Pest warning amid field days

STAFF REPORTERThe West Australian

Field day participants over the coming months have been urged to ensure biosecurity remains a top priority to help safeguard WA's agricultural industries.

Department of Agriculture and Food grains biosecurity officer Jeff Russell said all field day organisers and participants should consider the impact of people and vehicle movements on and off properties.

"Most pests are spread through the movement of machinery, vehicles, fodder, seed and people. So it is in the interests of everyone involved in agriculture to reduce risks through some simple biosecurity practices at field days," Mr Russell said. "Biosecurity is the responsibility of every person coming onto a farming property, moving machinery about the State and or even coming in from interstate or overseas to visit.

"Fungal spores can survive for many days on clothing and footwear, so it is important to ensure these are clean before going onto a property."

Mr Russell said people moving machinery for demonstration purposes from location to location at field days should conduct a thorough clean down of tyres, front grills, radiators, wheel arches, sump guards and floor mats where seeds and dirt could lodge.

"The other biosecurity threat is from equipment travelling through green crops during the growing season. This has the potential to spread leaf diseases such as rust and other bacterial and fungal diseases," he said. "A simple clean down with water when leaving each location will limit the spread of pests. As an added precaution, a suitable non-hazardous disinfectant detergent can be applied."

He also suggested a dustpan and brush be carried in vehicles to clean the inside cabin before leaving each place.

"Use a stiff brush to clean the tyres. It is a good idea to carry a biosecurity kit in vehicles to provide cleaning equipment and to assist with cleaning any personal clothing, vehicles and equipment," he said. "All field day organisers and participants should be very mindful of adopting a "Come Clean, Go Clean" philosophy for the benefit of the whole industry."

Biosecurity Cleaning Kit

It is recommended that vehicles carry a biosecurity kit that includes:

Stiff brushes for cleaning tyres

Dustpan and brush for cleaning inside cabin of vehicles

Plastic/steel scraper for removing dirt from boots or weed seeds from tyres

A plastic footbath suitable for disinfecting boots

A minimum of 10 litres of water

An approved disinfectant material for cleaning down equipment/machinery (eg. Farmcleanse®)

Small hand sprayer to spray boots/clothes with a solution of methylated spirits and water (70/30) if staff are required to walk through crops

Personal safety gear such as rubber boots, rubber gloves, safety glasses, disposable overalls and boot covers (where applicable)

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