Biosecurity plans

Key Messages

  • African Swine Fever (ASF) and Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) continue to spread globally and in close neighbouring countries.  These diseases are not in Australia.
  • An emergency animal disease (EAD) outbreak will decimate Australian pig production and have devastating effects for pigs at commercial farms, hobby farms, farm stays, schools, sanctuaries, or that are kept as pets.
  • Understanding the importance of good biosecurity practices and implementing an effective biosecurity plan is the key to maintaining pig health and well-being.
  • A biosecurity plan is a document that clearly outlines the measures and strategies put in place to mitigate the risks of pests and diseases on your property. It can be tailored to everything from commercial piggeries to people who keep a few pigs.

Biosecurity planning

A biosecurity plan is a document that clearly outlines the measures and strategies put in place to mitigate the risks of pests and diseases on the property. It should address the range of potential disease pathways and risk factors and highlight areas to improve biosecurity.

A toolkit has been developed to guide pig producers in preparing robust biosecurity plans. The tools are designed to suit all levels of pig owners from the pet pigs to farm stays, hobby farms and own consumption and all commercial producers.

For commercial producers this plan will also meet the requirements of the updated standards under APIQ®, the premier quality assurance program for pig producers in Australia. APIQ® covers 90 per cent of Australia’s pork production and provides customers with assurance that high on-farm management, food safety, animal welfare, biosecurity, and traceability standards are in place.

The biosecurity plan toolkit can be accessed through Animal Health Australia’s Farm Biosecurity website.

The biosecurity plan toolkit was developed by a team from NSW Department of Primary Industries in consultation with the NSW Small Commercial Producer Group, Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Agriculture Victoria, Department of Primary Industries and Regions South Australia, Rivalea, SunPork Farms, Holyoake Consulting, Commonwealth ASF liaisons, and Australian Pork Limited.

If you would like assistance in developing a biosecurity plan for your farm, please contact Leah Starick Pig Health Project Officer

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The term biosecurity refers to all the strategies and measures taken to prevent the introduction, establishment and spread of new and existing diseases and pests.

People who own pigs or manage a property with pigs have direct control over biosecurity at the farm gate and what happens on the property itself.

Biosecurity is the best form of defence against both endemic and exotic pests and diseases. Pests and diseases can negatively impact on pig welfare, health and productivity, and may also pose a risk to other animals and people, lower the value of the pigs impacting on market value and international trade.

The biggest threat to the health of pigs and the Australian pork industry’s sustainability is an outbreak of an emergency animal disease (EAD).  An EAD outbreak can have a devastating effect on pig production and pigs kept at hobbies farms, schools, sanctuaries and those kept as pets.

African Swine Fever and Foot and Mouth Disease continue to spread globally causing significant impacts on the profitability of business, food supply, health and welfare of animals, mental health and wellbeing of people, and the employment of people throughout the supply chain including producers, veterinarians, nutritionists, feed supply businesses and transporters.  These diseases are not in Australia.

Although strict border biosecurity protocols help to keep Australia’s pigs safe from many diseases, farm-level biosecurity is one of the most important lines of defence.

Find out more about Emergency animal diseases, Foot and Mouth Disease, and African swine fever.

Everyone who owns, cares for, or works with a pig or pigs should understand biosecurity, the risks, and how they can implement practices to protect the health and wellbeing of their pigs.

Following some simple biosecurity practices can help keep your pigs happy, healthy and disease free while also assisting you in being prepared for an emergency animal disease incursion like African Swine Fever and Foot and Mouth Disease.

Developing a biosecurity plan will allow you to clearly outline the practices you currently implement on your property while addressing gaps and areas of improvement to protect your pigs.

There are numerous factors which pose a risk to the biosecurity of a farm or property and the pig or pigs living on it.

Other livestock: other livestock can pass or receive certain diseases to or from pigs. For example, Foot and Mouth disease can pass between cloven hooved animals including cattle, sheep, and pigs, whilst influenza can be spread or caught by poultry including chickens and ducks.

Sick or dead pigs: pigs can spread disease to other pigs through direct pig to pig contact, through shared food and water areas, or via genetic material including semen.

Feral pigs: domestic pigs, whether they are production animals or pet pigs, can be infected by diseases from feral pigs.

Dirty vehicles and equipment: pests and diseases can enter a property and be spread by equipment and vehicles either directly or in material or manure.

Pests and vermin: pest species, in particular birds and rodents, can carry diseases directly to pigs or could contaminate the pig’s food, water and bedding.

People: people, including farm staff, consultants, veterinarians, or visitors, can pose a risk to pigs through what they might carry on their boots, clothes, and skin. Some diseases including influenza can spread from humans to pigs.

Feed and bedding: feed, water and bedding that has been contaminated can carry diseases to pigs who consume or have contact with it.

A good biosecurity management plan will address all these risks.

Biosecurity plan toolkit

The biosecurity plan toolkit can be accessed through Animal Health Australia’s Farm Biosecurity website.  It includes:

Checklist for a simple plan

The checklist consists of answering Yes, No or Not Applicable to a series of questions relating to the practices currently in place to minimise and where possible, eliminate the risk of pest and disease introduction and spread.

This resource is best suited for home consumers, farm stays, high schools, rescue pig owners, and pet pig owners.  People who have a biosecurity plan under other quality assurance programs (ie Livestock Production Assurance program) may also use this checklist as it will cover risks directly related to pigs.

Template for a detailed plan

The detailed biosecurity plan follows the principles of the checklist with answering Yes, No or Not Applicable to a series of questions relating to the practices currently in place. The template encourages producers to detail the specifics of the management practices and how they are implemented on farm.

This resource is best suited for large and small commercial producers. A completed and implemented pig biosecurity management plan template meets the APIQ® biosecurity planning accreditation requirements.

Worked example of a detailed plan

The worked example is a completed biosecurity plan for a farm or property, showing what practices a producer may implement and how they detail this within the plan. For producers who are APIQ® accredited, the worked example clearly details the management practices and processes which comply with the APIQ® standards.

Information guide

The information guide is a tool to assist producers with developing their own biosecurity plan. It provides reasoning for implementing a biosecurity practice, and describes or lists activities, documents or processes that could be followed to adequately meet requirements for each biosecurity practice.

Farm record keeping templates

Several templates have been developed to assist you in keeping good records for activities occurring on your farm. These cover visitors to the farm, treatments, deaths, introductions, sales, pigs born, and pest control activities. The templates may be printed and filled in manually or kept electronically through an excel spreadsheet; whichever works best for you.

Excel™ recording template

Pig health and biosecurity record keeping spreadsheet (EXCEL - 23.6 KB)

Printable versions in Word™

Visitor record (WORD - 35.1 KB)

Death record (WORD - 34.5 KB)

Treatment record (WORD - 31.5 KB)

Farrowings and pigs born record (WORD - 16.0 KB)

Pest animal and rodent pest control record (WORD - 30.0 KB)

Pig movements – Introductions and sales record (WORD - 21.3 KB)

Page last updated: 12 Jun 2024