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Biosecurity is a series of management practices designed to prevent, minimize or control the introduction and spread of plant pests, including diseases, weeds and insects. Biosecurity is widely used in the livestock industry, but is still a relatively new concept in the grains and oilseeds industry. These practices have particular value in preventing the introduction of new diseases, weeds and insects. Information on how to implement on-farm biosecurity standards for all crop pests can be found in the National Voluntary Farm-Level Standard for the Grains and Oilseed Industry document.
Most biosecurity protocols centre on preventing the movement of soil and plant material, such as seed, root fragments and residue, which may result in the movement of a crop pest. The strategies outlined below are recommendations for clubroot prevention, but could be used to prevent other soil-borne diseases and crop pests.
Clubroot is a soil-borne disease, which means the clubroot pathogen overwinters in the soil and can be spread any way that soil can be moved. Wind and water erosion, as well as wildlife, are potential vectors as these processes move soil. However, the largest potential vector for spread is through human activity, including field machinery, vehicles and other activities, such as walking. This risk increases when fields are wet.
For clubroot prevention, the focus should be on preventing the movement of infested soil through any activity conducted on agricultural land. Not all activities have the same level of risk. Activities that move large volumes of soil and activities that move soil directly from clubroot-infested areas are considered to have the highest risk. The biosecurity requirements required will vary depending on the risk.
On a farm, complete sanitation of equipment will not be always be practical or required. Below are some practical recommendations that can be used to minimize the risk of introducing clubroot or other crop pests when working in fields.
Agronomists and others working on agricultural land also have a risk of moving clubroot. This risk increases when working on multiple farms over a large geographic area. Many of the recommended practices will be similar to those mentioned above. When possible, avoid driving into a field and instead walk into the field to complete your work.
When completing field work as an agronomist, it is a good idea to have a biosecurity kit on hand. The following items should be included:
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