do get incursions of certain things.

Brett Davidson:

So obviously people would've seen a fair bit about foot and mouth disease. So at the moment, the risks slightly heightened at the moment, but for the industry, it could take between, well on this slide it says 80 billion over 10 years, but it could be closer to a hundred with current cattle prices.

These diseases are always a risk and they do come in. At the moment, it's just that with it being at Indonesia, it's a lot closer than what it's previously been. But that risk's always been there. It's been endemic in a few countries and we've just got to learn.

Brett Davidson:

We learn to live with it and with our incursions, we're going to hope to reduce those. We'd like to prevent all of them, but unfortunately we can't. So obviously, with cattle we've got foot and mouth and lumpy skin.

African horse sickness is also floating around. It's in Thailand. African swine fever will be a challenge too if it ever got here. And that's currently in Papua New Guinea.

Brett Davidson:

Us at Ag Victoria, in the last two years we've had to deal with some equine influenza, avian influenza, Khapra beetle, abalone virus, which I'm not sure too many people would've heard of. We work with anthrax and I've just had a stint on varroa mite as well. And yeah, hopefully that's going very well and I think we're on track to get on top of that, but this is part of our daily work.

Well yeah, daily work is either planning for these events or when they do occur, we do go into a response phase and do help out with that. Next slide please.

Brett Davidson:

Thanks Richard.

Yeah, so most commonly the diseases are introduced by other animals. I'll use the UK example for foot and mouth as a bit of an example here, even though the virus first was up in pigs, it was the sheep that were moved off the property that weren't showing the disease that actually initially spread it.

So part of today is actually if you do see something, it can travel in other hosts. So just be sure of what you've got before you sell animals.

Brett Davidson:

Next slide please. So this is a snapshot of five day movements, sheep movements just before Christmas. The blues are the in lines and the reds are the out lines.

So as you can see, there's a hell of a lot of stock movements and that's thousands and thousands of animals. And with our NIS system and property identification codes, we can trace those.

And in the event of an incursion of something, we can actually track things very, very quickly and hopefully if we get early detection, we'll be on to them quickly. Next slide.

Brett Davidson:

So Agriculture Victoria is always working with traceability, disease surveillance. We do some auditing and enforcement, especially with swill feeding, but we do have a very strong diagnostic capability.

Yes, we're always doing the training, as I said. And yes, we've always got a big lot of contingency plans up our sleeves. And we're always trying to help everybody as much as we can. Next slide.

Rachael Laukart:

Perfect. So what can you do? And I think this is a really great point because what Brett was mentioning before around, I really love that slide where it talks about the importance or the likelihood of diseases being transported on by live animals is it means that there's actually a lot that you can do as livestock owners because it comes down to early reporting. It's early reporting of things that come up that's unusual, that you haven't seen before, or that's not quite right.

Rachael Laukart:

That might be in the signs of pests or different weeds or animal diseases that come forward. And it's that continuous management, so you continuously monitoring your stock, looking at your stock, knowing what's normal.

We're going to be touching on that a fair bit tonight, won't we Brett, around what is normal for your animals, what is normal for your situation, and encouraging you to get a base level, a base ground of what that might look like so that if something were to come up or if you were to go back out, go into the market and be purchasing stock so that you can identify, "Oh hold on a moment, that's not quite what I would be thinking to be normal."

Rachael Laukart:

And so we can start having a bit of an idea in your mind of going, "Okay, let's just query that," or, "Let's get someone else in a different perspective," or, "I might just flag that with someone who I can seek further assistance with."

And as well as that traceability component, we'll be touching on that a bit tonight as well as in our next webinar as well, is the importance of traceability because that means that if we need a flag, something we can go, "Okay, well that animal's individual animal can be traced back." We talk about lifetime traceability for stock so they can be traced back these movements.

It's really important that we keep these things up to date.

Rachael Laukart:

So I love this little pictograph down the bottom. Spot anything unusual. I love little spot's very cool.

And we've got the emergency animal disease watch hotline there as well, which is a really great number just to have or be aware of and to have available.

So one of those key messages that I really hope that you can take home for tonight is to look, to check.

Rachael Laukart:

So look to make sure that you're monitoring what's going on. Check to see if is this normal, is this not normal? And if something's going on that you are not quite sure about and it's absolutely fine to seek assistance and put up your hand and go, "I'm not quite sure." Absolutely always call your vet, seek further assistance and don't be concerned about doing so. All right, onto the next slide please.

Rachael Laukart:

So we've talked a little bit about biosecurity, what that looks like, how important it is the role that you play is and what are the outcomes.

What does it mean to have good biosecurity? And essentially, what that means is that we've got healthy and productive animals. That the stock that we have on property are safe. They're doing what they need to do, which for all of us, we probably ask for a whole different range of things.

I know there'll be people here who will be looking for commercial outcomes for their stock. Some people who will not be needing as commercial outcomes. They might just need to have animals there to keep maybe some grass down and things like that. But essentially, the things that we want you to be looking for is the animal alert, are they bright, and are they sound?

Rachael Laukart:

When we've got good biosecurity on property, we know that we've got improved animal welfare because we know that the animals are healthy. We think about lifetime traceability of the animal. We've already touched on that and how important it's that we can trace them all the way through and that's going to link back to our PICs, so our property identification codes as well as their NLIS tags,

Rachael Laukart:

At the end of the day, we want to have happy people. It's not just about having happy animals. It's about making sure that the people who look after our animals are happy as well and that it's all ticking all the boxes for everyone.

Onto the next slide please. Perfect.

So I've got a little clip here that's just going to talk around when we bring stock back to properties, some of the things we might want to consider. So make sure your volumes are up for this one and we'll have a bit of a look

Jemma Pearl:

Richard, I might need to get stop sharing and reshare with audio. Sorry.

Rachael Laukart:

Oh, that's a very good point.

Jemma Pearl:

Hopefully you found that button, Richard.


Give us one second.

Speaker 5:

... for them.



Speaker 5:

So what I mean by that is having a suitable area where you can keep these animals separate for about a week or two. And that way you can keep an eye out for any concerning diseases or anything like that. So we want to make sure that during this time that there are three factors. Make sure that they are bright, alert, and sound.

Speaker 5:

So when we look at bright, we want to look at the animals' attitude and their demeanor and looking at other eyes bright, wide, and looking at they're awake and alert? Are they active? Are they doing the things that normal sheep are doing and not separating themselves and are being social as well?

Speaker 5:

So when we talk about alert, are they showing their natural sheep behavior? So are they looking around? Are they following the other animals? Are they responsive to your calls, to feeding? Another really important thing to look out for is their soundness.

So what that means is are they walking soundly? So are they walking with an even gate? Are they weight bearing? Are there any signs of them looking like they might have an injury such as limping or holding up their leg? It could also mean a whole range of issues of hip issues, things like that.

So it's really important before introducing into your new flock to make sure that there's no underlying issues with their movement as well. So quarantining animals is a really good practice to have on your property because it will help ensure that you have a really good biosecurity plan to prevent diseases spread into other areas of your property.

Rachael Laukart:

Perfect, thank you very much for that one. So that was our bio team leader Jess just touching on some of those points that we can consider when we've got stock. The importance of that quarantine period, keeping them separate, just separate for our time, we can monitor them during then.

And I guess this brings us onto the next point is we make sure that the livestock that come onto our property are healthy and we keep them separate for our time. Making sure that we're touching on those points so that they are free of disease or not bringing things onto the property.

Rachael Laukart:

But brings us to the point Brett, of going, well where else can things come onto the property? And one of these points that we want to just bring forward is water. Water quality is really important.

We know that it plays a absolute critical role in animal health and their production. We know that water really needs to be clear, needs to be colorless, odorless, and it most importantly needs to be easily accessible for all classes of stock. We know that water can be provided in plenty of different ways.

I've got a wonderful picture here. Brett sourced it for me everyone. What have we got here, Brett?

Jemma Pearl:

Brett's having trouble with his mute button.

Rachael Laukart:

Oh. Unmute for me if you wouldn't mind. There we go. Thank you.

Brett Davidson:

Oh there's always one, isn't there? Yes. I'm just glad that you can't see how much water's in my paddocks at the moment. So no. Good clean water is just a mandatory requirement and if you can get a good source and if you good setup.

Concrete troughs keep the water cool and they don't need very much maintenance. So just the odd cleaning out when you think they're dirty or if they start getting any slime in them. Yeah, just clean them out and filling up again.

Rachael Laukart:

Away you go. Yeah, I think from that point of sometimes it's really easy to consider, okay right oh, yes the water's going to the animals. Yes, it's of quality and it looks clean and all that kind of thing.

But what I want everyone to kind of think about as well is going, we know in these systems that we often house lots of different animals together, lots of different species.

So that point of access that everyone can easily access the water, I just want to encourage people to consider because if we've got water points that are too high from a access point that if we have stock that's a little bit shorter in stature but they can still easily access even if the water point drops a little bit.

I know we've got a wonderful bottle here, but in some situations we might find that ability to access the water might diminish when the water starts tracking down. Anyway, we will touch on that at a letter point, won't we Brett?

Brett Davidson:


Rachael Laukart:

When we talk about some of these things. So moving on to the next slide for me. Thank you. So we've talked about animals coming in, let's keep them safe.

We've talked about water, how we can present water and the importance of having it as good quality. So now I'm going to just touch on a little bit around the food point because we've talked about biosecurity coming in perhaps or biosecurity considerations with ways coming in perhaps in some of our food.

Rachael Laukart:

So we know that in our small landholders or our very urban farms that we've got multiple species housed in close proximity. So we just need to make sure that the food that we provide or the food that we have available for them, again needs to be clean, needs to be fresh.

I love finding out, you have a really good smell. Make sure that you don't have hay fever first because it's the worst when you start sneezing afterwards. So it needs to be smelling really nice and sweet to you and that means that's going to be nice and sweet to our stock as well.

Rachael Laukart:

We want it to be free from weeds, not just from introducing the weeds to our pastures and pasture health. We want to have nice clean pastures but also, there is some animal health concerns for some of that as well and contamination bits.

We also want food to be free from molds. I know sometimes things can get wet, particularly hay down the bottom of if you've got it sitting on the ground and that bottom a little bit can get a little bit nasty.

Sometimes we need to just leave that out the paddock, don't you think Brett? Sometimes some of that can go into some mulch and we don't need to be giving that to our animals as well.

Brett Davidson:

Or just have it so that it's not mixed in so that they can sort it. So if it's in hay ring or something, that's good as well.

Rachael Laukart:

Yeah. Allowing plenty of it too, to make sure that the animals don't have to eat the older stuff that might have a little bit of mold in it too. So making sure there's plenty of food to go about is what we want to be looking for.

Rachael Laukart:

Because we're talking about a whole different lot of species here tonight, I just wanted to highlight that for our ruminants, so ruminants, we want to think about our cows, our our goats. I know there's a few of us here tonight who've got alpacas.

We want to make sure that they're fed a vegetarian diet, so a full forage diet and all those forages need to be really nice and clean forages to be going to them. Anything further on this one, Brett, that you wanted to add?

Brett Davidson:

Oh yeah and pigs need to be vegetarian do diet too. So now we can slip to the next slide if you want.

Rachael Laukart:

Perfect. Now, I know these photos have maybe slightly-

Brett Davidson:

Just before dinner too.

Rachael Laukart:

Oh yeah. I show my nutrition background. Not worrying about looking at manure at all.

Brett Davidson:

All right.

Rachael Laukart:

Wonderful. So when we are looking at monitoring our animals, I really want to encourage you to get an understanding of what's normal. And what's normal can look different depending on the species.

So I've got three pictures of manure here, different manures and they're all from different spaces as well. So I've actually got horses. I've got cattle. And I've got sheep.

Rachael Laukart:

So some of them are healthy for the species that they represent, some of them are not. And so it's really important for you if you've got livestock at home to know. And if perhaps we're housing them together, you go, "Okay, this is what a cow looks like. This is what a horse looks like or a normal one or normal for my animal." And then we've got variations thereof.

Rachael Laukart:

So when we are looking at that, I want you to think about color. Can see quite a pasty color manure here. This is from a lamb, so that's the one on our right hand side. So that one's a little bit pale.

This animal's quite acidotic at the time. I want you to think about consistency. Don't worry about maybe putting your boot toe in it and having a bit of swirl around. Have a look at the consistency of it.

We're looking for things, so what's the texture, smell? Sometimes the manure can be quite acidic and really quite at the back of the nostrils and that's perhaps not normal for your animal.

So thinking about what changes might be going on might give us an early indication that there's something that we need to either be monitoring or seeking assistance with. Moving to next site please. Off to you, Brett.

Brett Davidson:

Oh right, so we're talking about restricted animal materials. Now I'm not sure if people know about these but if you're unsure, have a look at the website. And the same goes with swill feeding, which is basically food waste.

We see a lot more of this happen during dry times that people are trying to look for feed alternatives. But if you're buying your feed through a registered feed mill or they're complying with the rules that are in place.

Brett Davidson:

So swill feeding is a really high risk thing. My wife and my sister were both in the UK during the '90s when the BSC was there. After 26 years, they've been told that they're free and mad disease, so that's good. They can give blood again. So anyone out there who was in the UK in the '90s, you're all good to give blood.

Brett Davidson:

The cause of foot and mouth disease was actually swill feeding in the UK and yeah, I could talk on that a bit more later. But what we're trying to get across here that animals aren't cannibals and if you're feeding ... well pigs can be but we don't want to feed animal waste.

Well it's illegal to feed animal meal, so fish meals and meat meals and salamis and chickens, sorry, bakery waste to animals. Bakery waste can be quite tricky because it can also contain Talos and bacon as well.

So it might look okay but it might not be. So if you do have a question about byproducts, there is a fair bit of wealth of knowledge on our site and please look up these websites for more details.

Rachael Laukart:

Perfect. Before we progress onto the next slide, I wanted to bring up, we've got this photo here of one of our sheep, actually one of our SPCA sheep. And she came across to us from a situation where she wasn't being fed appropriate diet and we can see her tail there how much she was quite scaring quite heavily.

She was quite acidotic at the time. And these things, they come across and it's really important that we know and are educated around what's appropriate to be feeding our animals.

And I think also when we think about not only what are they eating but in the sense of where we feed, that we're not cross contaminating different areas. For example, where we're feeding chucks.

I know that we've got some people who've got some chickens here this evening. And for animals our animals like our ruminants, they're quite fed separately, that there's no contamination in these situations. Off to you, Brett.

Brett Davidson:

All right. So with the most basic biosecurity, the first steps are having a NVD, a national vendor declaration. This is really good for traceability but the owner will be able to put details about the animals you're buying.

And it'll have details about Johne's disease. Treatments that have been happened, they should be recorded as well so that if there's anything in it's withhold period it's declared so that to follow that. And you really need to request one of these if you're buying and selling livestock.

Brett Davidson:

So next slide please. As we mentioned before, we have an inspection on arrival. The seven day period actually helps with a lot of things.

So the animals have been trucked around, it gives them time to recover and also it gives them time to settle before mixing groups. You don't want to injure your new livestock by putting them together too quickly.

Brett Davidson:

Obviously you'd like to provide some company, but ideally that company wouldn't have nose to nose contact. And yeah, so you keep em separated for that seven day period. Just keeping an eye on them and making sure they get accustomed to your place before you mix them in with the other animals.

Brett Davidson:

And always ensure that animals have their in NILS tag, which is supposed to be in the right ear. Well, which is supposed to be in the right idea, through. In the previous photos, I had one care where I put it wrong way around, so much adding in these photos. Next slide please.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, controlling your borders is always very important. You can get biosecurity signs in a lot of places, just look online. But what you want to do is ask people to stop.

And if you've got your phone number in there, you can actually control stuff because you don't want people coming on in vehicles and spreading manure, which was the main word I needed to say properly tonight.

And mud, which was one of their big vectors. Nose to nose contact's and other one and there's certainly quite a few others.

Brett Davidson:

When you're using and certainly beware of shared resources. So with bulls and rams and other things, if you're sharing then they can actually carry STDs. And you can test and you can vaccinate for them as well.

And we recommend you do that so your local vet can do a cross load test for BVD and hopefully you're getting vibrio vaccinations as well. And if you're doing those types of things, you're really reducing any risk you have. But moving animals around is a risk.

Brett Davidson:

With contractors going from property to property, they can carry things around like... Johne's diseases can be transferred in mud and they can also cart weed seeds in between properties.

Biosecurity's about having conversations, so for me it's important that carriers turn up with a clean truck. I just ask them and make sure that they do actually wash their truck before they arrive.

And if they don't, I'll send them away and say, "Can you please wash your truck and I'm happy to pay for it?" And they'll do that, so it's all good. Next slide please.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah. So yeah, it's very easy. Just think clean when people are coming from other properties. The list of things that can be transferred's very high.

The risk can be between high and low depending on what's happening and what time of year it is. It's always good to record visitor movements and vehicles. We've got a simple log book that we've got here which is just easy.

Brett Davidson:

Ensure everyone arrives with clean footwear. We've also got a boot washing station which we'll talk about more in the next webinar. And for some people that come to my property quite a bit that do go from property, property, I've actually just bought them a spare pair of gum boots so that when they come, they just plop them on and then go off onto my property and it reduces the risk significantly.

Rachael Laukart:

I love that idea. We have that here too, Brett, is I've got a big of gum boots that we have on site and we make sure that they're readily available so that it's really easy because it keeps everything here.

Brett Davidson:


Rachael Laukart:

And it keeps everyone else's things over at their place. And it's a really great way to keep us all accountable and responsible in that area as well as keep everything clean. Plus, I always love getting into the car with clean shoes and not carrying around all these dirty gum boots all the time. I think it's great.

Brett Davidson:

Save yourself a job.

Rachael Laukart:

That's right.

Brett Davidson:

I know. Next slide. Thanks Richard. So a property identification code's an eight digit code and it does start with a three and the two letters identify the shire where your property is. And these are at the start of your NLMS tags. They're basically a microchip for your cows. So keep talking cows, it's all animals. You can see I've been working for cattle too long.

Brett Davidson:

So it's basically, we use it for traceability and it can also be used for residue. So with your meat and milk and other products that you produce, your wools, if there was an issue there that was flagged, we can trace it back. Oh it can be traced back to the property of origin and if it's something we need to control like foot and mouth, we can actually trace it very quickly.

Brett Davidson:

It is used for locating properties and even though the department of Ag has this, it's not freely available to all people. It's personal information, so it's only used when we need to and there's only a select group of people that have access to it.

In the invent of any incursion, we actually do contact owners and that can be through more than one method. Certainly during COVID, we use phones a lot more than what we normally do, but it'll be also to your property in which our staff will have some type of identification usually and we're there to help with whatever needs to happen, whether it's fire, floods, or whatever else.

But have a look at the link down below and if you haven't got a PIC, you can actually easily get one.

And we'll go to the next slide. Thanks.

Brett Davidson:

So you need a PIC if you've got cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, alpacas, lamas. I'm not sure who's the alpaca expert in our team. But anyway, I find that one out.

Rachael Laukart:

I'd like to know the difference between the alpacas and the lamas then.

Brett Davidson:

I'm not the expert, so might handle that one. And you need it for horses, camels, if you've got more than 50 chucks and if you've got more than 10 emus or ostriches, which can happen. Here we go. One the next slide.

Brett Davidson:

So we'll put this slide up at the end but you can just use that, got your phones with your QR codes you're used to using. And you can either click on or update your property identification code. And you can have that property identification code on more than one property if needed. So if we've got a lock down the road or whatever. So we will put this up again so we can slide to the next slide, thanks.

Brett Davidson:

So if you're moving animals, you need to be have an NILS tag. Just think of these as microchips just like your dogs and cats. It's actually the same RFID reader. Actually had the cow one in the back of the Ute one and it kept beeping and it was their little dog that was in the backseat kept setting it off. And what you need to look for is white tag is for the breeders.

So that'll be your property or the property that origin where it's come from. So it should be tagged from when it's born. And the orange tag's put in only white tag is ever lost. And then you can record that on the system and that just gives us that lifetime traceability of that animal.

Rachael Laukart:

What I love seeing about these ones here, Brett, is that you can see where it says the A, B, C, D 1, 2, 3, X. We often get questions around, if I don't have a tag reader, how can I do all the traceability things and how can that kind of work?

The great aspect with these is that you can still visually see these numbers and link them and we'll talk about this a lot more next time. But just really wanted to point that out that you can start to see that PIC number there at the start.

Brett Davidson:

Next slide please, Richard. So the NILS requirements is a requirement for sheep and goats as well. Victoria's the first state to introduce this, but it's also been announced that by 2025 all states will be sheep and goats will have tags.

And they just use a slightly different color. They use color coding as well and also, there is so leg tags for goats and they're the ones with... How we describe there ears?

Rachael Laukart:

Vascular ears.

Brett Davidson:

There we go. Yeah. So we don't don't want to hurt the goats but yeah, there has been a leg tag that's approved. So yeah.

Rachael Laukart:

Yeah, that'll be really cool to have that all the tagging requirements out there and to be able to go, "Okay, for our people who have got goats there, particularly the ones that are more of those milking variety or milking breeds that, there's an option there." You don't tag then we can do the leg tags.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah. Yep. And pigs still got a variety. So you can still tattoo your pigs. You can also use notching and there is RFID tags as well. You can microchip them as well. But yeah, so pigs can still get tattooed. So remember doing that when I was a kid.

Brett Davidson:

So can we move to the next slide please? So key biosecurity plans. So if you'd like to, it doesn't really matter what type of template you use. So anyone that's in the MLA, I got sent one yesterday and that's a good template.

We've also got our own. The veterinary association's got one. And it really doesn't matter what type of template you use, but it's just about having a plan and this is about keeping some good information that just keeps some pretty basic records.

Brett Davidson:

We're not asking for essays or full details about what's needed, chapter and verse. But if you just keep this information, it just keeps traceability there.

And once you've got a few systems in place, it's actually pretty easy to keep a really good tight biosecurity program going and it doesn't take a lot of effort. But what we do need people to do, it is a shared responsibility and if we all do our little bit, that'll make things easy.

Rachael Laukart:

What I love about these templates and putting together the biosecurity plan is that it means that all your input and information or all that information that if you know need to call a vet quickly or you know need to get all this information, it's all in one spot.

That's the great thing is that you know can have your veterinary number there. You can have the local animal health officer. It's all on that front page and I love that you can have that information just collated to be in one area. It's really easy to access.

Rachael Laukart:

It does look a little bit overwhelming when we look on the image on that left hand side and when it starts to talk about those inputs. It can get a little bit overwhelming but have no fear because we're going to work through this particularly in our next webinar, won't we Brett?

And we'll step through what these can look like, give you a couple of examples and talk about some case studies on how this might look for your individual property, which will be really cool.

Rachael Laukart:

So what would love for you to get from today is that a plan can be quite simple. It can be really helpful for you. It can be helpful for anyone if they come in and need to be finding some vital information, that you're not trying to quickly look it up on the internet.

It's there. It's printed. Anyone can come in and access that information. So it's quite valuable to have it there in one spot. Yeah, quite helpful. Moving on the next slide. More information.

This is a treasure trove here, Brett. If we start looking onto some of these websites.

Brett Davidson:

Definitely for cows tragics like me, there's so much information on feeding and breeding. Oh and you. You've got your lovely cows. But there's also stuff on what the current issues are about varroa mite, foot and mouth.

You can really find anything you want on here. We've got some really good climate programs, so general give the climate team a plug. We've got our webinars and updates on that.

And anything you need to do with running a business, it should be knowing in here. So this heap of independent peer reviewed advice in here and I'll give you contacts of people that you might want to talk to as well. So like I said, we do have marine people and we do have camel people.

And yeah, we are here to help.

Rachael Laukart:

There is some absolutely fantastic information on these websites for you to have a bit of a look at.

I advise, give yourself a bit of time to process it all and yeah, really do your research. For some of us I know that are on here tonight, we might not have purchased livestock yet, or we might have a bit of a plan of what kind of species we might want to be getting involved with, or we might have one type of species and be looking to branch out into something else.

Really you to go onto these websites and do your research. There's some great really foundational knowledge around what we might need to know from our husband perspective.

We're all about preventative measures here in making sure that our animals stay healthy. So take the time, put the hours of the research in to make sure that you can do this the best way possible.

Brett Davidson:

Very good. Next slide. We're getting to the fun part. Questions.

Rachael Laukart:

Oh yes.

Brett Davidson:

So if you're available, we'll do our biosecurity webinar next week and this will give you actually a lot more detail about what you can do to help you protect your own farm.

And then after that, we plan to have some breed specific ones and then hopefully you'll be able to ask questions about or we'll be a bit more on nutrition and husbandry as well.

And then we'll be able to pull in some, I'll call them experts from our wider team. So some of our vets that are in the beef, pig, cow, sheet, and-

Rachael Laukart:

You'll be on the camel board, is that right there Brett? You'll be going there?

Brett Davidson:

I'm not sure if we're doing camels in the first run.

Rachael Laukart:

You sure? Oh, okay.

Brett Davidson:

We'll put that one in-

Rachael Laukart:

We'll see if we get some feedback, perhaps.

Brett Davidson:

If we get 30 people, we'll do camels.

Rachael Laukart:

Oh, there we are everyone. You know people who've got camels. Very cool. No, I think when we've look at our webinar next week, today is really to get you thinking to introduce some of these key concepts around what biosecurity is, why it's important to you, where everyone kind of sits in this.

Next week is going to be awesome. We are going to really start to unpack it and contextualize it to so that you can contextualize really to your individual situations because we want for you to be able to go home or go maybe you're home at the moment, go back to your properties and have something that you can put into place. Have some really straightforward take home I guess messages or things to do.

Rachael Laukart:

We can do the PIC stuff. We can talk about how even bringing some of that quarantine aspect into your situation might be a key take home for you and how important it's.

Maybe that's one of those things that you've taken home tonight, but we'll definitely be going into that a lot more detail next week. So hopefully you'll be able to join us with that. They'll be lots of fun. Lots of fun. Is it question time now? Are we ready for questions?

Jemma Pearl:

Are you ready for questions?

Rachael Laukart:

Oh heck, always ready. This is the most exciting part. Bring it. Bring it on.

Jemma Pearl:

Perfect. Well we do have some questions but everybody please feel free to add more into the Q and A as we go and we'll get to pick the brains of Rachael and Brett. We've got some really quite good questions here about swill feeding.

So Brett, you might be the person to ask this question too. A really great one about what do I do or how do I need to keep my pets away from maybe the chuck food or the dog food? How do I keep the sheep away or the pigs away from that?

And also I guess mixed into that is how do we classify meat meals and fish meals for example, for pigs and milk products as well?

Brett Davidson:

Yeah. Yeah, I can see the question here from Fiona. So yes, pigs are omnivores and they can eat or they do numerous things, but a lot of this stuff came in from the BSA outbreak.

There's this strong risk of amplifying certain diseases by animals eating different meals. So unfortunately, I'm not a legislator and be able to give you the full reasons all behind of why things were introduced.

But there is a big restriction on those and if you just go to the school feeding website, there's actually a lot of information on there.

Jemma Pearl:

Perfect. And we have been able to find some stuff in the back end. There is a few people back here typing away busily, so we do have some stuff that we can send through in the chat as well.

So I think that's probably a topic we'll get into a bit more too, won't we with, the specie specific webinars. So that's great. This is a great question and I guess probably a lot of people have some of these issues.

What do you do if you're sharing yards with your neighbors or possibly sharing lane ways and those kind of things? How do you keep both of your properties clean?

Brett Davidson:

If you're sharing resources, which is great, hopefully you can have that conversation about keeping things clean as well. And obviously at the moment, there's mud everywhere, but that's not necessarily the only vector of how things are transmitted.

So it's just about putting some protocols in place. Just have non grazing areas or have areas that aren't grazed by certain animals. So we'll talk about that in the next webinar in a lot more detail about you've got zones where there's more high risk and zones where there's less risk.

Rachael Laukart:

Yep. I might have your biosecurity plan, Brett. Perhaps.

Brett Davidson:

It would be, yeah.

Rachael Laukart:

But it's a really great question because I know that quite a number of people would be in that situation, so it's definitely something to consider those shared resources.

But absolutely what Brett was saying, there might be some higher risk areas and when we start to look at mapping your individual situation, absolutely.

There's a couple of different options that you can look at doing and having that discussion and really communicating with your neighbor or whoever you are sharing the resource with and making sure that there is a plan in place to keep both your stock safe and their stock safe because it's in everyone's best interest that you do.

Jemma Pearl:

Perfect. Next question we've got, and Brett, I think you might definitely be the person to talk to about this, your great log book that you've got there for property movements and contractors and visitors. Is that a template that you got from somewhere or is that something you've created yourself?

Brett Davidson:

Well ours is one we created ourselves and it's just keeping basic contact detail of who's on your property and when. But yeah, like I said, there's plenty of resources that have got templates for that. People, if you like using Excel or your phone, that's all good, but if you just keep a record somewhere, it just needs to be fairly simple.

Rachael Laukart:

We might be able to show one next time too, Brett. That's a really good take home perhaps.

Brett Davidson:


Rachael Laukart:

We can put a bit of something together so next week when you join us next week, we can share that and give you a bit of an example.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, yeah. Yep. And there'll be one already on our website somewhere too, so certainly feel free to have look there.

Jemma Pearl:

Awesome. Sorry, I just lost my voice there for five seconds. Another question here for us, and I guess this is very topical and I think is a great one, is that there is feral animals out there in the system. What can we do I guess to keep our properties safe from anything that they might harbor? And I guess is there a reporting mechanism for if we see a wild animal that doesn't look great as well?

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, so obviously feral animals are a high risk when it comes to biosecurity. You can use exclusion fencing. Obviously in some areas, that's a challenge and there is other control methods that are needed at times and we do have some numbers that will be available on our website where you can get some more information on control methods. And we do have people where you can report numbers to as well.

Jemma Pearl:

Awesome. Is there, I guess someone who you'd instinctively go to if you thought you saw say a deer that didn't look great? Is that something you'd possibly report to a local authority of some sort or is that definitely to us?

Brett Davidson:

Actually, DELP would be the lead on feral animals at the moment. So yeah.

Jemma Pearl:

There you go.

Brett Davidson:

We actually haven't got it. We haven't got a linked to their website at the moment.

Jemma Pearl:

The Department of Environment Land Planning or Water And Planning, are they? Whichever works?

Brett Davidson:

Yep, yep. But there is some crossover. So even though there DELP is the lead agency, we do have the people that work with wild dogs actually sit within our team. So we do work together. So there'll be shared resources for you to find stuff.

Jemma Pearl:

Awesome. Yes, lots of crossover from the different organizations, that's for sure. We do have a little bit of space in the Q and A at the moment, so if anybody's got a burning question, now it would be your time to put it in there because we've come to the last.

Finish the last of the ones we've already got. I will go back to a couple that we've answered in the back end here as a team of couple of us busily typing away. A great question about what if you're buying animals and someone... Oh really am losing my voice. Sorry guys.

You're buying animals of someone who doesn't have an NVD, what can you do? Can you ask? Of course you're possibly going to ask for one. What can you get that person to do?

Brett Davidson:

Well personally, I wouldn't buy them because there's a fair risk there that there's no traceability with these animals. And it comes down to quality control and who you're buying off.

Sometimes if you're buying something, you really want after aftermarket service, so to speak, and you really want some type of quality control. So if there's no traceability on these animals, I'd be a bit concerned about what there is and just have a conversation with them.

That's sort of that conversation, I suppose, but you know you'd say, "Why don't you have a PIC?" Well, in a polite way. If they haven't got one, just say, "Look I'm interested, but if you did have a property identification code and did have an NILS, I would buy them."

But yeah, certainly you're not supposed to be buying them and transferring without a PIC.

Jemma Pearl:

And there's some great easy links and templates for those things as well out there. So I guess if someone's hesitant, you can always also send them the template and show them how easy it is to create and do as well. That's always helpful for not only you, but the next person who might be buying something as well.

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, maybe even got QR codes now. How flash are we?

Rachael Laukart:

I know it can be quite daunting, particularly if this is the first time that you've been or people are looking to enter into this space and this traceability aspect of so many different things to consider.

We've got the PIC. We've got the NILS. You've got the national vendor declarations. We've talked about having that and the health declarations as well.

It can feel to be quite overwhelming, but when you do have those things in place and we've got them and we encourage for you to have them in place for a very, very good reason.

And if you've been able to work through having that in place for yourself, then absolutely you can encourage whoever you're looking to purchase stock off to have those things in place too, because it's only going to improve things for everyone. It's really of high value for everyone.

Jemma Pearl:

Oh perfect. That's great. We did also have a question about the next webinar, so I have made sure that's the link for the registration for that is in the chat. It's also in the Q and A, but I guess another question for the people attending is what questions do you possibly want answered in the next webinar?

Is there something specifically that you want to know about how are you going to implement that on farm? Either type that in the question and answer function right now and we'll make sure we get to that next week or there is the different ways of contacting us through the emails, which are all in the registration for next week.

Jemma Pearl:

While I give everyone a few more minutes to get their questions in, I am going to just launch one more poll and I really greatly appreciate if you could answer this poll for us. Again, it's going to help us prepare for next week to understand how we can do things better and also ensure that we get to do these more often, hopefully, if they're of value to people. So if you could please quickly do that one.

Jemma Pearl:

We'll wait a few more minutes to see if there's any more questions that come through, but we do really greatly appreciate your time. And we know that it can be hard to get to some of these things. So thank you for all for joining. Rachael and Brett, is there anything else you would like to say before we let everybody get off either to have some dinner or to get doing whatever they want to?

Rachael Laukart:

Well hopefully people have been to have some takeaways from today. I know it has really just been the start of the conversation. That's what we've viewed it as.

We are really looking forward to talking to you again next week. It's going to be very practical next week. Brett, we've been doing a fair bit of planning, so absolutely would love to hear some feedback on some specifics if there's something that you would like for us to talk through specifically.

But we've got great things planned. It's going to be quite practical and you'll take home some specifics that you can directly use onto your property. So we look forward to seeing you then. What do you think, Brett?

Brett Davidson:

Yeah, and biosecurity is a shared responsibility and if we all do a little bit and if people have got PIC numbers and NILS and some records, we can actually get onto things quickly if they're reported early. And we can have small incursions instead of big incursions of different things. And if we all work together, we can produce some really good food for the world.

Jemma Pearl:

Awesome. I do have a great suggestion, which might be something that Rachael might be able to put together given her teaching knowledge and her ability to clearly teach quite well, a class on fecal and blood diagnosis under a microscope. That would be kind of cool. I'm sure right up your alley, Rach.

Rachael Laukart:

Cool. Yeah, well people are really taken on board how much I like looking at manure. That does sound really interesting and if people really enjoyed my different manure scoring capabilities, then we can bring that in for next time too. Very, very good feedback. We'll take that on board and see where we can go with it.

Jemma Pearl:

Actually, that was a thought I had when you were talking about of course all the different manures. Is there a good resource for people with images about what looks normal and what doesn't? Is there something out there?

Rachael Laukart:

I would love to share that with you next week because I do, and this is not just a plug for everyone to come back and see us again. But I'm very happy to bring that into next week's discussion and share that then. Absolutely.

Jemma Pearl:

Perfect. Well I knew there'd be somebody with the resource I was after, so that's right. I'm glad there is. That's very good. Well I think on that note, we might say goodnight to everyone and thank you again for attending this webinar. Sorry, if I could speak properly.

Rachael Laukart:

Thanks everyone. It's been an absolute pleasure.

Brett Davidson:

Thank you.

Jemma Pearl:

See everybody.

Foot-and-mouth disease awareness webinar recording

Agriculture Victoria delivered two webinars on foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and lumpy skin disease (LSD) awareness on Monday 1 and Thursday 4 August 2022. The webinar raises FMD and LSD awareness through presentation and discussion with Victoria’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Graeme Cooke and Victoria’s Senior Veterinary Officer, Dr Jeff Cave.

Passcode: FMD.LSD22!

Watch the recording
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Good evening, everybody and welcome to tonight's webinar focused on foot-and-mouth disease, preparedness, and farm biosecurity. We're really pleased to be here and have a great attendance again. for this webinar, my name is Leanne Roswell I'm, Director of Agriculture Services with Agriculture Victoria and I'm your host this evening.

I'd like to start by acknowledging the traditional owners of the lands on which we're all meeting and pay my respects, to elders past, present, and emerging.

As I said earlier, really terrific to see so many people joining online, and I know some people will still be coming in. So while people are coming in, I'm going to touch on a few housekeeping items. You would have noted that we're recording this evenings webinar so we will intend to post it next week online. Just want to make you aware of that.

We also have a panel of experts online who will be responding to questions throughout the evening and we may not get to them all, but we'll certainly respond to as many as possible.

If you'd like to just follow the questions, thread, or post a question yourself, you can see displayed on the screen there circled in blue. If you click on the Q&A function and you're really welcome to do that right now, you'll be able to follow or post a question throughout the evening.

There is a function there to post questions anonymously, if you'd prefer so really important to click on that Q&A button if you'd like to follow questions  if you'd like to customise your view so you can choose where you see the presenters and the slides, and you can see in the top right hand corner of your view there there's capacity on zoom to do that.

So a few tips about navigating your setup if you happen to be disconnected this evening at some point or close out, don't be concerned. You will be able to come back into the webinar at any time using the link that you got with your registration

Really important tonight if we're using acronyms that don't make sense to you, please just drop us a Q and A in the session and we'll answer that and clarify the jargon. At the end of the session tonight, I'll have a look at the questions that have been answered throughout the chat and pick out some key themes to put to our presenters. So now we will just talk to what our speakers this evening,

So joining us this evening we've got Doctor Graeme Cooke, who's our Chief Veterinary Officer and Graeme's going to talk to us about what is foot-and-mouth disease, the preparations that Agriculture Victoria has been putting in place, and what can you expect on that first day of a livestock standstill.

So a bit of a sense of what that might look like. And then we've got Doctor Jeff Cave who's one of our senior veterinary officers based out in regional Victoria and he'll be sharing some practical insights to on farm biosecurity.

As I said at the end, I'll summarise some of the questions that are in the chat and ask our panellists to answer them for us. And we'll also ask you to undertake a a poll. So before we start the speakers, we'd like to invite you to participate in a poll.

We're really interested to understand how this session improves your knowledge of foot- and-mouth disease and Biosecurity preparedness so you can see the poll on the screen in front of you right there you could just take a moment to respond and then at the end of the session we'll ask you to respond to that again, and also give us a satisfaction rating for this evening session.

So if you can just jump in, just click on a selection there and that'll be fantastic. All right, without any further ado, we're really keen to make use of the time we've got this evening, and I would like to now welcome Doctor Graeme Cooke, our Chief Veterinary Officer, to provide an overview of foot-and-mouth and lumpy skin disease in Victoria's preparedness over to you, Graeme.

Thank you, Leanne.

Firstly, you can hear me, can you? Yes yes, OK.

Thank you very much and thank you to everyone who's put this together, but particularly for you for making yourselves available tonight the first and most important thing I'd like to say is we do not have foot-and-mouth disease in Australia and I'd like to also talk about another disease which is of great concern to people at the moment.

Lumpy skin disease. We do not have lumpy skin disease either, but we are sufficiently concerned about both diseases to really raise people's awareness and also raise people's understanding of the consequences.

Why they're so serious and also what it is that people can do who have livestock at this time. And I repeat, we do not have disease, but it's good to start thinking about the things we can do to reduce their effects should they ever land in Australia. So if I can have the first slide please the biosecurity system.

This is really, truly part of our global system and the way disease enters into a country is of course you know, with people on vessels such as merchant vessels and so on that visit countries. Imports, it might surprise many of you to learn that during COVID imports of freight containers increased into Australia by over 30%.

That's a very large number of extra containers to check. In the mail, a lot of effort being put into that and I'll come to that in a moment, by air.

But also there's unknown variables which are related to climate change, so we know that Japanese Encephalitis probably came into Australia, either in its natural host of wildlife, birds migrating because of unusual climatic conditions, and then was really allowed to establish itself through the climatic conditions we experienced this year. Of flooding in NSW particularly which encouraged mosquitoes and honoured transmission of the disease, and we have a system to really try and deal with that.

First of all, we really try and reduce disease levels that are a threat to here in Australia by helping countries that have the diseases. There's an international system to try and raise standards.

Australia has, let's call it health diplomacy, whereby it helps countries improve their capacity and their capability. But of course we work with them to reduce the risk to us in terms of what might be exported to us.

And we have a system of, uh, risk assessment inspections and I think you all know about quarantine as well. If we think there's a risk then pets or horses are often put into to quarantine, but then when we come to us here in Victoria it's very much about, uh, first of all, monitoring and understanding when disease has arrived amongst us and then being prepared for that. And I'll talk about preparedness as a continuum.

It starts with understanding what you're looking for and raising the alarm quickly. And of course, it moves through various stages, including trying to eradicate it and get rid of it. And that's called the emergency response.

And of course, across that, there's everyone's role. As someone who has involvement with animals, the same also applies to plants.

Really understanding what doesn't look right, understanding what are the legal requirements and that all goes to assuring our trading partners who we export to that we have a clean and a green system and a system that they can trust and import from.

If I could have the next slide.

So this system is going through never before seen an increase in challenges and threats.

First of all, the logistical chains associated with products coming into Australia are ever more complicated. The level of travellers and trade a set of increased in terms of trade during COVID and the level of travellers are increasing very rapidly again, and we're only one plane change away from some areas of the world that that do have a lot of diseases that we don't want.

These logistical chains are complicated in the way that if you import a product from one country doesn't necessarily mean that product has originated from there, or that the constituents originated from there.

And I said we have variability and we also have to our North a lot of political instability. Governments who are not just functioning properly and we also have a lot of pressures due to inflation, cost of living, which of course increases illegal. movements of foodstuffs, so Victoria should be rightly very proud of the fact that it is the largest producer of agricultural goods in Australia. We are 7% ahead of Queensland and Victoria's share of Australia's export market is the largest. We're nearly 10% ahead of the nearest and that's growing. It's growing year on year.

But we have really in front of us an increasing likelihood of new diseases arriving in Australia and unfortunately those diseases, foot-and-mouth disease, and lumpy skin disease, they are two very, very high consequence diseases because they stop our export markets.

They would stop them almost immediately and that means they have severity, they have economic consequences. And they're not only the cause of economic consequences, they're also very difficult to get rid of.

So the first and foremost thing is we don't want them to get into the country. Next slide, please. But if they were to get into Victoria, uh, we have an ideal environment in Victoria for them to really establish and spread.

First of all, we have a dense livestock population. I'll remind you we are the biggest producer in Australia, but we do it on 3% of the land volume. We have a wide variety of livestock, cattle, sheep, pigs, foot-and-mouth loves that set of conditions. We have farms that are close together and that means there's movement of trucks

and people from one farm to another in a way that's not seen in some other states. Diseases love the climate that we have here. The mixture of wet and cold and hot and we have a high level of movement into Victoria of Animals for processing. Because we have not only the processes we have, the ports and the airports and we also have an enormous dependence on that export market.

So I talked about how big we are in terms of Australian export percentage. But if you just reduce it to something very, very simple. 70% of what you see in the fields is exported, and that's a very large measure of success, certainly, but it's also a very large vulnerability if you're facing the possibility of disease, that might stop that overnight immediately. Next slide, please. So what are these diseases that are show stoppers?

Next slide.

Let's start with foot and mouth disease, so foot-and mouth-disease is feared because it is very, very contagious. It is the most contagious of all the livestock diseases.

And that's why countries don't want it. It actually doesn't cause very many deaths at all, and it does require a lot of animals to be destroyed in order to get to get rid of it. But it didn't cause very many deaths. But it does have a high level infectivity and that affects the production of animals, and it affects particularly the desire of countries to trade with you if they have.

If they don't have that disease because they really don't want to risk having it, they don't want to have to put up with trying to get rid of it. So in some animals, cattle and pigs it's relatively easy to spot and them, the trick is in the name. Blisters on the mouth, blisters on the feet and also a lameness that's associated with that and a fever and a depression in sheep.

It's much more complicated, tends to cause lameness, tends to cause some erosions in the mouth, but can be quite easily missed at next slide, please. Lumpy skin disease is a bit like foot-and-mouth disease that's in the name.

It causes very painful lumps on the skin, can cause an increase in production, particularly milk production associated with a fever, and it affects reproduction. Also causes death in in younger animals and is associated with the pneumonia. It makes the hides unusable and they're very, very painful, so it's got a high welfare cost.

As well for the animal, but I have to emphasize that both of these diseases they do not affect humans. Meat is perfectly safe to eat, but they do affect our economy. Next slide. So what is the risk? So we talk about how fearful they are, but what is the risk that is making us so worried here in Australia just now? Next slide.

Well, there are a range of diseases in Asia at the moment which have caused outbreaks in many, many other countries, but really mean that because they are to our north in in countries which will have difficulty dealing with them.

We're now looking at a an approximate risk in the next five years of foot and mouth of about 12% lumpy skin disease, 28% another disease is not really the subject of this talk, but put them together that includes Africans.

One favor, put them together. It's really a an approximate percentage of difficult to control high consequence diseases with a difficulty in in preventing.

Of about 50% in the next five years, so that is why we're really raising biosecurity awareness and why we're also taking sensible measures to be prepared. We're always prepared in Victoria, but we're really looking at our plans even harder and scaling them up as required.

Next slide, please.

So if we had foot and mouth disease in Australia, the modelers would say, uh, the people who use computers to look at how disease would spread and its consequences would say that it would cost Australia about $80 billion and maybe take 10 years to return to normality. So this is a disease that has

been spreading through Asia. It's already affected, very developed countries like Japan, and like Korea made its way down into Indonesia. It's 923 provinces. In Indonesia, and has affected nearly half a million animals.

We had this disease in Australia in 1872 and we only had here in Victoria in fact, and we had two farms affected. So why are we worried about it in terms of spread? Well, imagine it's 1872.

The way you moved about was on your feet or on your horse or in your cart. The way you move sheep about was walking them on the roads from A to B with drovers a very different world, let's look at today. Next slide, please.

So developed countries have had very significant outbreaks of foot-and-mouth. The UK had one of the largest in 2001 where over 2000 farms were infected and over 10,000 farms had to be depopulated of livestock in order to control the disease cost about 16 billion

And of course it is it stopped meat exports for almost a year. Uh, but I know because I worked there at the time that the international trade was about 10% of national production. Australia is a remind you of 70% next slide please.

So we have some advantages. In Victoria we had the foresight to develop a system of electronic identification tracing in sheep as well as in cattle.

And if we have the next slide, please, that's a huge advantage in understanding the movements of livestock.

But here we have a slide that shows a week. In December 2021. Uh, and it represents over 200,000 sheep movements alone. To processors between farms and from saleyards as well, so you can well imagine that that's a hugely successful system, but it's also a very vulnerable system in terms of spreading disease, particularly if it's very, very infectious like foot-and-mouth disease.

Next slide, please.

Lumpy skin disease is a worry to us because that spreads on mosquitoes and on flies. It left Africa in 2005, and in the last 15 odd years it's spread across the Middle East, moved into eastern parts of Europe, it's gone right across middle Asia, and there's now arrived in Southeast Asia.

Because it spreads and flies, it can be picked up over long distances in the wind and then deposited to reinfect, vulnerable animals. So the fact it's arrived in Indonesia is highly significant. Is not as well known as foot-and-mouth disease, but it does stop trade in the same way. Next slide please.

So what are we doing? Some questions are often asked in terms of what are we doing, but also what are each of the parties doing commonwealth, state and what should farmers and people keeping livestock been doing next slide.

So this slide could really be three slides with lots of detail, but the Commonwealth government is working very, very closely with Indonesia providing vaccines both for lumpy skin disease and for foot-and-mouth disease. Uh, financial support, expertise. Also has helped them in terms of strategies and the concepts that are needed to defeat these diseases.

But that's at the Indonesian level, and this activity has been going all around the world with many other countries India and Nepal and in order to decrease their risk to other countries of foot-and-mouth disease.

But at the border, things have really ramped up, so there's always been foot-and-mouth at the heart of Australia's biosecurity system. But now it's increased many, many fold so profiling of passengers coming particularly from Indonesia. Announcement on aircraft. Smart gets at air at the airports, whereby you cannot actually move through immigration unless you answer a question about your connection with livestock.

When you're away on holiday that channels you to be interviewed by a spy security officer by security officers increasing in number and a very effective tool sniffer dogs, detection dogs also increased in terms of numbers and a lot going on behind the scene as well in terms of inspections and things that you don't really see. International mail now has 100% inspection from Indonesia and from Asia and a lot going on in terms of that freight traffic that I referred to before.

I would remind people who are coming back from foot-and- mouth infected countries that if you do not make a declaration and subsequently find that you haven't done it, it's a fine of at least $2000 and it can go right up to having your visa rescinded as well.

So within Australia. As a state, we've been working very closely with other States and the Commonwealth as part of task forces. Looking at these diseases. Updating our already existing plans doing joint communications.

This webinar is part of that effort of raising awareness and of course there's always been activities in terms of new laboratory tests, planning how we would use the vaccine if we needed to do it. Exercises and surveillance that's been ramped. Very much up next slide. An example of the type of communications we're doing is using social media. We learned through avian influenza in 2020 that social media really learned that messages in people's pockets and the type of message we want people to have is.

If you have livestock, have a biosecurity plan. If you have livestock, you must have them entered on the traceability system, which starts with having a pick. If you have visitors and trucks and other people visiting your farm. Keep a movement record that's very good in terms of understanding where these diseases may have come from and where disease may have gone to if you have it. Follow hygiene practices.

And, uh, Jeff will talk about that in greater depth later on. And of course, vitally, if you think you have something that's not right, talk to your vet or consult the agriculture Victoria website, which gives you an idea of the type of symptoms of these diseases, and call the emergency animal disease hotline 1800 675 888. If I could have the next slide please, that would be excellent.

So here you have a view of the updated. Agriculture Victoria website which focuses a lot on these diseases and also we have a current outbreak in bees by the way if you are interested in that or varrroa mites, which is very, very serious and some of you will have used this website to register for tonight.

If I could have the next slide please.

So commonly asked question is what would happen? Well, you cannot be prepared unless you know what you're preparing for and therefore raising awareness about what the diseases look like.

We've talked about that, but of course then we have to back up that suspicion or the investigation of these suspicions and very expert animal health officers and veterinarians who work out of offices spread across the state we also have, uh, a public awareness campaign which is not just about biosecurity, but it's also aimed at individual stakeholders or veterinarians, working with industry-leading bodies and so on like that so that they can represent their leadership role better.

And, of course, then if we have a detection, well, we have first of all, the very sad news that we have to tell the rest of the world that Australia has these diseases and out of that will come a stoppage of trade.

And then a response will start and the response will start immediately. We have the positive results that will really be quarantine around infected premises. Movement controls around a much bigger area, usually about 3 kilometres.

Doing tracing you will all know that disease tracing and COVID was very important, so it's a very similar approach. Sharing information with other states. If we find that something is moved from us. To them, or from them to us. The borders would expect to be closed for foot and mouth and we would also expect what's called a 72 hour standstill of livestock and that is what happens.

When you know you've got disease in the country but you don't know how far it's spread, but you don't want it to spread any further, so that means all livestock would stop having. Leaving their destination, and if they're on their way somewhere they would arrive at their destination, and if they're in a sale yard, they would be expected to wait there for 72 hours.

There are contingency plans for that, and if they're in a processor they would go through it through to slaughter next slide, please. So I talked about, you know, what would happen on that day one. So the visible, very visible statewide requirement would be a 72 hour standstill.

But we would also issue a range of warnings through texts, through the radio, through the media about how the Victorian border was closing to livestock. And we would also be part of increasing our tracing capability.

Our call center capability and so on like that. Now the very unfortunate thing about foot-and-mouth disease and to some extent lumpy skin disease is if we do not have the disease in Vic. And it's finding another state. We won't know it's here or not for some time, so we have to take all these measures.

Until it is proven over quite a long time that we don't have disease in Victoria. I repeat if we have disease, found somewhere in Australia we won't know for quite a few days as to how far it has spread. So then there's a lot of ramping up in terms of staff and it's a whole of government response.

In order to be able to do that. And of course, we're fitting in with national arrangements, national policy, and a national consensus on how to deal with this, which is already established, but there are.

Because of the shutting down effectively of the livestock trade. And there are lots of consequences that flow out of that. It's very stressful thing not having income coming in and that has welfare issues. And not only for animals, because in the case of pigs, it's very hard to keep animals on a farm for a very, very long time,

but also human welfare as well. And I repeat, this is not a human disease, but it does have many human consequences. So the effort is then made to eradicate the disease and then another effort to get back those markets that have been lost because the two don't immediately follow each other. Next slide, please.

So we've already had an experience of a major emergency animal disease in Victoria. Avian influenza happened in 2020 that required control areas and restricted zones. It required the destruction of nearly half a million chickens in order to be able to control it, and that we did.

And of course, tracing decontamination of premises and then the really important job of proving that we are free of the disease so that trading partners open up their doors to us again and next slide please.

What would happen in a standstill? I think I've said that already, but it is something that would be universal and have to be applied because for quite a few days we don't want the disease to spread further and we want the disease where it has seeded itself to appear, and at least let us deal with it.

Next slide, please.

But part of that would be obviously if some animal movements were needed and they'd be done on a permit system and a licensing system according to some conditions. Another question we commonly get is if there's a foot and mouth vaccine. Can we vaccinate? No. The answer is no.

Uh, first of all, we don't know what strain we'll be vaccinating for. And secondly, we. Would not be able to trade if we've vaccinated now, because countries really like to trade and import livestock products from countries that are free of foot and mouth without vaccination. It's a much simpler thing for them because they know that vaccine can sometimes allow disease to spread very silently or in a subdued form.

And there's over 7 different types of mouth vaccine, and so we might get it wrong. Next slide please. Another question is, you know, are there restrictions, let's say I'm in a restricted area that needs a licensing of the movement on or off to a farm of goods and animals. So does that mean I'm not allowed to feed my animals?

But the answer is yes, of course you are, but they'd have to have a license associated with the truck that's bringing them on and that truck would have to wash itself down and disinfect itself.

Before it moves on to any other farm or returns to base next slide, please and we're coming towards the end. Because I want to introduce Jeff now. As I said, there are two things that can be done at this point.

One is stopping disease coming in on the border and the other is making sure that disease, if it does get into Australia, that it doesn't establish. And that's where farm biosecurity is so critical. Thank you Jeff.

Jeff, just as your starting. I just might remind people that lots of questions going on in the chat and answers popping up if people wanted to follow those questions just down at the bottom of your screen there in the centre and you'll see a little red counter on the Q& A button reflecting questions. Just click on that to follow the questions or to post one. Thanks, Jeff.

OK, well, thank you very much Leanne and Graham and most of all everybody for. Attending this evening once again, we've got a very good number of attendants and so I hope that you're all getting plenty out of this session. And So what Graeme has spoken about up until now is ways in which Australia's been protected and also if the disease were to come into the country, how organizations like Agriculture Victoria would be working towards preventing it.

but what I thought I would talk about was, ways in which you can prevent the introduction of diseases as well as pests and weeds onto and within your own properties, both in respect to a potential exotic disease. But I think that by having good biosecurity practices it stands you in good stead to prevent the introduction of endemic diseases as well.

So I guess in in an ideal world every producer would have that that gold standard type biosecurity plan that probably comes with an intensive industry like an intensive piggery or an intensive poultry farm. But obviously for most people, well, that's one not feasible and also not practical and certainly not sustainable.

So I think it's important that whatever biosecurity plan you put together its one that sort of needs to be tailor made for your own property, but also it needs to have those three elements of being practical, feasible and sustainable for the longer term.

And I think that there's probably a little bit of confusion out there because there are quite a number of biosecurity plan templates that are available, but in some ways that's also not a bad thing, because it gives you a bit of choice as to which type of template or what type of plan suits you the best, and so if we look at some of the alternatives down in the bottom right hand corner, there's one that's probably quite familiar to a lot of you.

It's the LPA biosecurity plan template, which is a relatively simple template, I think it just consists of four or so pages, and it's a reasonably easy one to put together then if you go up to the.

Top right hand Corner there's the cover page of an Animal Health Australia template, which is quite a bit more complex. Yeah, but it does lend an opportunity to probably tailor make the biosecurity plan for your property and to put some more working detail into it.

And then another potential alternative is to put a biosecurity plan together in association with your private veterinarian and the one that's up in the top right left hand corner.

There is one that's called biotech, which cattle veterinarians are able to access and also put together

in conjunction with yourselves. And I guess if I was to think of the preference, I would probably think that that's the best way to go. But obviously everybody's got their own individual way of wanting to do it, and so I don't think that I could say that there's a right way of putting a biosecurity plan together.

I think it's just important that it's that it's done, and it's something that works for your property. So there are within that bio security plan. There are a number of potential risks for introduction of disease that are worth considering. I won't talk about them a lot on this slide, although I have put this slide up just to sort of start.

You're thinking about various ways in which disease could be introduced, but I will talk about them as I go on and some of the ways that the risks associated with some of these introductions can be mitigated.

But before I do that, I thought that it's worth when you're putting together your biosecurity plan, just to think about a couple of things, and one of those, and often I'll hear comments from people who will say, well, we can't do anything to control the feral deer or the Kangaroos or things like that.

So what good is a biosecurity plan? Other people might say well, what sort of things should we be including in our biosecurity plan. And so if we think of those couple of comments, well, not wanting to sort of downplay their importance, but there are some things, some biosecurity risks which in some ways are out of your control.

These are the ones that are out on the on the right hand side here. There are also some things that. That are probably not all that important from a biosecurity point of view. They things that you can control, but they probably things that you don't really need to consider in your biosecurity plan.

And then in the middle is this sweet spot and this this area are the things that you have got control over and they're also potential biosecurity risks to your property and I think that that's that's where you need to put most effort in your biosecurity plan addressing those risks.

Another thing that's worth remembering is that not all risks are the same, and so there are some risks which have a reasonable likelihood of happening, and if they did happen, they would have a fairly severe consequence, and as a result they would be seen as having a either a higher or an extreme risk, and it's those type of risks are the ones that probably need the most concentration in a biosecurity plan.

As opposed to those ones where they are probably fairly unlikely to happen, and even if they did happen, it wouldn't have a great impact. So those type of risks could be included in your biosecurity plan, but they don't need quite the attention that these higher or extreme risks have got.

So and it is a little bit of a generalization, but I think it would be fair to say that most diseases in animals are introduced through the introduction of an infected live animal. So that's either the introduction of an animal from some distance away or possibly from a from a neighboring property.

And when you're here and so now I'll what I'll do is. I'll talk about some of the steps of biosecurity steps, one to four, and I think it's important that I sort of point out that none of these steps on their own are going to completely eliminate the risk of disease being introduced.

But if you put all of the steps together with each of those steps and you're slightly mitigating the risk and hopefully. By following a number of steps you get to the point where the risk has been mitigated to a point where it's it's become an acceptable level. And the first form of risk mitigation is to try and avoid buying in disease from the beginning and possible ways that you can do that are having a good knowledge of the source of the livestock that you're buying in.

Yeah knowing where those livestock are and the likely health status of them and also requesting a sheep or cattle health declaration when you buy stock in. And obviously a sheep would health declaration form isn't going to guarantee you disease free stock, but it is one form of risk mitigation.

But let's talk, let's think of a of a couple more. So once we've gone past that Step One, Step 2 and it's even though the animals have arrived on your property, it's still not too late to prevent the disease from getting in and affecting the rest of your herd or your flock and so when the animals come in, it's important to examine them for their health.

Do those type of things that you do on introduction, so give them an effective drench. For sheep and look at giving them a footpath. A lice treatment, vaccinate them and then keep them in that isolation for at least 14 days so that you've got an opportunity that if there is a health problem there that you that you can pick up on that before you move.

Those animals in and mix them with the rest of your herd or your flock. And there are a few diseases like Foot Rot where you would probably want to keep them isolated from the rest of your flock for even longer than that to give those diseases a chance to express themselves.

It's also worth remembering that it's not just animals that are coming in from other owners, but also animals that you own yourself that are returning to your property.

Say the ones that are coming back from agistment because there's still a possibility that those animals may be bringing in disease because of animals that they've neighboured or else they might be bringing in weeds, pests, that type of thing from that property. So use a similar form of biosecurity for those as well.

And then, uh, the third step is to think of of your own that they own your own boundary of your property virtually as being another border. So we have our country border which is held us in good stead in keeping a lot of the diseases that are exotic to the country out, but also think of your own border as your own property border as being a way of keeping disease out.

And so if you've got the capability, and obviously this is going to vary from property to property, but if you've got the fortune of having things like double fence lines or if you've got the opportunity to put animals in a paddock with a space between neighbours.

If you've got good boundary fences which don't allow the straying of livestock, all of those things are going to help your own property border. Also, it's worth considering how you share resources,so whether or even whether you share resources so things like yards, livestock, transport equipment, etc with other livestock owners. and certainly if you're looking at.

Having visitors to your property, uh, considering the their biosecurity if they go into areas where your animals are. And then finally, and I think that this is very much a please from us, and probably every livestock owner in Australia is that for those people who own pigs please don't feed them prohibited pig feed, which is another word for swill or meat, because we've always seen that as being the most likely way that foot-and- mouth disease would come into Australia.

African swine fever for that matter. So swill feeding has always been a dangerous practice and it's certainly one that we ask doesn't happen. And then yeah, if then knowing who your visitors are and Graeme mentioned before recording visitors movements considering where they've been before, and certainly if they've been in a country that has foot-and-mouth disease.

And the recommendation of them not visiting your property for seven days is one and I guess there are ways of considering their footwear and their clothing and your own footwear and clothing for that matter, so there are a number of ways of doing that now.

We'll talk about decontamination disinfection in a moment, but one thing to consider is that to have a separate set of clothing and footwear for when you're working with your own stock as the clothing and footwear that you wear, say when you go to the saleyards or something like that.

So I guess a way around it is to have a standalone set of footwear and clothing that you use on the property and nowhere else in one alternative. I spoke a little bit more a little bit before about the importance of clean equipment coming onto your property. So a question that we get asked quite a lot is things like, well, should I get a foot bath?

And so we'll talk a little bit now about decontamination. And I think the first thing that's important to point out is that whatever form of disinfection or decontamination you use, you pretty much need a cleaning surface to begin with for it to be effective even if you use something that's really strong that would kill any pathogen like vericon or bleach, which are both quite corrosive, but they've certainly effective against any pathogen, even their effectiveness is not necessarily going to be 100% if it's having to work its way through mud and faeces.

The next thing to think about is depending on the pathogen and there is a an AUSVET, plan, a decontamination manual which has got a lot of information in it, probably in some ways it can be a little bit difficult to follow because each pathogen comes with its own set of disinfection instructions.

But if I was to just think about foot-and-mouth disease, the virus and to think about an effective chemical  decontamination against foot-and-mouth disease up on the screen there I've got a couple of a photo of a of a Detergent and that can be used as a very good cleansing agent and I've got a photo of a container of citric acid which creates an acidic environment, which is all that you need to kill the foot-and-mouth disease virus and so it doesn't necessarily have to be all that complicated.

You could buy those two products at Woolworths or Coles for about $10 and you would have a very effective decontamination agent against foot-and-mouth disease.

A couple of other things up in that photo up there, up in the top there is something that I think that if you're going from property to property are very handy little tool to get the majority of the mud off your boots and out of the treads of your boots is a hoof pick with a little brush on it so, so simple tools like that are a good way of doing things like boot cleaning.

Umm, so yeah, as I say, it doesn't have to be all that complicated. OK Leanne. Well anyway I think that that comes to the end of my presentation and I notice that it's we've still got 10 minutes before 8:00 o'clock, so I think we've probably got a little bit of time for questions, questions, and answers before then.

Thanks terrific and thanks very much for that presentation. Jeff and Graeme, I might invite you to turn your camera on again now, so we've been monitoring the questions that you've been placing in the chat and the team have been responding to us as many of them as.

They can, and a couple of themes running through the chat Graeme, I think a couple for you to begin with around how does FMD spread? How can, how long can it live? Live off an animal? And then also, how long does it take to identify the right vaccine to address the the particular FMD virus, Graeme?

Thanks, Umm, I said that that was very feared because it it spreads so easily and it was very, very contagious. It was spread on footwear, it will spread on your clothes. It will spread on meat products which are not treated and cooked to a high degree. It will also spread on the wind.

Animal that is dead will be very infectious for foot-and-mouth disease for several days afterwards, and there have been incidences of disease. The outbreak in the UK in the 60s came from France that blew over in the wind from France. And so that's why it's so feared because it spreads by so many different means, and that's why the restrictions that are put in place are really so strict in order to not let it outrun you.

That’s also why the control is very tough as well in terms of what we call stamping out, which is having to destroy the animals to stop them being infectious, so that all comes back to yes, it spreads very easily and is very infectious in terms of how long it can last in the environment.

That really depends on the environment, depends on the temperature. It depends on the climate, so assume always assume up to a few weeks and that is also why premises are cleaned and disinfected and a large part of that is getting rid of the mud and the dirt and so on like that associated with animals not obviously associated with all the farm and all the premise and that follows international standards and international protocols, in order to do that.

If you don't do that, in particularly as in sheep, the disease spreads very easily, then trading partners are not very obviously. I said trading partners tend to be very suspicious if you don't do all these things, takes much longer to get back to normality. Thank you Graeme.

The other thing that's running through the chat, Jeff. I think one will put to you is just around you mentioned the use of citric acid as an effective disinfectant. Can you just talk about the contact time?

And actually, sorry I didn't quite, I didn't mention that, so there's a couple of things about citric acid.

One is it's concentration and that the current recommendation is that citric acid is at a strength of 3%. So what does that work out to? 30 grams per litre of citric acid, so that's one important thing. The other important thing, and so I mentioned before the importance of having a clean surface and so using scrubbing and detergent before.

Well, I guess the right answer is 15 minutes. I guess there's always the concern over the practicality of that right answer. Have you got any comments on that at all? Graeme, because it's yeah. That can, I always feel that the idea of having to soak something in citric acid for 15 minutes it would possibly be a reason not to use it.

Jeff, I think you said the most important point earlier on is that you make sure it's clean before it goes into the disinfectant, then it will be effective. Yeah. Yeah.

And that's always been my take on it as well, I know in the UK and cause citric acid actually during the 2001 outbreak was used all through the UK and it was used as a yeah, that was washed down and then the use of citric acid and it was, it was the disinfectant that was used throughout that campaign and they certainly were able to successfully eradicate foot-and-mouth disease from the country after it had had a very good head start on them. So it was effective there.

Thanks very much Jeff Graham. A couple for you. There's a strong theme running through the chat, wanting to clarify to what extent border closures, if they were in place, would affect human movements as well as livestock movements. That's one part of it.

The second part is a is a hypothetical type question, so I'll just read the hypothetical. If my neighbour has infected stock, does that automatically mean my stock will be culled? If we are in within the three kilometre radius, or will there be an opportunity to isolate stock and have them tested? So two questions about what would the border closure really mean and then the other one around?

Yeah, how the radius would be treated for infected stock? OK, so I think everyone's familiar with the COVID border closures, which we're really about people. This is about livestock, so it would be closed to cattle, sheep, pigs, things like that. What are called susceptible species. Naturally not close to the family.

Bringing children to school and crossing on the crossing the border. In terms of the neighbour. Of an infected farm. That's a very important question, because first of all, it brings into play what Jeff was talking about. Farm biosecurity, not mixing animals. Things like that. So it all has to be done on an individual assessment.

So if your animals are very clearly mixed or in nose to nose and so on, that's a much higher risk. And in very large outbreaks, uh, sometimes to stop the spread of the disease.

You do have to take neighboring farms to just to really get ahead of the virus. But of course, if you've got good buyer security and you've got separated fencing and things like that lowers your risk. So the intention is certainly not to have a policy that does that. Takes neighboring farms.

Just because one farm is infected, but sometimes you have to do that in order to get ahead of the disease and stop it becoming infectious and then moving on to another farm and then moving on to another farm. So very good question that comes back to bio security and early reporting. Thanks very much, Graeme, and look last one just before we close.

There's a lot of interest Graeme in around the risks associated with feral animals and potential spread of FMD. Would you have any comments about what some of the thinking about managing that risk? At the moment.

So to repeat, we do not have foot-and-mouth disease and we do not have lumpy skin disease in Australia and if we did have it detected in Australia, then one of the reasons why we want to control it so energetically is to stop it getting into wildlife. That could carry the disease you're talking about.

Feral pigs that type of thing, wild goats, and so on. And because if you do get the disease into them it's so much harder to get rid of it in the country much harder, and would, I suppose, really change the way we manage livestock in this country as well. So we come back to keep it out. If you know someone who's been in a foot-and-mouth country, don't let them visit your premises where you have livestock for up to seven days and make sure their footwear is clean beforehand.

Thank you very much, Graeme and thanks Jeff for answering those questions. Look, we've answered as many questions in the poll as we can this evening. We're sorry if we weren't able to get to yours on our website at agriculture you will find a frequently asked questions page encourage you to go and take a look at that resource.

I hope you found tonight's presentation informative. We've covered a lot of territories from, you know, what are the, the risks associated with foot-and-mouth disease and lumpy skin disease, the key features of those also what are we doing to prepare in the event? And then more importantly, what's that first day of a livestock standstill to look like?

You've got a picture of that as well as the really important and practical biosecurity measures that I know many people are already in. OK, implementing on farm and where are there opportunities to strengthen that? So I hope you found that really informative where popping our poll back up now. As I said at the beginning of the session, really keen to get this.

Your feedback on how this has improved your understanding of biosecurity and foot-and-mouth disease and also what you think of the webinar. Why the poll is running their old. Just highlight that next week.

On the 11th of August, we're running and another webinar on  On-Farm Biosecurity planning. That'll be an online workshop with a a panel discussing opportunities to create your plan and what kind of actions you might need to be considering to put them in place. So encourage you to take a look at that. You can access that from the agriculture Victoria events page.

Thank you to you all for completing that poll. We really appreciate the feedback.

In closing, I'd just like to highlight some resources to you. There got a couple of web links I've already highlighted to the Agriculture Victoria website.

There's a lot of information there, from Factsheets to frequently asked questions to the links to events that you might access. Also, we've got the link to the federal department there in terms of further information.

If you're interested, farm biosecurity resources is a great place to go to get some of the templates. That Jeff was talking about videos and practical tips and look, Graeme I think you've highlighted that we understand that this can be a concerning situation for people and just really encourage you if you need support, please reach out to beyondblue for support.

So in closing I'd just like to really thank everybody for attending.

On-farm biosecurity planning workshop for producers webinar recording

Agriculture Victoria delivered an online workshop on creating a biosecurity plan hosted by the BestWool/BestLamb and BetterBeef Networks on Thursday 11 August 2022. The workshop featured an Agriculture Victoria panel of technical specialists in sheep, goat, dairy and beef, as well as veterinarians and biosecurity officers. The workshop included a refresher on livestock traceability requirements and walked participants through how to create an on-farm biosecurity plan.

Passcode: biosecurity22!

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Hello everyone, welcome to creating a biosecurity plan hosted by the BestWool/ BestLamb and BetterBeef networks.

I will just allow a little bit of time for everyone to join the webinar and their sound and audio to get connected, so if you can just bear with us for a moment. While you're waiting, if you don't have a pen and paper, or your biosecurity template in front of you, quickly grab something that you can scribble on back of an envelope is perfectly fine.

OK, let's get going. As I said, welcome to creating a biosecurity plan today is going to be an an online workshop. We're not calling it a webinar because we're going to do our best to have some interactive activity as we go through, and we'd love you to get involved with us.

I'd like to start by acknowledging the traditional owners of the lands on which we're all meeting today.

I pay my respects to the elders past, present, and emerging, and the Aboriginal elders of other

communities who may be here with us.

So into the how to as I said really keen that we are somewhat interactive today. Initially, the plan was to just use the Q&A function so at the bottom of your screen, or perhaps on the right hand side, it depends on the device that you're using.  There is a little icon with the two little speech bubbles. We'll be using

that specifically for questions. Pop a question into there and the esteemed panel that we have on board

today will be answering them for you.

The way that we've set it up is they will not be viewable until we've answered them. You'll see that there's two tabs across the top for you and of the aren't set of what you'll be able to see there as it comes through. So perhaps just take a little bit of time to set up your screen so that you can see them in there.

I might get there is a question if I can get quickly. Morgan if you wouldn't mind just answering that one so that people can see what it looks like. I have a crossover. The raise hand function. We definitely won't be using that one today, but I also have a crossover.

The chat function and I should have deleted it because we've decided we are going to use the chat for comments. If there's something that you dislike to share with us, but also for getting a little bit of interaction later on in the webinar.

I've got up on the right hand side of the screen the view options. Do have a play around with them to

find what works best for you on the device so that you can see the chat and you can see the Q&A and

you can see the presentation. I've got a little reminder there have your pen. Have your paper. Have a biosecurity template ready to go. So today on the menu, we'll start with a bit of an overview of traceability and biosecurity.

We'll go deeper into the systems for traceability. Have a look at biosecurity, some of the risks that are around there, the thing that you're all here for, looking at a biosecurity plan and how you create one and then wrap it up with putting things into action.Joining us today. Is a fantastic panel of really experienced operators across a diverse range of industries.

I'm Kirsty Anderson. I'm a project leader, innovative sheep and beef networks with Aagriculture Victoria's Meat and Wool team. We have Lyndon Kubiel, Senior sheep and beef specialist, also in the Meat and Wool team. Alison Desmond Bestwool Bestlamb Project leader. Also in the team Darren Hickey, BetterBeef Networks, Project leader in the Meat and Wool team. We have Berwyn Squire and John Gibney joining us, they are both veterinary officer specialists so they'll be able to handle some of those more specific questions.

Berwyn is our goat specialist. Any question you can throw out all sorts of curly goat ones. She'll be there and John is our dairy specialist. So if you've got some really specific industry questions, head them that way.

Rosa Cleave is online. Rosa has an actual biosecurity degree, so she's probably the most qualified of all of us online to be able to answer this one. But I I've asked her a long because not just with that qualification, she's also got really, really good experience within industry. She grew up in a farm, she's a Shearer's daughter, so she knows that there's no point recommending really hard to implement stuff if it's not gonna actually happen on your farm. So fantastic to have her along.

And lastly, but absolutely not least, Rachel Coombes and Morgan Cassell, who are Livestock Industry Development Offices LIDO’s we call them for short that work in our Meat and Wool team here.

They're going to back me up with a little bit of the Technical Support as we get trickier, but they're both also very experienced in the area of livestock management, traceability and biosecurity, so all those people are there to answer your questions as they come into the chat box today. So the first thing that we're gonna do is a poll because we like to find out about who's in the room, so I'll just get it running. Four questions in this one.

What kind of livestock do you own and manage? We've got beef, cattle, dairy, cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, or none at all because you're here in another capacity. Are you LPA accredited? If you don't know the answer to that, it's going to be a no. Or. Once again, you might not be a livestock producer, in which case it's not applicable.

Do you have a bio security plan? The answers that come in are anonymous. We're not telling anyone, but it certainly helps to inform us of the need for services. Like this, so feel free if you don't actually have one.

Don't feel that you have to pretend that you do and before you came to this webinar, we're interested to know how confident you would have been in writing a biosecurity plan. So four questions. Hopefully you should be able to see a little poll pop up. It's come people are getting close to.

Having found it, I'll leave a bit of time because there is 4 questions. You'll need to use. On the right hand side of it, there's a little Gray bar that you can use to slide down to find all of those questions. Brilliant

Alright, I'm going to leave that open for the minute. So for those of you that are still filling it in, we'll leave that one in there and keep rolling it along. We've got majority today are beef and sheep producers.

60% of you are accredited with LPA. And then. 40% actually have a biosecurity plan. Before joining the webinar, we're looking like if I did quick, some probably sitting at about a 3 score, maybe a little bit lower, 2.8 doing some very quick maths, so thank you very much for everyone that has filled that one in. Let's say I might just leave it open for a little bit more and we can keep rolling.

So traceability and biosecurity? What do they mean and why are they important? Biosecurity is really important for our preparedness and protection.

Quite often when we talk about biosecurity, we seem to revert to livestock and keeping our livestock safe. But it is just as and if not more important, about keeping people safe. So some examples there would be q-fever, leptospirosis. scabby mouth those kind of things and you do not want to get those diseases and stuff.

So putting in systems that protects you and your livestock. It's really important for quality assurance and market access. We rely hugely, so much, on a export markets and being available to them and those markets trust us because of our safe product that we have there and having that those markets, those export markets really has set up livestock production particularly I was going to say in Southern Australia, but realistically in Northern Australia as well for productivity and profitability if our livestock are free or having limited impact of biosecurity risk, their productivity is going to be up there.

They're higher, And they're happier. They're healthier, so hopefully we're gonna have more lambs on the ground. They're going to grow faster. All those kind of things. And then from a profitability side of things, we've got excellent commodity prices at the moment because of the demand for our product, and we're able to produce significant amounts of those products.

All right, but emergency animal diseases we do have a lot of things in the way of emergency animal diseases that are facing us at the moment and I'm sure that you've heard about these in the media at the moment, whether it be foot-and-mouth disease, lumpy skin disease, African horse sickness, and African swine fever.

And there are systems that we have in place to be able to prevent those and there are systems in place that we have to respond to them and these are diseases that are difficult to prevent. They're difficult to detect and control, and they're difficult to minimise the impact, so we absolutely want to do as much as we can to avoid them coming into Australia.

But we have a really, really good track record here in Victoria. In being able to knock out equine influenza avian influenza recently, Khapra beetle abalone virus anthrax, which pops up occasionally and Berwyn online, has a lot of experience.

So does Morgan, and each time it pops up, it's dealt with really efficiently so those producers can get back  to business and at the moment and quite a large number of our team assisting with the Varroa mite response due to the outbreak in NSW. So behind the scenes, we have a some really strong systems and a huge resource of people that are able to respond if and when they're needed.

So having a look at our biosecurity system, there's a number of components. The first one is those pre border activities, the things that Australia does to support other countries to reduce or eliminate biosecurity risks and in turn that reduce the risk of those properties, those countries to us.

So we've got Indonesia, they're highlighted in orange and I'm sure that you've read in the media the amount of support that is going to that country and those that regions at the moment to help them manage their foot-and-mouth.

These outbreak we then have border activities where we're detecting and sanitizing measures at airports of baggage and people shipping ports. Once again cargo and people mail inspection and a whole load of communication and engagement activities for people so that once again we can stop these diseases or these issues getting into Australia.

The next one is Victoria. So Victoria participates in a number of national and state based activities. There's tasks force working groups, again, those communication and engagement activities talking to people such as yourselves and other organisations. We have traceability and biosecurity regulation and we have really strong preparedness and response systems. If and when we need them.

Then it comes down to you. So it's your farm. It's your business, and there's a number of things that you can do to help assist in biosecurity. Meeting your traceability requirements, undertaking good biosecurity measures and importantly supporting each other. We're all in this supply chain, all in these production systems together and working to support each other is really important in creating positive outcomes.

So what can you do right now? You can update your property identification code and we'll show you how to do that. You can make sure that you're meeting traceability and NLIS transactions. That's the fastest way that we can respond and track diseases and outbreaks when they occur. You can keep really, really good records and monitor your livestock if I'm going, and your property, and you can have an on- farm biosecurity plan. And undertake the activities that are listed in there.

So, traceability. How do we trace the movement of livestock and other commodities throughout the system? Once again we start with this why traceability important, and I mentioned before about Australia's food and production being valued and highly trusted by our export consumers,

so that food security is really important. We need to know where those livestock are coming from. If there is an issue, we need to be able to trace it back and isolate endemic diseases. I've got 2 pictures here of Johne’s disease, in cattle and in sheep, so occasionally we'll be monitoring. Endemic, which means that they're already here.

They're already existing diseases. To find out are their areas, regional areas, perhaps where they're increasing in their occurrence there or to note that there's been a change, it's turned up in a different area that we didn't expect those types of things to be, so you may have heard of the National Sheep Health monitoring project that looks at a number of conditions and reports on them. We have a traceability system for emergency diseases, and you're going to hear a lot about it tonight.

And this all feeds through to that market access, and I'm pretty sure that everyone's aware of just that the extremely high value of production in Victoria food and fibre exports of $14.5 billion. We are a little state that we contribute to 28% of the national production, we absolutely Kick It Out of the ballpark as far as the quality of a product that we produce.

So this graph and it's been around on a couple of webinars lately is Victorian sheep saleyard transport movements ‘in’ being blue and ‘out’ being red of saleyards.

So it's just saleyards. It's not including any property to property movements that are also happening with those animals from the 12th to the 17th of December 2021, and you can see that there's an awful lot of movements that happen, but also that there are some clusters.

There are a lot of animals are coming into a particular point and mingling and moving out, so we really need a really rapid, efficient and accurate traceability system to allow us to track the movements of these animals and do tracing back if it's needed.  Once again, Victoria led the state, and, the nation, and it's our electronic NLIS system that allows us to do this.

When we talk about traceability, I just wanted to show the difference between what Agriculture Victoria does is the state government and what Integrity Systems, which is a subsidiary of Meat and Livestock Australia and what their role is.

So here at Agriculture Victoria we maintain the peak database, the property identification codes. We are responsible and for writing and enforcing NLS regulations. We do communication to our stakeholders and we do education activities such as this integrity systems which is an industry body organization.

They are responsible for maintaining the NLIS database where all of these movements are recorded. They also are responsible for livestock production assurance, which is the quality assurance program that 40% of you. Uh, we're part of.

They maintain a number of other quality assurance programs, such as MSA Meat Standards Australia and they do communication and education activities just like us. We'll just end the poll just so it's not popping up on people's screens. So different things that we do, but we work really closely with integrity systems and needed.

All right, cattle NLIS 1999, was when Victoria said you go people, you can use electronic NLIS tags. Before that we were using the wrap around tail tags. If you like me, then your parents threw you into the yards to be able to do that with the cranky cow that really didn't want to go up the race.

And every time that I scan my cows now, I thank that technology because it was pretty risky doing it when I was younger In 2002 NLIS tags actually became required in Victoria and then in 2004. Two years later all of the states came up to a national agreement that electronic NLIS would be rolled out for cattle, so it's been around for 20 years.

So now it's proven there's a number of examples where it's been used to maintain market access along the way, but there are a few new regulations a number of years ago we changed from a seven day movement notice period down to a two days. The last to be able to respond faster.

There's new producers. There's new people coming into the industry, so it's really important that we keep having these refreshers about what the requirements are. Sheep, NLIS, electronic systems. So once again, Victoria out in the lead, we adopted this really early. 1st of January 2017 is when tagging commenced and there was a staged rollout at the start of this year 1st of January was when all sheep leaving a Victorian farm must be tagged.

This happened because we acknowledged that the mob based system was not efficient enough for rapid response. It was that five year rollout it's now fully implemented.

Victoria's led the way and there are talks at the moment about a national agreement and what that will then look like. So how does the NLIS work? There's three components we need one to know where the animals are. Two, we need to know who those animals are, and three, we need a centralized database where all that information can be stored, and those three elements give us lifetime traceability of animals.

So we're just going to start with property identification codes. Uh, for those of you that have one, you'll know that it's an 8 digit number, starts with three, which represents that it's a Victorian property.

The next two letters are linked to the local council that you're part of where that sits. The next two are about a parish and then the last three numbers are an identifier.

So these PIC’s can be applied for, for properties anywhere that livestock are kept. Could be a farm and it may be one that you own, but it can also be one that you lease or just animals on saleyards, showgrounds, abattoirs and the likes.

I've got here in the wording that a single PIC can be allocated to a property consisting of more than one block of land, provided the blocks are part of one livestock enterprise and are within the same or neighbouring Shire.

So if you buy another block of land within your Shire or next door, you can link that new block to your existing PIC and you do that online at  If you are adjusting your livestock on another person's block.

Once again you can link that block to your existing PIC. If you are leasing another block, you can link those ones in. So if you need to do that, you can do it by online through the website or you can call our 18 00 678779 number to be able to link those PIC’s. Also you can update the information, the contact details that are listed against there for the property owner, leaser, agister, farm manager and the likes.

So we know where the stock are now we need to be able to identify them. So for sheep, goat and cattle we have electronic NLIS tags. Now they're they've got an individual animal because of that microchip that's sitting within them, meaning they have a unique NLIS ID and that ID number is printed on the outside of the tag.

Previously we had sheep and goat visual NLIS tags and you can see the difference of them is that there is just there isn't a NLIS ID, there's just the PIC that those tags were purchased for. It is a requirement now Victoria that all sheep, cattle, goats leaving a property have their electronic and NLIS, and then you may choose to use a management tag system of getting going and for sheep quite often that management tag is linked to a colour for the year on the cattle side of things they'll often use a letter that is linked to the year of birth of those animals where it's going.

So the system that you choose is customizable by yourself as long as they have an electronic NLIS tag. So approved NLIS tags for cattle.In cattle side of things the there are breeder tags which are white and post breeder tags which are orange. You may use or see rumen boluses.

Don't see them a lot down here in Victoria and realistically, the processes don't like them. They can be a contamination issue going through so we really don't see them, but if you do use them, make sure that that visual tag is attached and goes with the animal. So either of those tags the breeder or the post breeder is applied to the animal's right or off side ear and go the white breeder tags are used to identify cattle that are on the property of their birth.

So if they're born on your property you'll use a white breeder tag. If they lose A tag or malfunctions you can replace it with a white greater tag. The post breeder tags are orange and are used to identify introduced cattle that don't already have a breeder or post breeder device.

So say you buy in some stock, next time they come into the yard one of them has lost a tag. You would replace that with an orange post breeder tag. Approved analyst tags for sheep and goats for sheep and goats. You can use either ear left or right. People you can use any of the colours that are available the year colours, but a lot of people choose to use the year based on that table that you saw before.

Those breeder tags can only be used once again for a shape that are still on the property of birth. Post breeder tags for sheep are pink and the reason of the difference that they're not orange is orange is a year colour for sheep so we have this this pink that's there. And again, they used to identify a stock that don't already have an electronic breeder or post breeder device.

So if you buy in some sheep and you might buy them in from Interstate where they don't have an electronic NLISs, when you go to sell those animals or move them onto another property, you'll need to use one of those pink post breeder tags.

A few days and don't have tag application so any tags that you purchased for your property are not to be used for another property. NLIS tags are species specific, so only use cattle tags for cattle, sheep for sheep, and goat, for goat. When you order your for the goat, people that are out here when you order your tags, you specify what species they're for and you never attach a second electronic NLIS tag.

If the animal already has a functioning NLIS tag present electronic one NLIS tags must not be removed unless the device is damaged or cannot be read electronically. All right, where do I get my tags? You can purchase them online or call our 1800 678 779 to request an order form. If you use an order form, please make sure that it's the current version.

Tags will usually be delivered within 10 working days of the order being received, but there can be delays in peak season and there can be delays with postage, so the recommendation is to order them early and be ready to go. Use the correct applicator. Tags can be damaged if you're using an applicator they're not designed for. Keep that applicator, well maintained, and ideally have a spare just in case something goes wrong.

When you order your tags online, you're also given the opportunity to first update your PIC details. So if you're ordering tags every year, it's a great way to be able to update those details and maintain them.

So then we get to the NLIS database. There's a whole lot of people who use it. There can be the property owners, livestock agents, saleyards processes, show grounds, and third parties who might do transfers on other people's behalf.

These database essentially contains a lifetime record of an animal using the pic as the identifier, linking that to a date a movement record like an NLIS, so that they can show the movements from. In this example we've got here that there was a nice little jersey cow she was born on the breeder property.

Someone sold her off to a stud that thought that she was pretty good looking cow and they wanted to take her on the show scene. She moved. She went to the show grounds. She didn't win the ribbon.

So then she got moved on to the saleyard. She looked at someone with those big brown eyes and they went. Oh I'll take you home but they didn't actually have a farm themselves. They were agisting a block down the road. So she went there and then at the end of a happy and productive life she headed off to the processor.

So all of that information that lifetime. Code of where that animal's been, and what other animals that they've potentially been interacting with is maintained in the NLIS database. So we're bringing this all together. By using property to property movements or we call them P2P's and that's when an animal moves between two different PIC’s.

It does include private sales of animals that are done with or without an agent. You might call them paddock sales, and they're going from there. Animals that are being agisted or lent. So in that example before, if someone's loaning out bulls throughout there, it requires a property to property transfer or animals traded through online selling platforms, Gumtree, Facebook, Auctions Plus and the likes.

It excludes movements of animals involved in saleyards or scales. Public auctions conducted by a stock agent, so like a bull sale or a ram sale and any movements to abattoirs or knackeries and when we're saying excluding, it's not that the movement doesn't happen on the NLIS database, it's that it's done by in the case of the saleyards, the saleyard operator public auctions.

It's done by the livestock agent and for abattoirs and Knackeries it's done by the processes and the knackers and the likes. So for the producers online, you're responsible of those movements. From one PIC to another PIC for private sales, adjustment, leasing, or anything that you've bought online. Who should register the property to property movement?

The person receiving the animals is responsible for registering it within two days of the stock arriving or before. In the case, if they leave before 2 days. If they're just staying over for 24 hours and then moving because perhaps it's a depot, that movement needs to be registered before they go on.

To do that, you'll need an integrity systems analyst database account to be able to record those livestock movements, or if you want to access reports or to receive notifications if you don't have an account set up, even if for most of the time a stock agent's going to be doing those records on your behalf, you won't be able to receive notifications and you won't be able to check if transfers have happened.

So you can create an account online, or you can call the integrity systems number 1800683111 and it looks like we're missing a digit there. I'll get them to fix that up and pop that in the chat. You get an account set up. What information do you need to do a property to property movements?

We need to know where the animals came from, and that'll be on the NVD. We need to know where they went to, and because you're the person responsible for it, because they're coming onto your property, you'll know what your pick is.

We need to know the date of the movement and NVD or movement record number, a list of those tags or devices that can be an ID, the number on the outside of the tag or the RFID, the electronic number. That comes from the microchip, and in the case of sheep and goats. We also need their total number of animals. So to do that, we need to log into the NLIS database.

You might do that directly, or you may use MLAs my MLA, which is a single sign in option. You'll then use the notify the database of. Livestock moved onto my property. When you get there, if they're growing you then have this screen where you can put the information in.

So the first thing is what are the live stocks that you want to move, and you can either type in a number there, or if you've got a list because you've scanned them, you can copy that list from the file and then paste it straight into that big box, which is my preferred way of doing it. It reduces the amount of errors and manual typing.

Number 2 ask what PIC are you moving them to and you'll type into there. Now there's a drop down box. In this case you may have one PIC, but you might have multiple PIC’s that are linked to your NLIS device account.

Number 3, What PIC are you moving them from? You'll type it into there. It will give you an error message if you don't get a correct pick in there, and once again it comes from the NVD. 4 is what is the NVD way bill number pop that Into that box 5 when were the livestock moved?

Select the date, category and six for the sheep and goats. Enter the number of head in that movement, so use the total that's on the NVD. So you will press continue, hopefully you get a good tick that is successful upload and you'll get an upload ID.

And I really encourage you to note that on the NVD, or you might have another piece of paper, another record keeping system. As I said before, you won't get notifications for successful transfers that other people do on your behalf.

So say it goes through a sale yard or something like that. So it's really important to be able to go back in. Have a look at the database and check those reports to make sure that it's happened.

You will get notifications for any errors, and there's some really helpful guidelines on the Integrity systems website about what do the different error messages mean if you get them and you're confused, then you can give Integrity Systems or Agriculture Vic. a call and we'll have a look at them with you.  We do have a number of workshops and webinars for NLIS database training coming up soon.

Keep an eye on out. They're already advertised on the Ag VIC events web page.  some movement document is required for all livestock movements from a property to another property with the same pick or movements to Anacreon feel like and that's pasted that hasn't come across properly anyway. Must be generated by the owner or the person responsible for the dispatch of the livestock to a destination with a different PIC, and it must be provided to the livestock receiver no later than the time of arrival. So in Victoria, the NVD doesn't have to go with the truck, but it has to arrive.

The destination before the truck with those livestock does so if you're using the electronic system, you can e-mail that through to the receiver. The Consigner and the receiver need to keep a copy for seven years or as long as the livestock are still alive and residing on your property.

Couple of things. Common errors that happen with NVD is that people might be using the wrong form. Make sure that you're using a sheep and lamb, one or goat one or a cattle, one or Bobby calf, one Make sure you're using the current version, so for all of them, it's the seven two complete all the sections.

This is a legal document. Make sure that you go through quite often. People forget to sign it at the end. They've done all the other stuff and they forget that really important bit. Yeah, make sure that your consigned to and destination are filled out, so consign to. If you're sending them to a sale yard, the consign to is you would nominate your agent that you're selling them, and can sign, and the destination is the name of the sale yard.

Please use a full street address. And there's a preferably a number, a street, and a town, and the post code so that once again the traceability of those animals can be very efficient.

Check with your buyer if there's any other documents they need. Are they looking for health declarations? Do they need an MSA declaration or the likes?

So all of that traceability stuff. Helps you or sits within LPA accreditation section number 5 livestock transactions and movements. If you need any help with your database, your LPA account or NVD's contact Integrity Systems.

If it's your queries about NLIS PIC tags or the regulations, contact Agriculture Victoria and we'll be sending you all of this information so you don't need to worry about writing it down at the moment.

So biosecurity, What are the risks, how bad are they and what can I do about them? We've got a bit of a four

step plan for biosecurity, the first one being identifying the risks. Documenting your plan. Putting your plan into action and then reviewing and updating it. We're gonna start with those identifying the risks, so there's three kind of groupings around biosecurity risks. First we have there is diseases, and that's definitely what everyone's focused on at the moment.

But there's also pests and parasites that are sitting out there and that are very common throughout a number of areas of Victoria and will absolutely be affecting your productivity and profitability.

And then we have a number of plant and weed biosecurity risks that are floating around and quite maybe floating around either in waterways or Airways that we are trying to manage and reduce the impact of them. So they may be very local or regionalized areas  because they suit those climates.

There may be ones that exist currently outside of your region, but that you could be bringing in. Depending on the kind of livestock or the feed or fodder. There's ones that are that exist in Victoria, Interstate, nationally and internationally.

So once we know about what the biosecurity risks are, we need to know what the impact of them would actually be on our business. And we've got quite a simple risk matrix here.

There are more complicated or complex versions out there, I just I like to keep things quite simple. So across from the vertical axis we have a low likelihood or a high likelihood. So the low likelihood it's very unlikely that those things.

Are going to arrive on your property or higher likelihood because they're around. They're already at the neighbours. We know that they're here or they're very infectious. They're they've got a very high level of transmission. Across the horizontal axis we have low impact, so something that that around but isn't actually going.

It's more of a nuisance rather than a significant impactor through to those high impact, the things that are that really, really difficult to control or to eliminate once we get them, they may be very high impact on animal health, so a lot of the diseases, pests and parasites are definitely. Like that? And what we like to say is that realistically for these things that sit here within the green box that are unlikely to occur, and if they do, they're not actually that much of a problem.

Don't lose sleep about those ones. We'll just know that they're there of getting going. For those that sit within the blue and the yellow boxes, the ones that are highly likely to happen but won't actually really cause that much of a problem or not likely to happen. But if they do, then we've got a bit of a problem. We like to say with those ones is.

Be alert, but not alarmed, so absolutely. In the case of the ones that are highly likely. What are some things that you can do to stop them turning up for the ones that aren't likely to occur, but will have a high impact? Do you know what they look like so that you're aware of the signs? Do you know what you need to do in the case that they turn up? And that's where a lot of those

emergency animal diseases sit. The red box. Very likely that it's going to happen, and if it does it's going to cost us time and money and effort. Those high impact ones are where your biosecurity plan should really be focusing on to manage them.

So we've done a couple of workshops over the last number of years, and here are just some examples of what people have said and where they've put them. Noting that your farm is going to be different to someone else's farm based on your business and your location and all those kind of things, what you've got in place.

So Barber's pole definitely on the increase in a lot of areas in Victoria. And if you get it, it's a hard one to manage and control foot-and-mouth disease. Very low likelihood that we're going to get it at the moment. But it's a bad one If we do.

Cape Weed, it's absolutely everywhere some people call it a Cape feed, and they're not really that worried about it. Other people are very begrudging of the amount of moisture that it uses, and the changes that it has to soil health and want to get rid of it. Pestivirus bit of a sleeper pestivirus  is not a lot of people are aware of If you're running cattle, definitely look up, have a read into it, get your vet in to test if it's already sitting there within your herd.

Pink Eye season one turns up, comes around occasionally, thistles foot rot, or scold, depending on what you want to call it, lice if you're a I wool, or Merino grower, definitely one up on the spectrum. Ticks are turning up. Love grass African love grass over in Gippsland.

They get very twitchy when we start talking about it, barley grass, sometimes a year. It's a handy feed source and then you regret it later on when you're starting to have poor animals with it in their eyes.

So what we're going to do, and this is where we're going to start the interactive part of the day is, I would like you to use the chat box if you didn't going. If you reply you can either reply. I'm not sure what the settings are on our account for you. We didn't get a chance to test it this morning because someone else was using it.

But anyway, can you please use the chat box, give me the colour so there was green, blue, yellow or red and a risk that you're concerned about a disease. That you might have or that you're concerned about bringing in.

A pest or parasite once again. And or weighed or plant so if you can pop those into the chat box. Code of the colour. And then followed by the risk of what it is. Morgan and Rachel are on hand and they're going to transfer that information into this risk matrix. I probably so hopefully if someone can find the chat box for me and pop it in. Is anyone able to do it? I did go to try to check in our settings. If UM, if you can't see the chat. If for some, no it is disabled, there you go. Thanks, Karen.

I did go and check our settings and we couldn't practice well. We tried, but that's not going to don't know can I change the settings? While we're live, I don't. Think that I can. Unfortunately you have different admin rights for our zoom, so it has been ohh well we tried of getting going. What a shame and if you would like to. Let us know pop it into into the

Q&A and we'll grab them as we go there and we can fill them in. But anyway, we'll move on. Alright, so. We know what some of the risks are. We know what the likelihood is of us getting them and what the impact could be on our business.

This last one and the important one is how are they getting onto my farm. So the signs and the modelling out there. We know that the number one way of where these things will end up on your property is through the introduction of livestock. They're coming in with things that you are bringing on.

They can also come in through the introduction of fodder and supplies. They may arrive through access points, also known as kind of vectors. So, because boundary fences aren't quite up to scratch, so you've got wandering or feral stalk waterways. If you're if you're allowing access to the waterways coming through your property, there are airborne diseases and weeds and the likes that are that are floating around.

When I say then we've got some visitors that are coming onto our property. The people that are around the contractors being engaged. There's some strain, feral animals that come to visit because they, like our highly productive edible pastures. And then there's vehicles and equipment that that are coming in with those people and contractors.

But just to highlight that the most likely way that you are going to get a biosecurity risk is through the introduction of livestock intensely brought onto your property. And that's where focus on your biosecurity plan should definitely be maintained. So we're going to get into the good stuff now.

Have your pen have your template ready. Keep that Q&A going as we go through the plan you've got, your  paperwork and your pen to be able to walk through. So we said today you can use the Animal Health Australia or the livestock Livestock Production Assurance template.

They've effectively the same that they have recently changed. A little bit of the ordering of the numbers, but they asked the same questions and if your livestock production assurance accredited, you can use the Animal Health Australia or any other biosecurity Plan template as long as they cover the modules and the questions that are within the LPA and Animal Health, Australia absolutely does that.

So I've got here just the front page of those two depending on the one that you've got printed out in front of you. I'm getting going there and I'll say today I'm going to use the Animal Health Australia one, the green one of getting going.  If you're using a an LPA one, no worries at all. Will be chatting.

There's just a couple of points that aren't in the LPA one as a line, but you can absolutely add that information in. You can make that biosecurity plan more than it currently is.

We're going to head through the those modules that are talked about, so we start with property information. It then looks at your inputs, people, vehicles and equipment production practices, pests and weeds, outgoing products because we don't want to get stuff, but we also don't want to give stuff to other people.

That wouldn't be very citizen like if we did, how are we training, planning, recording our information? And there is an optional section around Johne’s for beef cattle. If you're involved in other assurance programs, there might be some extra requirements, so I've popped here.

There's the Johne’s programs that it map market assurance programs that quite a number of studs tend to be involved in those ovine brucellosis, free accredited flocks for sheep.

If you're going absolutely if you're buying in rams, make sure that those rams are coming from an OB free flock with a current certificate, which means that they're still maintaining that testing regime.

You can request a copy of the certificate with the date you might be part of. A commonly call it. It's UCAS but the EU program for Cattle, it's just got a couple of little extra requirements in there, and you would be aware of them if you're participating in those programs. So front page of the biosecurity plan.

Everyone's favourite one, because it's you'll probably know the answers to these questions. Depends the green one. Pretty much looks the same as the blue one, so it's looking for the property name address. Once again a full address that's in there, the pick. At the date that you wrote the biosecurity plan, a review date that's 12 months in in advance.

The idea is that these are not a set and forget progress. It's come back review it. Have things changed?  Are they new people in the business completed by does need to be signed. If you get LPA audited, they'll be looking for that.

Contact details for the business, who's the owner, who's the manager, who's your local vet? What's their number? And a local animal health officers a number. As we go through the sections of the biosecurity Plan I've got in the grey box. Three to sometimes a few more, just little.

Tips or tricks along the way things to consider other like so? Looking at that review date? How are you going to remember to do it? Is it? Are you gonna be like me and I do it in July? Because I do it my tax time. It's easy to remember. Maybe it's the anniversary of your wedding because that's a lovely way to remember it.

You can review your biosecurity plan over a candlelit dinner. Would be wonderful. Have it set up. Put a reminder on the calendar. Put something in your phone so that you remember to do that. The local animal health officer. So the Agriculture Victoria customer Call Centre was a 136 number and it's changing as of the 30th of August to 13 00502656 pop that if you're in Victoria in the local Animal Health Office number and they will put you through to your local animal health officer or district veterinarian.

As required so much easier to do that than trying to find out a mobile number or a local office number that may not be manned at the time that you're trying to call it. The other one is the emergency animal disease hotline.

Please pop that one in your phone as a contact just in case you need it. So what I recommend to people when they've filled out the first page, which is the fun bit. Take a photo of it. So it's sitting there on your phone, text it to other people in the business that it could be important for printed out.

Pop it up on a sign in the stock store room or somewhere like that. We think that it might be useful. You are also asked to put a stock inventory. This is a average for the year type of thing. What kind of numbers? What kind of species? It's not audited. It's not filled through to the tax man. It's just to give you a bit of an idea of what we're looking at as far as numbers and species goes.

All right? Here we go. The actual bids. Now I have heard it mentioned that some of these biosecurity plans are a tick and flick exercise and they. Absolutely, yeah.

So we'll go through sections and you'll be asked effectively a question to which you can reply, yes, I have a system in place, I do that. No, because for your business you've decided it's not a risk or it's not applicable or NA which is the non applicable.

Maybe it's about things that don't happen in there so you don't have to take yes to everything. But in the case of a lot of quality assurance programs, if you say yes, I'm going to do something, when the auditor comes, they say, oh, that's lovely. Can you show me how? Show me evidence that you have done this thing that you've said that you're going to do. That's what quality assurance programs, that's how they're set up. So you don't have to say yes to everything. But if you do say yes, make sure that you've got an action or a system that sits behind it. So we're going to start with inputs and we're going to look at livestock type of things.

So on your plan that you've got there in front of you, you can do the ticking bit now and there should be a little comments box that you can put any notes in as we go of things that you might want to do.

Any actions or reminders of the likes. If you get this document online. Those reference documents that are in blue text underlined are hyperlinks to go through to an actual document that can be used to support the evidence of you saying I'm going to do something so it might be a record keeping it might be an information sheet. It depends on what the question is.

So let's go one point 1.1 are all new stock that arrive on the property inspected for health status. Yes no, not applicable. A livestock purchase with information on animal treatments and is a health status provided via national vendor declaration and animal health declarations. So there are two different documents NVD's are required for all animals that

are coming on from a different PIC, whereas animal health declarations are an optional but you can certainly ask for them. In some states it is a requirement and it's recommended very highly by a culture Victoria and by.

Integrity systems for LPA. Do all newly introduced livestock undergo a period of quarantine so they've come in? We've checked that they look alright. We've checked that the paperwork looks alright, and then we're gonna take a bit of time to monitor those animals and see how they're going.

Our livestock of unknown health status kept separate from vulnerable stock, so our young animals that maybe don't yet have a full vaccination program, or they're putting their energy into growing and maybe their immune systems not not ready to fire on everything or you're pregnant animals who are once again busy focusing their energy on lactating and looking after others can be compromised in those situations.

So we want to keep them away from animals that you're not really quite. More of are they carrying anything and for me this one I definitely think about stock containment areas where I hear people talking about them as an option for a quarantine paddock. But then you're also potentially using those areas to grow out your weaners or to feed your using containment while you're doing some autumn savings of pastures.

So I want you to consider about are those two uses complementary, or could you potentially be putting those young animals and those pregnant animals at risk by putting them into an area that you've used as a quarantine paddock and may have some unknown dodgy things floating around in there?

1.14 do livestock have sufficient time to empty out in the yards before they go. So are there any faeces or parasites or the likes that are parasites or weed seeds in those faeces when livestock are away from the home property because you're taking them to a show to get the ribbons or they're on adjustment, or the bulls are out for joining a hygiene and quarantine strategies in place to maintain the biosecurity risk to those livestocks.

Do you just send them on a truck off to somewhere or do you go and have a look at those paddocks and? In the case of show grounds, quite often they'll have a Johne’s management program, or they'll have bio security protocols.

Be aware of where they're going because they're they're gonna come home and you don't want to be bringing things back with them. And lastly, are all incoming livestock identified and reported in accordance with the NLIS operational rules? I've been through a lot of slides there for you, but that traceability is number one so important biosecurity plan not worth the paper it's written on.

If you're not doing your traceability requirements. So Kirsty's top tips inspect on arrival, induct them with an effective drench, have a chat to your vet, think about where those animals are coming from and what are the pests and parasites that they're likely to be.

Carrying you may not be familiar with them because they're outside of that region and what you know. Inspecting for lice or backlighting, treating for bath, setting up a foot bath in your yards that every single time animals go out is a really practical and really nice safe thing to do at the moment since sulphates like twice as expensive as it used to be, but it's still absolutely worth it.

Quarantine periods that pack that you're gonna put them while you're watching them to see if they start to exhibit any signs of ill health or anything that concerns you. I've seen a lot of numbers floating around, some say seven days, 14 or 21 days of getting going. Once again, it comes down to a risk factor.

What are the conditions? What are those diseases or pests and parasites that you're concerned about with those animals? Or that you're concerned about on your property? And how comfortable are you with that period of time that they've had a chance to be either fully vaccinated against them? If that's what you're doing or express those symptoms if you're monitoring for it, it's up to you to set that one up.

Movement records and NLIS tags know what you need to do and make sure that it happens and protecting those vulnerable stock which we've talked about. 1.2 imports feed and water, so does the property. Have a total ban on the feeding of products derived from vertebrate animals.

To ruminant livestock,so we don't feed animal foods that  have got animal products in it. To ruminants and some examples of things that might have animal  products in it is your dog food, truck food quite likely to have. So that can cause impacts for. You know, mad cow disease, bovine spongiform encephalitis.

If you want to say the big word, scrape is another condition that it can lead to. And at the moment that is a huge risk for us on foot-and-mouth disease is the feeding of contaminated products to pigs who are then amplifiers.

They'll pump that virus out into the atmosphere faster than we can keep track of realistically so. Keep a lid on those kind of things. Make sure that other animals can't access them. 1. 22 does the person responsible for the purchase of stock feed ensure that the supplier provides a commodity vendor declaration?

Definitely one here that I find people aren't aware of what a commodity vendor declaration is. Where you get one and what you do. So if you're buying in feed photo grain requesting that commodity vendor dec that says what were the treatments of that product beforehand from a chemical side of things.

A declaration about weed contamination and the likes that are on there. We want to be able to get it, and you're required for LPA to store that for a minimum of three years. Or if you've still got the food there because you put it into a bunker for the period of its time. Is stock feeding inspected on delivery to ensure that it's fit for purpose?

If it's not what it said it was going to be in the shop as far as the quality of it, that it's mouldy that you know the high it's got a really high level of screenings or something like that.

Are you prepared to just let that go and and say ohh don't worry about it, just load it into the shed and then complain about it and then have to deal with the weeds or then have your stock? Potentially very unwell or dying because of the the moulds that are in there or are you prepared to say no, take it back? That's not what I ordered.

Bring me back the right thing that's there. Having a plan with someone, making sure that the person that you're buying those things from is aware that that you have standards on your property around these biosecurity plans and this is what will happen if the product that arrives is not what you ordered or what you expected. 1.24 is stockfeed stored in a manner that pretends prevents contamination.

No point getting that beautiful, irrigated loosen and then sticking it out in the paddock and letting it get mouldy because it's wet underneath. We don't as much as possible. We'd like to restrict access from vermin or wildlife, or feral animals that can carry some diseases.

Feral cats with Toxo and those kind of things, and especially as I said earlier, those ones that are restricted animal material feeds that accidental feeding doesn't happen. Storing it somewhere safe so people quite often ask about this one, and on your dog food label look live and things like that. It will say the type of product that it is and what it can and can't be fed to.

The last one on here is water, so making sure that the water that your livestock are drinking is of a suitable quality and quantity to make sure that they're nice and safe. So our tips here is really about that. Storing feed correctly to prevent quality deterioration or unapproved animal access. Commodity declarations I mean for best practices to get them.

If you can't get one, there is an LPA guideline around what to do in that case, and once again it's a risk basis. How risky do you think that product is? What's the likelihood that it's being treated with chemicals and the likes?

And you document that risk and you make a decision. Make sure livestock can't drink from contaminated wastewater. So effluent ponds, storm water drains, those kind of things.

Have them fenced off and keep your water troughs high enough if possible to reduce contamination by faeces so they're not backing up and dropping into them. Just a little bit more about those restricted animal materials, and I was saying about the label, so in this case it took food.

Don't feed to cattle, sheep, goats, deer or other ruminants, and on the pig side of things there is a whole traceability system for them called pig pass. They also have NVD and they have identification systems and policies do not fill feed prohibited feeds or swill feeding to pigs. It's a huge risk for us on the terms of foot-and-mouth disease, and we want to make sure that people are very aware of that one.

Alright, number 2 and doing well for time. Wasn't quite sure how we'd go today, but I'm happy with this one. We'll probably all get an early mark and be able to go and do some other jobs, which for me is not going to be an outside one because it's bucketing down.

People, vehicles and equipment. This is definitely one that when we do these workshops in person, that seems to be an area of concern. So I'll be. I'm not watching the QA too much because I'm kind of focusing on this, but I'll be interested to see if some questions come in about it.

All right, employees and family, our favourite people, those that come to work and come to Christmas or other family gatherings, are there strategies in place to minimise reducing the number of entry points? Monitor and record using visitor logs the movement of people and vehicles over the property.

Do you know who went where? When? And why so? A visitor log that's there farm biosecurity signs that you can use for that. Locking external gates really important. One here of discussing expectations with persons. I said that before about when you're buying in things about what's the expectations. Do that again for the people coming onto your property.

Are owners and staff are aware of the importance of minimizing the lending and borrowing of equipment between properties? If you're looking, if you're one of those people who doesn't like lending out gear and it's perfectly fine because it's. Oh, it seems to break. This is your excuse.

I'm sorry we have a biosecurity plan we can't, and because of that plan, we can't lend you our equipment because when it comes back there may be something with it. But if you do it because you're a nice person and you complain. Do they know that before it comes back to your place that you'd like it cleaned and to what kind of standard?

Are quite often see let's go like a disc, drill or play. Anything with discs really getting going implements that are travelling down with big chunks of dirt still on them and I know that they're hard to get off because I seem to always get that job.

But really important that those things are cleaned before they're taken on the road and before they're put in someone else's paddock. 2-3 visitors, contractors and service personnel are all those other people that come to your farm, the vets, the agents, the transporters.

Do they know what areas of the farm that they're allowed to go to? You might not, because they're commonly interacting with other animals. You might not want them to go to particular parts of the farm. Do they know what the your bio security plan is? What the what the rules in play are?

So do they know that they need to, and that's where a farm by security gate sign is really handy. Do they know that they're supposed to call you beforehand so that you know that they're there? How are you recording that? Is there any other induction process that's required when they're coming on? Do you use protective clothing?

Personal cleanliness is encouraged on your property. We'll have a bit of a chat about that later and are there facilities in those permitted access areas where you're saying that those contractors or visitors can go to that allows them to clean their boots and equipment? So let's just say the agent turned up.

They've been weighing lambs out of property locally who didn't have facilities for them to be able to wash down. They come to your place and you can see the nice fresh faeces in that crate. Do you have somewhere where you can say?

Can you just go up and clean that before we take it off the Ute and we start to use it and put mine through. So what's the facilities that you have that allows them to do the right thing when coming on to your property?

Uh, but watching is is a really big one that people are quite interested in with biosecurity kits and what kind of disinfectants and the likes to use. And I've got some really cool pictures there. I think that they're quite good visual displays, so the number ones are. For each set of Fein. Umm? Claim, but without actually cleaning the organic matter and stuff like that, they're just walked them through a biosecurity mat and then the pictures below are cultures of what's actually still living on those boots that you can see.

They're really grotty. There's a lot going on in there. Number 2 are ones where they've done just a manual wash in water, so water with a bit of a scrubbing brush, what they've managed to reduce off those and you can see there's less amount of bacterial or whatever they're culturing on that plate, but there's definitely still stuff floating around even though they look pretty clean.

They look pretty good. Number 3 are boots that have been cleaned and then disinfected. And there's nothing there that's going on there. So have a think about that in the facilities that you're providing to people to be able to clean their boots when they come onto your property.

Are they able to wash them to get them clean of any organic matter? Then are they able to disinfect them and let them dry before they're going on onto your farm? So on the disinfectant side of things, there's a number of them available and in the follow up e-mail. For this, we've got a disinfectant guide which talks about different bio security risks.

It could be that that's coming from footrot or scald foot-and-mouth disease and the likes and it talks about what's the appropriate disinfectant to use for them. So there is again no one answer fits everyone.

Think about what are the risks  that you're concerned about. That's existing already in your area. What's likely that those people are visitors would be bringing in and PIC the disinfectant that suits that and suits your purpose is gonna go. All right? And the other one that I just wanted to pop on here is about that induction process.

Is really important when people are coming onto your place? First of all, there's the expectation that you're going to talk about biosecurity. This is where you can go. This is where you can't go. This is the standard of cleanliness that we expect. The second one is about safety. Side of things are there. Who do they call if there was a problem? Do they know the property address?

If they need to call the emergency services, do they know how to dial 000? Do they notify the manager of if something's broken or if they see something? If it's an economist and they're in the paddock for you and they see something like a tree down on a fence, who do they call to let that know that there's a problem?

So inducting people on has so many benefits, not just biosecurity. Vehicles and equipment. Our vehicles and equipment cleaned prior to moving from high risk area to low risk areas.

Anyone that's had any experience as a like a harvest contractor when you're moving from Queensland down, there's a whole lot of things that you can bring in and regularly cleaning down equipment between properties is extremely important for parthenium weed and things like that. Is there sufficient signage available to inform visitors of your biosecurity requirements and what procedures do you want them to adhere to? So keeping a visitor? This log is a really good idea.

There are templates available from Animal Health Australia and LPA. You can do custom type of ones. Everyone's all into QR codes at the moment, but it is actually a really handy way if you've got mobile signal on your property to create a little. Form a little survey that asks the questions if some of the ones like Google and Microsoft forms and those that I'm used to use. You can add pictures so you can add a map of the property where they can indicate what parts they're going.

You can have a video in there, so if you want to face to face, have a chat to them and tell them about what your induction and what your safety kind of things are. You've got all that information and your contacts, so it is everyone's comfortable with QR codes now and using them. Check in so. It is actually a great way that you can customize it.

You could also use something really high tech, low import, like using cameras, surveillance cameras. Have just if you've got a kind of a single point of entrance and it's quite easy to track, you can be just using that as your visitor log.

You might just have a farm diary and you know who came and you just write it down in your farm diary each night. It's what's achievable and realistic for you. Absolutely encouraging that. Come clean, go clean attitude for any of those visitors that come onto your property.

You could consider providing them with clean boots or overalls if you are concerned about how clean their stuff is. Well, you just have your stash that you know is good and nice and safe and you say swap it over and that's what most of the intensive animal industries, the piggeries and the poultry units, abattoirs and likes.

That's what they do. Any food safe type of places they're like. Don't worry about it. We've got our own gum boots and overalls and whites that you can use. Providing a wash down area or boot cleaning facilities if you always wanted that hot wash, you can go out and get it now and justify it and say I absolutely need that hot wash.

So that I've got my bio security plan up to date and the book cleaning facilities doesn't have to be over overly complicated, but having them there so people can use it.

And the other one that was saying is about you don't want to be sharing biosecurity risks with other people. So when you're going to a farm walk or a field day or some, or having a look at someone else's property, have you got a biosecurity kit that maybe you keeping your car so that you can clean your yourself before you go there of getting going?

Or you might have been somewhere and you've been to the saleyards and the likes and you want to clean your boots and the likes before you come home. So a handy. To have as well and same thing it can be as complex or as simple as you choose to make it.

All right number three production practices. Livestock monitoring are livestock inspected regularly to ensure that early detection of sick animals. So do you know what a sick animal looks like, and usually you know you don't have to be a vet.

They've got professionals out there that you can call, but most people have got a pretty good gut feel about what doesn't look right, and that's all that in the end you need to know what what's. What's good. Healthy looking one not lame. It's in good condition. It's interacting with you and it's not dull and lethargic and you clap your hands and they're not going anywhere.

Bright eyes again listening, paying attention alert if they're not any of those things get to know your faeces consistency. What does what does good faeces look like versus something that might be a bit scary or even and it can depend on their feed smells a little bit off can sometimes be indicator, and they're asking if a dogs that are really good at picking that up. What does not healthy look like? What are the signs of being going?

You don't need to diagnose it, you don't need to go to Google, you need to call your vet or your animal health officer and they will come out. And as professionals they will help you with the diagnosis, using pathology and science to be able to work it out. Do you increase the frequency of livestock inspections during periods of high risk?

So I was thinking about this one the other day and went well. You know, when he's when is that for us? When are we worried? Springtime, he's kind of a big one. It's it tends to be when it's warmer temperatures, but the ground still a bit wet, so your worm burdens. But then they're grazing, so a bit higher, so maybe they won't be picked up, but our user lactating.

They're pumping out, so there might be a bit risky, so that's an area, a time where we tend to be monitoring on the other side, summer if we get a whole load of those rainfall events. We seem to be getting a lot now. The summer weeds are springing up and it's the perfect conditions for them because everything else is gone. It's too hot. I'm not growing, I'm just waiting it out until autumn. It's probably a little bit barer, so they've got perfect opportunity.

They've got moisture and they've got space and they'll and they will bolt to seed really really quickly on you. So are you monitoring those paddings that you think might be risky for it? Red legged earth mites? Do you know the time periods of when they're floating around as well? And then 3.2 identification. Do you adhere to the NLIS legislation?

So we've heard that three times now so far, and this by security plan and iris and traceability is extremely important. And we're gonna keep that one coming home. It's like Kirsty's top tips, regularly monitoring crops and livestock. popping your diary. Make it a routine. Have you got something where you go jumping in the car or side by side or just going going on foot because it's good for your health as well.

I'm going to have a look at my livestock. I'm going to note that wool. Is like the black for clothes. Wool is a very good hider of poorcondition in sheep.  If they are in really more than kind of like three to four months, well, you've got to put a handle on them. You've gotta be doing proper conditions, scoring to know and weighing them.

Are they still growing? Are they in a good condition score? Have a look at your pastures. So you're doing your pasture assessments. How much feed have I got some doing my pasture plan? A couple of months. So these tasks, these are not things that you wouldn't normally already probably be doing.

But have you got a routine? Have you got a system? And where are you recording that information? Are you writing yourself a little notes? Like notice that? Some cute weed has turned up in a particular paddock, maybe underneath her.

I don't know sheep camp or something like that. Note to self to check again so that I know that it when it's at 10 centimeters kind of diameter or whatever you're perfect spraying for that weed that you can deal with it or order in some drench if that's what you're going to need. Make sure that those observations are linked to actions if needed.

Practice good hygiene. So I've got the a landmarking one. Here's a lot going on at landmarking time and are you being at like we all want to be fast and get through as many lambs in a day but. Spreading disease across those lambs isn't going to help the numbers. The numbers game in the end.

So are you using facilities? Are you keeping your gear clean in between the use of things? Keeping a record of all of your animal health treatments. The vaccinations, the drenches the chemical uses. Knowing you withholding periods, knowing your export, slaughter intervals, and not putting things on a track unless it's noted on the NVD very well that they're right to go. I'm reviewing your management practices.

Could you do a better fire? There's some been some amazing developments in this far as the tools and the systems that we can use to. To be more biosecure in our day-to-day kind of job, so just looking at stuff and going, could I do this better next time it comes around? What are the other animals on your farms? The dogs, the pigs, the chooks, the horses. What are the biosecurity risks that they might be bringing into the place?

Are you worming your dog so that we haven't got measles and hydatids and all those kind of yucky things that are going on into your sheep flock or the others? Have you got the pig food separate from the dog food and they can't get into it? Storage labels making sure that all of your chemicals have actually got a label on using them according to the labels, are they still in use by dates and we keep going on about those restricted feeds.

Please make sure that they are safe if you're a pig owner, you may have actually been audited. I'm I've, I've got pigs. We do our salami pigs because we live in the Northeast and it's a rite of passage and my local animal health officers came and ordered where I keep my pigs and where I stole their food and the dog food and stuff like that.

It was a really good conversation that we had to make sure that my systems and procedures in place meant that I was keeping everyone safe and got to have my salami at the end of the day.

Alright three production practices. Have you implemented practices that help protect your livestock from diseases endemic to your region?

The foot rot, and the foot scald and the Pestivirus? So a lot of this stuff links into an animal having an animal health plan. Do you seek advice from a vet or government officer in relation to unusual sicknesses?

We talked about it before. It's on the front page of your book. If something doesn't look right, who are you going to call? In the event of a disease outbreak, can affect it and suspect animals being isolated and treated in if necessary. I think this is a really interesting one, because when when an animal's unwell when we've got to do something with it, we tend to default to the yards and next time you put something on the back of the unit or side by side or in the trailer.

Just want you to stop and think if this is gone. Something dodgy that's picked up? Do I want to take this to the yards that is the area where all of my other animals are going to be coming through?

So maybe think about having somewhere else that if there's any wandering stock. If the neighbours sheep get in putting them in your yards for them to load them up might not be the best point of action. One on the on the. Properties that we manage that we use is. We have Kmart and I'm pretty sure that every farm has a Kmart. It's the place that you store all of that stuff that you swear is going to be useful.

One day of getting going so it's the gates and the bits of wire and the IBC units and the drums and the fence posts and all that kind of stuff we call Kmart because it's available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for our stuff. We have some portable panels set up there and that's where.

We treat suspect looking animals and where if the neighbours sheep or cattle get in we hold them there and we say that's where you pick them up from guys, because I don't, I don't want your things that I have no idea about the health status coming to my yards and potentially infecting my animals. So think about that on your properties.

There's somewhere that you could make as your isolation area if you needed to. So top tips, have you an animal health plan? I put here a picture of a like a big whiteboard. Everything going, it's got a farm map on it. It's got a calendar. It's got A to do list and things like that great visual one to have in your farm office about what to do so we remember.

Spoke to you about the best spot for an isolation area. If something doesn't look quite right and I think there's a little bit of crossover or confusion a bit at the moment about bio security plans and emergency animal disease plans.

And there are different things have been going, so an emergency animal disease plan identifies what you do in the case of a suspect or confirmed case of those emergency animal diseases, and it really is. It's a different rule book to your day-to-day type of thing with the endemic stuff that's floating around.

Don't see them very much. To be honest, in our broad scale broadacre agriculture type of thing, whereas those intensive animal industries the piggeries the poultry, the feedlots will most likely have an emergency animal disease plan in place because of the risk that they have on their property of those highly dense animals and a significant number of livestock movements coming in and out of the lives that happened. So different documents you can absolutely do NVD.

Plan if you would like talk to your vet, talk to your animal health officer. It's a different template. And I've got on here the notify now app. So we've talked about the emergency animal disease hotline. You can also download an app if that's more your thing. The beauty of that app when you want to notify a disease you so you can also attach images of that animal of what you've seen there and be able to send that one in. So however you want to contact us, us being the authorities, there is a system.

There is a process that's available. All right. Continuing the production practices, carcass manure and effluent management. Can you minimize the spread of disease and weeds through manure? It was. A key component in the UK for the spread of FMD was manure handling equipment.

They have a lot of animals in barns and things and they were sharing those front end loaders. Not so much here in Australia, but there is a lot on the side of contracting side of things and equipment that is used so making sure that they're nice and clean and manure, which is a pretty good host to all of these batteries that we don't want that they're free from it.

If you're spreading effluent on your paddocks. Leaving really good records of that and there are EPA requirements around it, so make sure that you're aware of them. Carcass disposal and household garbage areas contained and secured to prevent access by livestock, feral animals and wildlife as much as possible.

Skip bins with a lid are great because you can lock them down and those animals can't get into them, the winds can't get into them, they can't get blown over. I know it's not realistic for everyone, but having a think about if you've got really bins down the front gate. Can you set them up so they can't tip over or don't put dodgy stuff in them?

You shouldn't be putting carcasses in your wheelie bins the councils probably don't really want. That. Might be a sticker on the top that says not to do it. I know that it is a. Actually, when if you're using a group section called us The Dead Pit to be able to dispose of your livestock.

Is it fenced off so that your domestic animals can't get into there? Is it far enough away so that domestic animals like this gorgeous little Jack Russell puppy here? Who's got the bone you know when they turn up at the back door and they have a bone and you go? Where did that come from? We really don't want them bringing those bones back home. The animals have died.

There was obviously something wrong that's in there. If. It's the case. What can you do to limit access for animals to that dead pig and the last one that's on there about fences are the property fences, especially boundary fences, regularly inspected and adequately maintained to prevent stock from mingling or strain.

I hear a lot when I'm out on the road doing these about hobby farmers and everyone wanting to blame hobby farmers about the fact that their stock are wandering and getting out and around. And I say oh, what? What do you mean? Well, you know, they're fences are no good, and I said which fence, the boundary fence that I've got with them is no good. Ohh your boundary fence.

So really, looking at your fences if it's your business and your bio security plan and you're concerned about that as a risk, make sure that your boundary fence is up to date. You can double fence it so you can have it there. Not so great one and yours. It's a really good, strong secure.

You could plant out in between to try to minimize things coming across, like a Hotwire along it so that you can reduce that kind of stuff taking the ownership back onto yourself about going well. Maybe you can't control. Wandering animals, and for all they're going to be out there.

But can you reduce the likelihood that they come onto your property which you can control what's happening in there? Alright, so. Down to my little box of tips, what do you do with them in your when you clean out the yards or under the shearing shed? Where do you put that? Are you thinking about what kind of weeds might be in there or what kind of worm burden might still be existing?

Usually in the case of the stuff under the shed, the pH has gotten so high because it's been composting. That's probably not too much of a worry, whereas the stuff that's in the yards. Probably hasn't had that chance to break down, and I'd be being really thinking about where I'm going to put that.

Do you use the knackery truck if you've got animals that die? And if so, do you let the knackering truck that spends its life driving around picking up dead animals into your paddock? Or maybe, if you can, might be worth. Bringing the animal and meeting the Knackery truck closer to the front gate. Something like that.

Not letting not letting them come onto your paddock. Can you cover the disposal area to prevent access by domestic and feral animals? If you're putting something in a burial pit that you are concerned about all that that you've been advised by vets. State burial and then with a whole load of soil or cover some material over the top of it so that those Jack Russells or foxes or the carrion birds can't get to it is a really good idea.

So normally when you dig out those pizzas a pile of dirt there, so every now and then going through and covering everything over. Can help to reduce that risk? Then do you have a farm map that shows the boundaries of your property by security risk areas? Are there some spots that you're that are vulnerable or that that you like?

No, don't want you going there because like the dead pit, it's not a great spot. And is it clear for visitors? Is it in your head? Is it in the office or is it somewhere where they can see it? And have you communicated it to them where they can and can't go and what the risks are of those different areas? Pest and weeds.

Are there documented feral animal wildlife and weed control programs in operation, and do they include monitoring and management activities? There's a really big board statement that's there, and I think there's a. There's a lot in it. If we look at the feral animal side of things are you?

Do you have a control program in place that you regularly Beijing? Quite often people will have this documented in an integrated pest management plan, and if you're part of a few of those quality assurance programs like responsible wool standards, sustainable. I think of one another one anyway, they'll quite often be asking what your IPM is and and do you have one in place? And wildlife control programs were saying that some of some of these wildlife or animals can be vectors.

So have you got something in place to reduce the likelihood that they're coming on to your place? Weed control programs. Again, there's a lot of weeds and weeds. They can move so easily and spread so rapidly. So what do you know what you're looking out for? Do you know what your treatment options are and having them in advance? Maximize the effectiveness of the control program. Do you undertake these activities and coordination with neighbours and other local communities?

So not an essential, it's asking you that question. Do you have a chat with your neighbours and say I'm going to debating program, shall we all do it at this particular time and really wipe those out? Does your local land care or CMA? Do a gorse or this is Mexican feather grass or a program where once again you're all actively getting out there and helping to reduce the spread of it because sometimes you know. I'm sure we've all been in that case where you're like.

I've done my best to wipe out the Patersons curse on my place, but it keeps coming in from the neighbours. Well, let's work with those neighbours to hopefully reduce the spread just like Australia is doing with its international neighbours. We work with them to reduce the risk coming into Australia.

Umm, those commodity declarations do talk about weeds and the likes, and making sure that you're inspecting things before they come off the truck. I really think seeking the advice of what control options are around for pests and disease is a good idea to get there so that you know. Five  outgoing products are all livestock.

For transport, fit to load and selected to minimize potential welfare issues. Disease and or contamination spread through transport and they're all livestock leaving the property identified in accordance with the appropriate and I wanna standards. I think we're up to five times our in our Section four and we've talked about analysis five times. Traceability integral to bio security. So you fit to load guide. Have you got one?

Do you know what the standards are? I don't want to be putting unhealthy animals on a truck and sending them off to be someone else's problem and spreading that those biosecurity risks around. How do you check for a functioning NLIS device? It's an electronic device. They're getting going, so technically, just being in the year visually to be able to see it. Can you check for it or have you got a wand yourself?

Can you borrow one from your livestock agents and local agriculture Victoria offices around the state? We have ones that we're happy to loan out to people for occasional use if you're scanning them. Livestock on and off your place every couple of weeks you should probably get yourself a wand.

But knowing how to check if those tags are actually functioning. How to check movement off PIC report on the analyst device database? So this will show you the animals that have been moved off your property.

So when you sell them, you can check that the receiver move them off your database, and if they didn't do it, you can contact them because you know who they are.

They bought you animals or you can contact your agent if it was done through an agent and they were going to do the transfer to make sure that those things have happened. Six, it's a big one, but it's really, really important.

No point having a plan if no one knows about it. It's a bit like my husband and his wealth of knowledge that sits up all in his head. And I'm like if we don't get this out, no one's gonna be able to pass it on. Do all the personnel people responsible for management and husbandry understand their role in the implementation of the biosecurity practices on farm and how to identify sick and injured livestock?

Have you done an induction? Do you train your staff about what to look for and what to do? If you see something that doesn't look quite right? Do personnel responsible for management and husbandry know where to find contact details for the local vet or what to do in the emergency? Yeah, do hotline have you ensured that all personnel are aware of the importance of early detection and mandatory reporting?

So So what an auditor or someone will be looking for here is show me your training records. Have you got? An SOP or something like that that shows me that you had a conversation or session with your staff or the people that come on your property that you've talked about these things and then showed them what to do if something happens.

So training records are really, really handy to be able to make those kind of bids signage around. Your shared or your shearing shed can help communicate those kind of messages, documentation and record keeping. Do you record animal health activities and treatments? It is a requirement for LPA to have it. It can be as simple or as complex. You can do it in the farm diary as long as you record the information, you can have an app on your phone.

You can have a more complex software system. It doesn't matter as long as you do it. Find the system that works for you. Are you providing accurate NVD's and animal health declarations when you sell livestock? So you're asking for these information. Are you making sure that you're providing it when you sell? Are all vulnerable personnel working on the property vaccinated for identified risk diseases such as Q fever and tetanus and where appropriate, have stock been vaccinated to prevent animal to human transmission such as leptospirosis so talked about those earlier about the protection?

Why biosecurity is important? It is not just our livestock, it is our people that we have around us. And awareness about Q fever. There was a really I'm old enough, I know I don't look at I'm old enough to know when there were government programs around it. It was free at one stage to get Q fever vaccination.

I think it's dropped off the radar a little bit and we've got a generation coming through that that aren't aware of it. Definitely, if they're going through universities, tertiary organizations, they may likely be bringing it up for them, but as an employer, or if someone's coming to do work experience at your place, definitely be having that conversation about whether they've had Q fever.

It can be harder to get through some GPS because they just don't really know about it or it's an expensive little vial. And to do the test. So the first thing that they do is a reaction test so they crack open a vile scrape you with a tiny .5 mil check if there's a reaction, and then you come back a number of days later, and if there hasn't been, you get vaccinated and if they have they say you don't need to because you will, you'll have a hyper reaction. You'd overreact to it. Which is not healthy.

If you can get to what I call a processor town a town where there's an abattoir or somewhere where they're processing livestock sale yards as well. 95% guarantee that there will be a GP in that town that knows about Q fever vaccinations and probably has a thing a system in place where they go.

Yep, every two weeks we do queue fever vaccinations because that's when the process or the salad have got new stuff coming through and inducting. So it'll be available and it'll probably be cheaper than doing so. Definitely ask around. COVID vaccinations have been great because everyone's now actually accessing their immunities denies that immunization record before that. If you were asked when you had tetanus, you'd be like, oh, I don't know.

Maybe in year 10 or if you're accident prone. You've had one every 12 months because you every time you go to the AI you get it. But definitely know when you've had your last tetanus vaccinations. Know when your staff have had theirs and when they're due for boosters and the stock vaccination programs, are you using?

Boring ones, five in one 16170 ones, 18 ones. I think we're up to 10 in ones now. Talk to your vet about what vaccination program is appropriate for you and your business. And put to get that into your animal health plan. Last one, a property inspections for actual or potential bio security issues undertaken regularly, preferably by VET or Animal health officer doesn't have to be all the time.

Doesn't have to be every month, but if you think that you are a higher risk based on maybe lots of neighbours or lots of Ins and outs of livestock movements.

Seeking professional help getting someone else to having a look at your property and they might see something that you don't necessarily see, and they've probably got some really good suggestions about what you can do to manage it.

So keeping good records, stock movements and NLIS, visitor logs, animal health treatments, regular documented training. Definitely one that a lot of people when they're audited. Get a car, a corrective action request is that they have staff and they have no record. They've ticked the LPA boxes and the likes that they've trained their staff and they've got no records of training staff. So those induction records and the likes are really important, making sure everyone knows about your vicinity plan.

Don't just write it and leave it in the office and not tell anyone about it because people are not mind readers having this. Communication making biosecurity just like safety. Part of the culture in your business, it's just what we do. You know we keep things clean. No one's ever complained because someone kept a workshop or a vehicle or the yards clean.

Everyone's like yes you get employee of the month or employee of the month and there's a stack of templates that are available. So LPA accredited people there is there is a record keeping book that you can purchase. Off the website and get there. It's got everything in there and you can fill it out. Some people use that annually, they'll just write this as the 2022 book and they'll put all their information in there and they just file them away with the tax records each year or with the calendar ones.

You might want to make your own ones with Excel, and there are electronic versions available. You might want to use more third party apps and software systems. Doesn't matter what you use as long as you use something.

Last one and it's optional, so I'm just going to glaze over it. Johne’s for beef cattle accreditation scheme. Sorry. There's been various forms of  accreditation across the years of numbering systems and things like that.

This is the latest iteration that has come out called J-bas. And. If you need or want to be J-bas 7 or 8 which are higher levels up the scale, you will know because your customer would have said to you, you need to be j-bas 7 for me to be able to buy your livestock if getting going. So the first step is to check your score, know what you are.

There's a scale of getting going, Anna. There is a hyperlink in one of those ones, or if you Google it you will find it. That basically says if you've done testing, if you have a bio security plan for a certain amount of time, then you get a database score of a certain level. Most people, unless you've had. Johne’s diagnosed in your herd at some stage.

Most people are around about a six of getting going in there, but definitely not your score and then know if you need something higher and this is where you will need to bring in a vet and they will do that risk assessment.

They will talk to you about management plans about detection processes and things like that. Then they'll sign it off for you and it as long as you meet the criteria you'll have. A higher level of that J-bas score that's in there. But if you need it, you will absolutely know about it. But for most people it's it doesn't tend to come into a requirement.

So we know what the risks are, how bad they are, how they're getting on to our place. We've got a plan, we've talked about what we're going to do.

Now we need to actually do it. We need to put those plans into action. So what makes a really good biosecurity plan? Things that you can do, like a weight loss? Goal I feel like who like I'm gonna lose 10 kilos in a week?

Well, it's actually impossible like you can't do that. It's not achievable. It's not realistic. It's getting going. So finding the things. In your biosecurity plan that you can actually do that, you've got the time, the resources, the motivation to make it happen because in the end all of this part from those, really the traceability sort of things.

It's all optional, it's getting going. So what is it that you are going to do? What have you got already in place? And it was talking about those monitoring side of things. There's lots of things that you're probably already doing that you can write in the plan or tick off and go. I'm actually already doing that. I'm already checking.

Boundary fences because stock are too valuable to afford to have them wandering around these days, and we don't want them getting out on public roads and the likes. And make things everyday habits.

Doing those things repeatedly and wrote. Does all the same makes it part of your culture, but definitely doing things those regularly where it's just like this is what we do.

This is every Friday afternoon we wash the vehicles before we park them into the shed. We also fill them up because there's nothing worse than getting in a car on Monday morning and it's got 1/4 of a tank of fuel and you need to go a long way everyday. Habits that just make biosecurity part of what you do.

If you are going to do something different if there's something today that you've gone wholly Dooly Kirsty didn't even think about that really should have been doing it. I need to make that happen tomorrow. How are you make that happen? What are what's the things that you need to implement those changes if you're going?

Focusing on what's important to you and what's within your control, there is a lot of angst and concern out there at the moment, with foot-and-mouth disease. At the moment the risk is, at borders and there is a lot of investment and resources being directed towards their back at home on your farm.

There's a lot of endemic diseases and pests and parasites and weeds that are out there that you can absolutely do something about today and that are impacting your Business Today.

So focusing on them, what's in your control, what's important? Record keeping. And I'll say again again, no one likes paperwork. But when you're looking for that receipt for that thing that you bought four months ago and you've got a good filing system that you can pull that information up, you get the best rush of endorphins. You're like. Gee, I'm so good. I did that good.

If you get audited and they say, show me, show me the record of when you inducted your staff and you go, got that? You're here, it is everything going ready to go when you're filling out that MD and it says, are these animals within and withholding period in like, what it could be, yeah, but hang on a minute. I've got a record here. I've got our animal health treatment log. Nope. They're all good to go.

All those things will make your life easier and simpler of getting going. It will help you communicate within your business when you're talking to the agent. When you're talking to other people and. All of those records are what feeds through to to Victoria and our national Biosecurity plan and our traceability systems.

You keeping those animal health records is what means that we pass national audits and there are national audits on food residues. There's collections that happen through abattoirs.

There's audits of the NIH database. Your actions contribute to Australia as a whole. Getting a tick to say we are doing what our traceability and our biosecurity plan says and that keeps it market. Access so your little thing on the farm.

Does a whole world of good for everyone else in Australia. A good biosecurity plan should also have a map and everyone loves a good map. It is part of an LPA, A requirement to have one.

We've got some training programs coming up here at AgVic using QGIS, which is a free mapping program where our amazing clam has set up layers around biosecurity so you different colors, different icons, different shapes to go. These are affluent areas. These are these poor farms. Little bit catastrophic, wasn't it? As far as they've got? Spills and stock disposal and rubbish dumps and they've got somewhere where the wild dogs are, but you get the idea so that you can create that layer and communicate to people where they go and no go zones are or where you dispose of things as needed.

So keep an eye out for us. If you're interested, shoot someone an e-mail. And we'll try to get them scheduled for you. Useful apps download the notify now app. Pop it on your phone download if you haven't already got it.

The Vic Emergency app and if you go into the setting so you've set up your watch zone is the first bit and depending on how many alerts you want to get, is how big that watch zone is going to go into the settings and there is a toggle switch to turn on and apologize.

I didn't do the  screenshot. Emergency animal disease alerts. So when people say, how will I know if something happens? First of all, if you're a property owner through the PIC database, we will be able to contact you e-mail phone.

Text messages the other way for everyone in Victoria and beyond. Who downloaded this app is through the Vic Emergency app, so definitely get that one. I live near a lake. It's an inland freshwater, but I've got turned on shark warnings cause maybe one day I'll get one to come in.

But there's a lot of information that that we can pass on recently, for the Varroa mite response and the Vic emergency app, there's alerts in there for people we've used during the Japanese encephalitis.

The JE response with pigs up through the Murray NE area. Anyone such as myself who was a registered PIC owner? Pig owner with pigs on their pigs received an alert to say that the that Japanese encephalitis had been detected. What the signs were and who to call if you had any suspect issues about it.

So there's a number of ways we can communicate with you, and we absolutely will do if it's necessary, and there's a number of ways that you can communicate with us if you need to. Barriers to action.

We always we always do this. I'm in an adoption team and when I was like what's this? It's easy to say people should be doing something and we and we sit back and Lyndon smiling at the moment we say. But what's the thing that's stopping them? And this is what we hear. I can't control everything, so why should I even bother?

Well, there are absolutely things in your control and we went through at the start. The four things that you can do around. PIC traceability, good record keeping and having a bio security plan. Most of those things that go into that bio security plan is said. You're probably already doing as it is. It's just good  management. It's good, best practice.

It's good communication with your staff and with your contractors and the other people around you. So you can do it easily and you do need to do it for those other reasons of the greater good of the industry. Some of those things that you're doing, it might just need a little bit of tweaking.

You might be close, and there's just a little bit more to do that can make it work better. It won't happen to me. I have a closed herd or flock. And I've heard that so many times, and unfortunately, in my completely unqualified opinion and Rosemary, things don't know if the concept of a closed herd or flock actually exists anymore. If we have windborne diseases and pests and weeds.

How can you be closed are you? Is there no genetic contribution into that herd at all? Are you not buying in Bulls or Rams or the likes? Do you not have neighbours or have you got abs like have you got a wall built around your property? I don't know if that really exists and maybe lulling you into a false sense of security about what risks exist.

So definitely have that biosecurity plan. What if my closed herd flock  is compromised? What can you do? Perhaps that's the scenario? Are you buying in fodder? Are you bringing contractors? In which case you are not a closed herd.  Flock. It's too hard and complicated.

Yes, there is a lot into it. Yes, there is a lot of paperwork. Yes, there is a lot of things to do. I'm pretty confident that no one's farming or being in agriculture because it was a simple and easy, straightforward thing to do. We're in an industry that we're a food service industry. We're providing a product in general that people are either going to eat or that they're going to wear in close contact, or we're providing grains that people are going to eat or that that livestock are going to eat.

So thinking about your role in the food supply chain or in the commodity chain and how important that is. That biosecurity contributes to our food being safe to eat for people for our markets to be trusted that they're not contaminated, that there aren't residues.

There aren't issues in it. There's a lot on the web. There's a lot of databases and things like that to use now, and we definitely would like to help you along. So I've got here that we run and in the last four years we've run 60 workshops and webinars about NLIS database training. Of getting going. We do them around the state we come to you. Keep an eye on the AgVic events website.

There's 10 or 12 NLIS database training and face to face biosecurity workshops that are coming in. We've got videos that we've made, there's user guides. So however you want to learn whether it be online, face to face or reading, we try to create a product that works for you. Last one, you've got a plan, you've started it, but you've gotta be distracted and things have faded off.

Monitoring and reviewing your on farm biosecurity plan. Regularly sorry at the back of that front page it said every 12 months. Maybe for your business it might need to be more often, or you might make a choice to do it more often because you wanna keep it front of mind, front and centre. It's also important to do it when things change.

Maybe you're going in a different direction with your breeding program. Maybe you've bought another farm. Maybe you're adjusting or leasing livestock out elsewhere. Think something's changed. Maybe you've got new people that have come into the business and new processes. Have a look at it. Does it still apply? Are there things we need to change records, records records? Are you keeping those records? Check back with your bio security plan. What have we said we were going to do? Are we keeping the records?

That means that we can show that we are doing that. I've said it before. Find a system that works for you and meets your requirements so that you do it. Monitoring, monitoring, and reporting anything suspicious.

If it doesn't look right call EAD watch hotline, there's also the exotic plant pest hotline. It's the plant version of the EAD while I'm on the EAD hotline here, if you do ever have the case, there's a reason to call it. Stick with it. Have pen and paper with you when you're about to call. There's a few effectively kind of triaging questions that they go through at the start. The first one is to establish if you're actually calling about an emergency animal disease.

Unfortunately, the 1st 2 words does lead to people thinking that it's the number that you call if you hit a kangaroo on the road and there's a live Joey in the pouch or there's a possum in the roof. So they just checked through to go. Are you actually reporting an emergency animal disease, or do you need to go to another organization service provider?

Eventually, after you've pressed the numbers a couple of times as you go through the options, you will go to a real person who is on duty and holding the EAD hotline phone at the time, but hold with it getting going. There's just we need to work out. What kind of issue it is,  whereabouts it is and who's the right person to get at the end of the line.

Where will you go from here? What will you need to do? So I've done now two hours of Kirsty throwing a whole load of information out there to you. We've gone through you've ticked the yes no or NA boxes in your plan.

Hopefully you've scribbled down a few things. I'm really keen to know. What, what, what are you intending to do? What's the stuff that you've gone? Yeah, probably should make a change. Probably should try to do something.

You're definitely gonna do your pics. Make sure they're up to date. You're definitely gonna do your NLIS transactions and requirements. Make sure those records are kept and you buy a security plan when you're thinking about those things. Have you got the facilities set up that will help you do them? Is there anything that you need to invest in? Is there anything that you need to change?

So as I'm saying these things feel free to write them down as you go. Are there any systems that you need to put into place? Are you maybe at the moment using the head note book system?

And maybe you need to make something a little bit more formal. Use some of those templates, develop an induction process for staff, contractors or visitor log. Is there something a system that you need to develop or work on? And most importantly, the people. No point having the facilities or the systems.

If the people don't know about them and don't know how to use them properly. So having those people around you part of the journey part of the process, they understand why biosecurity is important. Nationally, they understand why biosecurity is important for your property, for your business, will give them that motivation to do it properly.

Just telling people to do something if they don't. For them, if it's like it's just for the sake of it, you're just telling me because you like to make paperwork or you like to just give me jobs to do. Bring them on board.

Let them know why it's important for you and your business. Sorry, I was gonna use the chat box but we won't do that because we can't do that unfortunately. So we'll go to that plan. I would love if you can put into the questions something that you're going to do today there's. I'm sure everyone's sitting here today. There's been one thing it might be a little. It might be really big.

You might be talking to someone you might want to get a  quote for something. You might want to investigate some software systems. Can you put into the Q&A for me? One thing that you're going to do today, so we'll leave a bit of a little bit of time for that.

The Q&A is sitting there. I kind of for me. It's like the first thing that you're gonna do. So while that's there I'll just have a chat. So much information is available for you. Agriculture Victoria website if you want to know what's happening in the FMD space. What's things to look for, what to do? There is a whole section that's been created around that there's fact sheets in there.

And importantly, there's FAQ's. We're getting a lot of questions about those little top that when I say. Little, it's not to domain them, but really specific topics. They're constantly being updated. Those FAQs as these themes or these questions come through, so have a look at them. Go back and refresh them. You might find that the answer to your question there.

You will also find traceability and biosecurity information on our website.  Farm biosecurity resources that farm that's animal health. Australia and Plant Health Australia.

Their website that contains that information integrity systems have a whole load of information about LPA and  the requirements for it. The different modules, there's support videos, there's templates that are available on there. And we have one here because biosecurity, in particularly at the moment, is raising some levels of stress and concern for people.

And if you are feeling concerned or anxious, or if you are concerned about someone and things you please, contact a support agency. We've got here. Beyond blue, there are a number of other ones out there available, National Centre for Pharma Health has some really good resources about how you can support people in the process.

The way you can go for help, so really encourage you to use those services if you need them, or if you think someone else needs them. Where will I go from here? No point, just giving you a security plan.

Do you need some follow up actions we will send out an e-mail in a short but yet undetermined time frame. Before next week for sure, with these key information and the resources, the stuff about that traceability, where you can go for templates, links to everything.

If you want to keep in the loop with us at the networks, this will best slam and better beef. We have a monthly newsletter called the Networks Newsflash. You can subscribe to it on the agriculture Victoria website. It contains events and activities that are happening either online or face to face across the state.

We have technical articles that go out there, group profiles if you want to know what other people are doing around the area. So it's a great spot to find out information. About what's happening around.

You can have one sheep or you can have10,000 sheep where you don't mind come in and sign up to the newdflash. If you're looking for more general information, the agriculture Victoria events page is where all of the events and activities that we do are advertised.

So again, keep an eye on that for any workshops and webinars that are coming up. So what have I got? We've got some biosecurity planning workshops around the state. They're all on the events page. We've got NLIS database and traceability workshops that are also going out around the state in August and September, and we have got an online NLIS database training that's pencilled in for around October.

Page last updated: 20 Feb 2024