A new on-line portal, OneBiosecurity, has been launched at the Eyre Peninsula Field Days, to help the state’s livestock producers manage, protect and promote their on-farm biosecurity.
The voluntary program has been four years in the making by PIRSA in consultation with Livestock SA.
SA sheep, beef and dairy producers are being encouraged to create a profile which can then be accessed by other producers, as well as agents and abattoirs buying stock.
It gives information on a producer’s flock or herd status for a range of diseases, including ovine johnes disease, footrot and lice.
Fifty producers have tested the innovative program in the past six months.
Biosecurity SA chief veterinary officer Roger Paskin hopes it will be the start of a new “biosecurity culture”, moving from government regulation to producers being responsible for their on-farm biosecurity.
“When I came to SA there was a plethora of disease control programs which needed to be condensed into one but the biggest thing was to build a system to keep SA at the forefront of biosecurity,” he said.
Dr Paskin is confident of getting a critical mass of producers to participate despite the program being voluntary.
“We know that about 3000 producers produce 80 to 90 per cent of the product so hopefully we can get many of these into the program.”
“We are working with the processors and within a few years it will be difficult for producers to gain access to markets without being in the One Biosecurity program.
Dr Paskin does not foresee issues with producers making false declarations but says the scoring system will be verified against PIRSA’s farm biosecurity database.
PIRSA staff will also undertake random and targeted on-farm assessments.
“It is not about giving hard nosed orders but helping producers to assist them to improve their on-farm biosecurity practices,” he said.
“There is a lot of interest from neighbouring states looking at One Biosecurity and overseas countries looking for something similar.”
Primary Industries Minister Tim Whetstone says it is a great way to protect the state’s $5.5 billion livestock industry through increased traceability of stock movements and minimising the spread of diseases.
But he says economic gains could also flow to individual producers with SA processors key to underpin their product with the One Biosecurity logo.
“Producers are being paid a premium price but for that they need transparent disclosure to customers which One Biosecurity program gives,” he said.
Livestock SA president Joe Keynes says it will place the SA livestock industry as a leader in meeting market expectations for transparency and traceability both in Australia and overseas.
“Agents and prospective buyers will also be able to use the One Biosecurity portal to search for sellers of a specific class of animal or with a specified biosecurity status – allowing them to make safer, more informed livestock purchasing decisions.