The importance of livestock biosecurity is being highlighted by the Department of Agriculture and Food at this year’s Dowerin Machinery Field Days.
The department will have an on-farm food safety trail to remind livestock producers about potential on-farm risks so they can safeguard animals from harmful residues.
Department veterinary officer Skye Badger said keeping livestock free of harmful residues was critical to maintaining WA’s access to domestic and international markets.
“Active membership of Australia’s on-farm red meat food safety program Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) is recommended for all WA cattle, sheep and goat producers.
“LPA helps producers to manage residue risks by requiring members to adopt and maintain responsible farming practices,” Dr Badger said.
“DAFWA’s on-farm food safety trail at Dowerin will highlight six key areas to prevent residues in livestock.
“These are joining LPA, completing an on-farm risk assessment, keeping accurate chemical records, providing safe feed, fencing rubbish dumps and making sure livestock are identified correctly and recorded in the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS).”
Dr Badger said the LPA not only benefited the individual producer but the industry as a whole by strengthening Australia’s enviable reputation for producing some of the world’s safest red meat.
“For example, keeping records of chemical use will ensure producers are aware of withholding periods that need to be adhered to before sending livestock to abattoir or to export,” she said.
“This protects both human health and export markets.
“Asking for a commodity vendor declaration when buying feed minimises the risk of exposing livestock to agricultural chemical residues.
“Not feeding swill to pigs will help prevent diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease entering Australia. Likewise, and not feeding restricted animal material such as chicken pellets to cattle, sheep and other ruminants will help prevent a disease like mad cow disease occurring in Australia.
“Making sure you have an accurate record of stock movements is vital in the event of a disease outbreak when tracing is required to determine its spread.”
The department’s on-farm food safety walk will also be part of the activity trail for school students at the Dowerin Machinery Field Days on August 27-28.