Things to con­sider on the farm

There has been a lot of talk about farm biose­cu­rity since the sign­ing of the Gov­ern­ment In­dus­try Agree­ment (GIA) – but what ac­tu­ally is farm biose­cu­rity and what are grow­ers ex­pected to do?


Farm biose­cu­rity in­cludes a range of man­age­ment prac­tices and ac­tiv­i­ties that are car­ried out on your prop­erty to pre­vent the en­try and spread of pests. Ul­ti­mately, farm biose­cu­rity is about pro­tect­ing your liveli­hood, that of your neigh­bours and your in­dus­try. Farm biose­cu­rity is your re­spon­si­bil­ity, and that of ev­ery per­son work­ing on or vis­it­ing your prop­erty.

When sign­ing up to GIA, there was a com­mit­ment to rais­ing aware­ness of biose­cu­rity and how it can be mon­i­tored and man­aged amongst the in­dus­try stake­hold­ers, mainly grow­ers. Farm biose­cu­rity is a prac­ti­cal way for all grow­ers to demon­strate aware­ness of and com­mit­ment to man­ag­ing biose­cu­rity.

Al­though im­por­tant, farm biose­cu­rity does not need to be oner­ous. There are more than likely a num­ber of ac­tiv­i­ties you al­ready un­der­take as part of your daily op­er­a­tions that con­trib­ute to your over­all farm biose­cu­rity. The fol­low­ing are ideas to con­sider in the con­text of farm biose­cu­rity. It may be that you al­ready have it cov­ered – if so, give your­self a pat on the back. If not, think about how you can im­ple­ment some of the fol­low­ing con­cepts into your day-to-day grow­ing op­er­a­tions. BE AWARE OF BIOSE­CU­RITY THREATS

Vir­tu­ally ev­ery grower in New Zealand can name fruit fly as a biose­cu­rity threat but do you know the pests or dis­eases of great­est threat to the potato in­dus­try? Pota­toes NZ Inc. has con­tracted Mar­ket Ac­cess So­lu­tionz to de­velop fact sheets for some of the pests that are the most likely to en­ter New Zealand and/or would have the most sig­nif­i­cant eco­nomic im­pact on potato grow­ers. These fact sheets can be found at http://pota­ En­sure that rel­e­vant staff are fa­mil­iar with pests you usu­ally as­so­ciate with your crop and prop­erty and those that they should be on the look-out for. Dis­play posters of pests nor­mally as­so­ci­ated with your crop and posters of ex­otic pests to look for.



Any plant ma­te­rial moved onto your prop­erty can be a po­ten­tial source of pests and weeds. Mon­i­tor any plant ma­te­rial, in­clud­ing seed potato tu­bers, that comes onto your prop­erty. En­sure you are sourc­ing high qual­ity tu­bers from a trusted source and in­spect prior to plant­ing for any signs of pests. Keep­ing records of plant­ings (and other in­puts) en­ables you to trace back (and for­ward) if nec­es­sary. Fer­tilis­ers, par­tic­u­larly or­ganic, can be a source of con­tam­i­na­tion e.g. weed seed.


Work­ers, vis­i­tors, ve­hi­cles and par­tic­u­larly equip­ment can spread pests onto and through­out your prop­erty. Mak­ing sure work­ers on your prop­erty are aware of hy­giene prac­tices for staff, equip­ment and ve­hi­cles raises the aware­ness of biose­cu­rity. This can eas­ily be in­cluded as part of staff in­duc­tions.

• Sig­nage can be put up to en­sure vis­i­tors are aware of any spe­cific hy­giene or biose­cu­rity re­quire­ments you may have. Use sig­nage to di­rect vis­i­tors where to park their ve­hi­cles.

• When pos­si­ble use your own ve­hi­cles to trans­port vis­i­tors around your prop­erty.

• Stay on es­tab­lished tracks. En­cour­age vis­i­tors to ac­cess your prop­erty by only one or two routes. Limit ac­cess to pro­duc­tion sites to re­quired per­son­nel.

• Don’t as­sume peo­ple know where to go or what to do when they ar­rive at your prop­erty. Make sure that on ar­rival, vis­i­tors (in­clud­ing

con­trac­tors) are aware of where they can (or can’t go) and any other re­quire­ments such as hy­giene, cloth­ing re­quire­ments etc. Pro­vide hand wash­ing fa­cil­i­ties, foot baths, dis­posal over­boots or over­alls (if nec­es­sary) for vis­i­tors.

• Potato plant­ing and har­vest­ing equip­ment can col­lect soil and plant de­bris which can carry plant pests. Clean­ing equip­ment will pre­vent any pests from spread­ing around your prop­erty or to other re­gions. Clean and/or dis­in­fect equip­ment be­tween crops and prop­er­ties. Dis­in­fect bor­rowed equip­ment be­fore and af­ter use.

• If you al­ready have or are con­sid­er­ing de­vel­op­ing clean­ing ar­eas, con­sid­er­a­tion should be given to:

Lo­ca­tion: Ide­ally an open area close to prop­erty en­trances and lo­cated as far as pos­si­ble from grow­ing ar­eas

Drainage: Are you able to have a sump or a waste wa­ter col­lec­tion area for drainage of wa­ter, soil and plant de­bris?

Size: Is there enough room for large ma­chines and ve­hi­cles to en­ter and move around?

Clean­ing equip­ment: Ded­i­cated high pres­sure hoses or com­pressed air clean­ers will make the clean­ing process more ef­fec­tive.

Sur­face: Con­crete or bi­tu­men is ideal. A grassed sur­face is not rec­om­mended due to the po­ten­tial for some pests to be spread by soil and on plant mat­ter.

Sig­nage: Clean-down ar­eas should be sign­posted and di­rec­tions pro­vided from the prop­erty entrance. This will en­sure vis­i­tors are aware of the clean-down fa­cil­ity and can re­port to it on ar­rival.


Know what’s nor­mal. Know­ing how your crop usu­ally ap­pears, what weeds may be present and what the signs and symp­toms of your usual pests and dis­eases look like will en­able you to no­tice any­thing un­usual.

Mon­i­tor your crops reg­u­larly, the fre­quency will be de­pen­dent of growth stage, weather con­di­tions, and pres­ence of pests or dis­eases. In­crease the level of mon­i­tor­ing if you have any con­cerns. This can be as sim­ple as a walk through the crop or part of a more for­mal crop mon­i­tor­ing pro­gramme. Take photos and keep records of any­thing un­usual. Early de­tec­tion of a new pest can greatly in­crease the chances of erad­i­ca­tion.

Fol­low in­struc­tions when ap­ply­ing agri­chem­i­cals. The mis­use of agri­chem­i­cals can lead to crops de­vel­op­ing re­sis­tance which can lead to on­go­ing biose­cu­rity prob­lems. If you sus­pect pes­ti­cide re­sis­tance, get ad­di­tional ad­vice from an agron­o­mist or chem­i­cal sup­plier.

Work with sick or sus­pect ar­eas last as this will min­imise the risk of spread­ing pests if present. De­stroy un­healthy plant ma­te­rial by bury­ing or burn­ing to en­sure in­fected plant ma­te­rial does not spread pests.


Sup­port and be aware of laws and reg­u­la­tions es­tab­lished to pro­tect the potato in­dus­try and other hor­ti­cul­tural in­dus­tries in your re­gion.


If you see any un­usual pests or plant symp­toms re­port them im­me­di­ately to the Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries (MPI) Ex­otic Pest and Dis­ease Hot­line: 0800 80 99 66.

On the PNZ Inc. web­site (http://pota­ you can find a num­ber of in­for­ma­tion sources:

• A Farm Biose­cu­rity Plan.

• A Farm Biose­cu­rity Best Prac­tice Check­list. Com­plet­ing the check­list will give you the op­por­tu­nity to see what you are al­ready do­ing and what you might want to con­sider in­clud­ing in your grow­ing op­er­a­tion in fu­ture.

• Ex­otic pest fact­sheets.

• Pest, dis­ease and weed mon­i­tor­ing and sur­veil­lance record­ing fact­sheets.

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