Livestock biosecurity extension program
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Livestock biosecurity extension program
Lead organisation: Livestock SA
Hub members and partners involved: Biosecurity SA
Project Category: Innovation Activities
Project summary: 

This project is focused on National Ag Innovation Agenda Priority 3: ‘World leader in preventing and rapidly responding to significant pests and diseases through future-proofing our biosecurity system’. The program focuses on biosecurity planning and helps address regional livestock biosecurity issues. This is delivered through a facilitated peer-to-peer process and features a one-on-one coaching element to provide individual tailored support to accelerate and achieve measurable practice change, thereby enhancing on-farm biosecurity practices. Livestock SA is facilitating workshops with livestock farming businesses across three regions.

Project description: 

Livestock producers in South Australia are facing an increasing threat from livestock diseases, both exotic and endemic, necessitating improvements for effective biosecurity measures. While a significant number of livestock producers (89%) have established farm biosecurity plans, there are challenges hindering the implementation of these. These include a lack of knowledge on how to implement the plans, perceived onerous requirements, and procrastination.The Livestock Biosecurity Extension Program was designed to address these challenges and help facilitate SA livestock producers to better understand livestock disease issues and enhance their on-farm biosecurity, including the development and implementation of farm biosecurity plans. The program included workshops conducted in partnership with local farming groups, including the Fleurieu Farming Systems (FFS), Agriculture Kangaroo Island (AgKI), and High School agricultural teachers.

Tailored workshops were crafted to cater to the specific needs of each group, and expert speakers were invited to present and engage with participants, fostering a peer-to-peer learning environment. Over eighty attendees across the workshops gained insights into a wide range of topics, including farm biosecurity, footrot management, emergency animal disease preparedness, traceability, lamb survival, and biosecurity for livestock showing.

Participants delved into livestock biosecurity planning, learning how to manage issues like footrot through effective planning, risk identification, risk management, and the establishment of biosecurity zones on their farms to protect high-risk areas.

To facilitate the development of on-farm biosecurity plans, participants received valuable tools such as risk management templates, livestock farm biosecurity plan templates, and disease guides for cattle, sheep, and goats. Beyond the workshops with farming systems groups, additional biosecurity workshops and talks were conducted across South Australia, expanding the program’s reach to an estimated additional 200 participants.

Participants benefited significantly from direct interactions with expert speakers, including veterinarians, who provided them with practical advice and current information on managing and preventing livestock diseases. They were also equipped with the knowledge and resources to implement effective farm biosecurity practices and develop biosecurity plans tailored to their properties.

The acquired knowledge will not only protect participants’ farms from diseases but also extend to neighbouring properties and other livestock producers, preventing disease introduction and spread. These program results have positive implications not only for the participating South Australian livestock producers but also for the broader South Australian livestock sector.

The knowledge gained from the program could be immediately implemented on farms, as the information provided was practical and required no additional tools or equipment. Participants were encouraged to review their farm biosecurity plans annually to ensure they remain up-to-date and relevant.
The project also offered coaching sessions for participants looking to fine-tune their biosecurity plans and improve on-farm practices. As a legacy of the project, Livestock SA’s Biosecurity Extension team will continue to support South Australian livestock producers through coaching to implement farm biosecurity practices and developing biosecurity plans.

For future programs, Livestock SA aims to collaborate more closely with coordinating groups, offering flexible delivery methods and targeting one-day sessions at existing peer-to-peer groups to focus on their biosecurity planning. This approach will further enhance the adoption of biosecurity practices and plans among livestock producers in South Australia.

Key achievements and results: 

The Livestock Biosecurity Extension Program successfully conducted workshops in four regions of South Australia, including the Fleurieu Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, Mount Barker, and the Southeast. Additionally, a webinar was made available to all livestock producers.

These workshops and the webinar featured a total of twenty-five expert speaker sessions, covering a wide range of topics relevant to producers in each respective region. The combined attendance at these workshops and webinars exceeded eighty-five individuals, with the majority, accounting for 89% of the attendees, being producers. Among the producers, 37% were involved in sheep and cattle production, 33% specialised in sheep production, and 15% focused on beef cattle production.

Furthermore, the program extended its support by providing one-on-one, personalised farm biosecurity planning coaching to five livestock producers in South Australia. This tailored coaching aimed to help these producers implement effective biosecurity measures on their farms.

Key results included:
– All participants were involved in a biosecurity planning workshop and many updated their biosecurity plans at the event
– 5 producers undertook biosecurity coaching, to tune up their biosecurity plans on farm
– The feedback was overwhelmingly positive for each activity that was delivered by the program
– Peer to peer learning was highlighted as a bonus for participants

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