New online tool helps dairy farmers manage biosecurity risks.

Dairy farmers now have access to a new online tool to build their skills and adapt their management approach to biosecurity risks.

Developed as part of an industry collaboration between Dairy Australia and Agriculture Victoria, the biosecurity tool enables dairy farmers to create a biosecurity plan tailored to their farm, based on Dairy Australia's Healthy Farms Biosecurity Framework.

Dairy Australia technical and innovation manager Dr John Penry said it was important for all farms to have a biosecurity plan to manage disease risk.

"It's crucial for dairy farmers to maintain a biosecurity plan tailored to their herd and farming system," Dr Penry said.

"An outbreak of the diseases identified by the biosecurity tool could create significant and measurable losses in farm performance or the wider dairy industry.

"The biosecurity tool allows dairy farmers to manage their risks around 14 separate diseases such as salmonella and BVD."

For each disease, dairy farmers can identify control measures under the seven categories of stock movements, herd health, farm inputs, visitors, effluent and waste, neighbours and dead animals.

Agriculture Victoria development specialist Dr Sarah Chaplin said the new online tool would help farmers understand how to manage their own biosecurity risks.

"The control measures offered by the tool for each disease are evidence-based, based on the level of risk that you have chosen," Dr Chaplin said.

"Users decide what level of control they want to apply to different diseases with the tool's risk matrix.

"It's still subjective - it's up to the farmer to decide whether they consider the consequences minor, moderate or severe.

"Once the farm's specific animal health risks are identified, scientifically valid control measures are suggested."

Focused control measures have a better cost:benefit ratio than blanket application of all possible control measures.

Dairy farmers can access the biosecurity tool at biosecurity.dairyaustralia.com.au. Farmers already using DairyBase can use their existing login details.

Victorian dairy farmers will be the first to have access to regionally based workshops where a delivery approach will be piloted before national roll out of the biosecurity tool.

Source: Australian Dairyfarmers 3 October 2019