Weeds, pests and diseases can enter your farm and be spread by equipment and vehicles, either directly or in plant material, soil or manure. It is important to maintain equipment hygiene and ensure all vehicles that visit your property and access your production areas are clean of this material and are well maintained.
Knowing who has entered your property also allows possible sources of weeds, pests or diseases to be identified. Also, limiting the number of vehicle access points to your property by locking gates will limit the potential weed, pest and disease entry sites and allow you to monitor these areas closely.
- Limit the number of entry and exit points (one is preferable).
- Examine each vehicle entry and exit point for the risk they pose, particularly in relation to the distance from livestock and crops.
- Display biosecurity signs, with clear instructions and contact details, at vehicle access points.
- Clearly sign and lock restricted access areas.
- Keep a visitor register.
There is a range of resources available to help you to manage vehicle and equipment hygiene on farm. A few of them are listed here.
- Machinery hygiene, in the AgGuide series by NSW Department of Primary Industries
There are sections in this guide that define weeds, pests and diseases, how they can enter and spread on a property. Useful case studies for pests such as serrated tussock and grapevine phylloxera are also included to highlight the role of biosecurity practices as control measures. Other sections include how to inspect and clean vehicles and machinery, how to dispose of soil and plant material, and how to report unusual weeds, pests and diseases. There’s also a sample checklist for cleaning and inspection to make sure nothing is overlooked.
- Vehicle and machinery clean down procedures, by Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
This free publication tends to focus on cleaning vehicles to prevent the spread of weeds, outlining general clean down guidelines and basic cleaning for all types of vehicles including cars, trucks and 4WDs. Also covers specific instructions for particular types of vehicles, for example excavators, headers and harvesters, dozers and tractors. There’s also a video by Biosecurity Queensland – Weed out the seeds – how to clean down – that highlights some of the areas on vehicles to pay extra attention to when cleaning where plant material and weed seeds can accumulate.
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Image courtesy of Louise Rossiter