Biosecurity planning for organic enterprises

In August 2015, OBE Organic became LBN’s first commercial corporate advocate. Recognising the importance and need for biosecurity within an organic system, LBN and OBE have worked together to produce a biosecurity planning manual to assist organic enterprises in identifying and managing biosecurity risks on their enterprise.

Click here to download the Workbook.

The Workbook is about 3MB. You should be able to complete the Workbook digitally, but due to different versions of Adobe the downloadable file may not be able to be completed in soft copy. If this is the case, please print and complete with pen. The Workbook is broken down into six key sections for managing biosecurity risks on your property.  In effect, your biosecurity plan will be six pages of risk management actions: all the other pages in the Workbook are checklists and supporting resources to help you create these six pages.

Biosecurity backing for organic beef

Suppliers to OBE Organic Beef are leading the way in building biosecurity into their management plans, as a part of a new formal partnership with Livestock Biosecurity Network.

Queensland beef producers Michael and Terri-Ann Crothers are in the early stages of participating in the pilot project, which is  aimed at introducing biosecurity planning across the OBE group.

“Biosecurity is important for an organic property, but I think it’s important for everybody, especially in a country like Australia, where we don’t have a lot of the issues that they have in Europe and Asia, but we want to protect that,” Mrs Crothers said.Crothers LBN

“We’ve got people coming onto the property, we’ve got trucks, agents and visitors so we need to protect our product and our livestock and in doing so also be good neighbours, because a biosecurity issue is about agriculture as a whole and it’s important to look after one another.”

The Crothers manage the property ‘Gilling’, which is located 40km east of Goondiwindi and is part of Brook Pastoral. The property has been handling organic cattle for OBE for around six years.

They finish about 4000 head per year, with cattle coming in from other Brook Pastoral blocks at Birdsville and the Channel Country.

“Our organic beef is being bought by consumers in New York and Dubai, and it’s important to them – and in fact to everyone who eats food – that it comes from a healthy place and that producers are looking after their animals as well as their land. I think biosecurity is definitely a part of that,” Mrs Crothers said.

After meeting with LBN regional officer Dr Sarah-Jane Wilson, the Crothers have found that aligning biosecurity practices with their organic management plan will be easier than they thought.

“What we’ve found in those initial discussions with LBN is that a lot of what we are already doing through our organic management planning and auditing is actually very similar; there’s not a lot of adjustments,” Mrs Crothers said.

“We feel that it will flow on very easily from what we are doing as an organic property.

“There’s always going to be challenges – we can’t get out a spray a paddock like our neighbours might be able to – but there are other ways of managing.”

LBN’s northern region officer Dr Sarah-Jane Wilson said the movement of stock and fodder onto a property was a key risk point for all livestock producers.

“At Gilling we are working with Terri-Ann and Michael to look at the organic management plan that they have in place and see where we can boost elements of biosecurity in areas like livestock and fodder that may be coming onto the property, and the way they are managing their introduction period and quarantine periods for the livestock,” she said.

Dr Wilson said the partnership between LBN and OBE was about combining elements of biosecurity planning with their suppliers’ organic management plans, as a way to boost levels of biosecurity on farm.

“This is a really exciting opportunity for LBN having a formal partnership with influential commercial organisations in the industry like OBE, and we are looking forward to working with them and other producers in the future.”

  • More information on how to prepare an on-farm biosecurity plan is available at www.lbn.org.au