Category: National. Posted: 29 May 2018
THE FARM GATE IS THE FIRST LINE OF DEFENCE
The first line of defence against any biosecurity incursion is the farm gate. That’s the message from key biosecurity interest organisation the NZ Biosecurity Institute.
Institute president Darion Embling said right now a significant number of his members are working on a variety of aspects relating to the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis.
“The NZ Biosecurity Institute is asking everyone to support its many members involved in eradicating the disease,” Mr Embling said.
“We need everyone to be an ally in this, particularly farmers and rural contractors.”
He said farm gate biosecurity means paying special attention to all biosecurity risks when entering and leaving a farm.
He said every day his members fight to keep all unwanted organisms from harming the country’s production sector, and its biodiversity. In most cases this involves controlling pests and diseases which are already here.
“But we can stop their spread,” he said.
In relation to the present Mycoplasma bovis outbreak, Mr Embling said his members are “out there” working really hard and doing their jobs extremely well.
“Everyone has a responsibility to help them, and to ensure we are all heading in the right direction.”
His message is; for everyone visiting farms to be aware what they may or may not be harbouring on themselves, their equipment, and their vehicles.
“Pathway is a term used frequently regarding biosecurity. It is just as it suggests - a pathway that pests can use to move about and spread,” he said. In many cases pathways are on people or the equipment particularly equipment used outdoors. This is why vigilance is so important. We don’t want any unwanted hitchhikers.”
Mr Embling said some of the country’s most invasive plant pests have become life sentences for landowners. Unlike bovine Tb or Mycoplasma bovis, which could be eliminated by slaughter if necessary, certain plants are here to stay and require constant control and vigilance. Some of the worst examples he mentioned are Chilean needle grass, velvetleaf, field horsetail and alligator weed.
“There’s a large list but our best line of defence in most cases in this the farm gate,” he said.
“As a country we have not managed to catch such pests at the border but at least we can manage the spread,” he said.
The NZ Biosecurity Institute is the professional training and networking organisation for people involved in all aspects of biosecurity including pest animal and plant management, and border control. Its members work for research organisations, educational institutions, regional councils, government departments and private organisations. All are involved in protecting NZ from invasive species.
Mr Embling said every year Institute members spend hundreds of hours controlling or managing the risks to the economy and the environment of the effects of introduced pests.
“This is work which costs the country hundreds of millions of dollars each year through control, research and border control budgets. This money is coming out of all New Zealanders’ pockets,” he said.
NOTE FOR EDITORS
For more information please contact: Darion Embling: (07) 859 0790 | 021 605 029 Media enquiries please contact: Chris Macann, Editor, Protect Magazine - The Magazine of the New Zealand Biosecurity Institute, phone 03 34 99 660 | 021 878 001