The combination of measures used to avoid a pest incursion or respond to a pest incursion with the objective of protecting biodiversity is often referred to as "biosecurity".
Maintaining farm biosecurity is critically important to protecting forages and livestock from unwanted diseases. Domestic and international trade in products from deer could be seriously jeopardised if deer herds are infected with certain diseases.
At the highest level, biosecurity is about the protection of New Zealand's economy, environment and people's health and social and cultural wellbeing from pests and diseases. It includes trying to prevent new pests and diseases arriving, and eradicating or controlling those already present.
To the deer farmer, 'biosecurity' means rules and actions designed to protect a population from unwanted organisms that affect pasture and/or livestock at a national, regional and individual farm level. It involves the systematic adoption of practices designed to keep out pests and infections.
Biosecurity is therefore about managing risk to prevent the introduction of diseases to an enterprise and to prevent the spread of disease between farms or to a disease free area. It is important to carry out on-farm practices in a manner that reduces the risk of spreading unwanted diseases, and maintaining vigilance so as to be able to detect unwanted diseases.
Infection may be introduced onto a farm through the following things:
- New Stock
- Vehicle/People movements
- Infected wild animals and wildlife entering boundaries
For detailed information, see the 2013 Drystock Biosecurity Guidelines >>
Biological diversity, or “biodiversity” for short, describes the variety of all biological life — plants, animals, fungi, and microorganisms — the genes they contain and the ecosystems on land or in water where they live. It is the diversity of life on earth.
Ecosystems provide us with products and services. For example:
- Biodiversity in the ground provides healthy soils to grow food
- Insects pollinate the plants we use for food and break down organic material
- Forests clean the air we breathe and provide soil stability
- Wetlands control floods and filter pollutants
- Many plants and animals also provide us with medicine and help control diseases
Because of this, healthy ecosystems are important economically and culturally.
Healthy ecosystems are important in Māori beliefs and customs. Mauri is the life-force or health of ecosystems and when the environment is degraded the mauri is affected which in turn affects the well-being of the local people.
Pests are unwanted plants and animals that have significant impacts on our environment, economy and our people. Pest animals and pest plants can threaten agriculture, animal and human health and New Zealand's natural ecosystems. By affecting the environment, pests threaten biodiversity.
The Ministry for Primary Industries ('MPI'), working with DINZ, Beef+Lamb NZ, Dairy Companies' Association of New Zealand and Dairy NZ has undertaken a 'hazard identification' of the exotic pests that pose risks to key pastures used on our livestock operations. Although this is not a full risk assessment, if you are interested in learning about the types of pest that have caused loss and damage in pastures overseas and the pathways by which they could enter New Zealand, click here >>
MPI has also written a technical paper assessing the ways that different entry pathways for pasture pests into New Zealand are managed by the current biosecurity risk management system. If you are interested in the pathway assessment, click here >>
Responsibilities for Managing Pests and Weeds
Biosecurity responsibilities are shared between central government, regional councils, industry and landowners. This page will provide readers with a better understanding of the role of the various parties.
In 2005, responsiblities for the development of a national biosecurity system were allocated to Biosecurity NZ, a new department within the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. This includes developing improved systems for border controls, surveillance, incursion response, biosecurity science and management of high-risk pests. The Ministry for Primary Industries has now taken over this responsibility. For further information, see the biosecurity section of the Ministry's website >>
The Government has also maintained national legislation designed to protect biodiversity. The Biosecurity Act 1993 guides pest management in New Zealand. It has two main purposes:
- Border control and surveillance to keep pests out of New Zealand.
- Management of pests that have already established.
Regional councils (and unitary authorities such as Tasman District Council) are responsible for management of pests in their region through the development and implementation of a Regional Pest Management Strategy.
Regional councils are empowered under the Biosecurity Act to take action protect biodiversity in the regions they control. Most regional councils have a regional pest management strategy to govern the pest management decisions and operations they take. Some regional councils have regional pest management plans that systematically set out the operations the regional council will take. Take a look at the regional pest management strategy applicable to your area here.
Some industries, such as the NZ Forest Owners Association, have developed their own biosecurity systems that focus on the early detection of pests.
Landowners are responsible for managing pests that are listed in the Regional Pest Management Strategies, on the land that they own. To find out what pests are included click here.
For practical advice on hygiene practices for farm equipment and the machinery, see the Best practice guidelines produced by the National Pest Control Agencies.
|Northland||Northland Regional Council||Northland Regional Pest Management Strategies|
|Waikato||Waikato Regional Council||Regional Pest Management Plan|
|Bay of Plenty||Bay of Plenty Regional Council||Regional Pest Management Plan|
|Taranaki||Taranaki Regional Council|
|Hawkes Bay||Hawkes Bay Regional Council|
|Manawatu-Wanganui||Horizons Regional Council|
|Wellington/Wairarapa||Greater Wellington Regional Council|
|Tasman||Tasman District Council||Tasman-Nelson Regional Pest Management Strategy|
|Marlborough||Marlborough District Council||Regional Pest Management Strategy and Operational Plan|
|Canterbury||Environment Canterbury Regional Council||Canterbury Regional Pest Management Strategy 2011-2015|
|West Coast||The West Coast Regional Council||Regional Pest Plant Management Strategy|
|Otago||Otago Regional Council||The Pest Management Strategy for Otago 2009|
|Southland||Environment Southland||Regional Pest Management Strategy|
For detailed information, see the 2013 Drystock Biosecurity Guidelines >>
- Purchase stock from reputable and biosecurity-conscious suppliers
- Check the vaccination histories of purchased animals
- Making every effort to assess the health status of incoming stock, including closely examining stock yourself for signs of disease.
- Only purchase stock from flocks with the same or a higher health status than your own flock. (This could refer to such areas as parasite resistance or Johnes status)
- Insist on a vendor’s declaration as to the health status and treatment history of the stock.
- Treat incoming stock with appropriate parasite drenches and vaccinations and hold stock for a period of no less than 24 hours upon receipt to allow them to empty out in the yards.
- Refrain from mixing incoming stock with other stock instantly so as to monitor the animals
- Investigate and treat all animal illnesses and make sure you call the vet in the case of unusual symptoms. Isolate infected stock from health stock
- Avoid grazing young stock with older stock
- Thoroughly clean and disinfect yards after bringing deer in for weighing, drafting or animal health treatments
- Provide a fenced off area for disposal of carcasses
- Ensure boundary and internal fences are adequate and maintained to prevent unwanted movement of livestock in or out of your property
Equipment and vehicles
Clean and disinfect equipment after use and especially if using hired or shared equipment. For further information, see the the Best practice guidelines on practical steps to maintain biosecurity in relation to farm machinery and vehicles.
There is the potential for property contamination from visitors and their vehicles, including veterinarians, other producers, stock and station agents, shearers, shooters, fishermen, shepherds and musterers.
- Minimise unnecessary movement of people and non-property owned vehicles
- Encourage use of protective clothing
- Ensure routine cleaning of visitors’ boots and hands, for your safety and theirs
Boundaries and wildlife (wild animals)
- Act upon incidences of wild animal activity around dead stock.
- Coordinate action against wild animals with neighbours to maximise effectiveness
- Carefully manage rubbish dumps or offal pits as they may attract wild animals onto your property
Documentation and management
- Comply with NAIT rules and regulations on tagging and deer movements to ensure lifetime traceability of stock and ease of management in a disease incursion.
- Develop and implement an animal health plan to minimise disease in the herd and facilitate identification of unexpected diseases
- Investigate and treat all animal illnesses and make sure you call the vet in the case of unusual symptoms
- Get post-mortems carried out on unexplained stock deaths
- Record any increase in pests or weeds on your property or surrounding areas. Such pest and weeds could include rise in possum numbers or spread of gorse or other noxious plants on the Regional council 'watch lists'
- Minimise the spread of noxious plants by use of chemical or other methods as advised by your Regional council. Ensure when you are working with chemicals that you follow all instructions and safe handling practices.
- A good site to refer to for weed management information is the ecan website. For further information about managing plant pests, click here >>
Fallow deer and NAIT
Tag retention in Fallow deer is a recognised issue and these animals do not need to be tagged. However, Fallow deer farmers must:
- Register with NAIT
- Specify how many deer are on their property. These animal counts need to be updated annually.
- A Person in Charge of Animals (PICA) sending Fallow deer to any location must provide NAIT and the person receiving the animals, 48 hours before the movement occurs, with:
- their NAIT number
- the destination NAIT number
- the animals’ approximate age, breed, gender
- the start date of the animal movement.
- The receiving PICA must either confirm that the details provided by the sending PICA are correct OR provide the accurate information.
Both the sender and receiver’s obligations can be met by using the NAIT system for free or by paper form for a fee.
If you suspect the presence of any notifiable organism or disease (that you believe is new to the region or New Zealand) on land or stock that you are responsible for, section 46 of the Biosecurity Act 1993 requires you to notify your regional council and the Ministry for Primary Industries. Do not wait for your vet's diagnosis.
See below for the list of notifiable organisms and diseases.
To call the Ministry, call the free Exotic Pest and Disease hotline on 0800 80 99 66.
New pests and diseases can not only impact on human health but also damage agriculture or horticultural production, forestry and tourism and affect trade in international markets. Farmers are among the most important people in defending against potential biosecurity dangers. This section provides links to legislative requirements relating to biosecurity applicable to farmers.
This list is courtesy of MPI.
Diseases – such as foot and mouth - pose a huge risk to New Zealand's native animals and its agricultural sector.
This list includes some diseases which are notifiable or pose a significant threat to our trade.
- African horse sickness virus
- Avian influenza
- Classical swine fever
- Equine infectious anemia
- Equine influenza
- European foulbrood disease
- Epizootic haemorrhagic disease
- Foot-and-mouth disease
- Hendra virus
- Maedi-visna virus
- Newcastle disease
- Peste des petits ruminants virus
- Rift Valley fever virus
- Sheep and goat pox
- Simbu group viruses (Akabane and Douglas)
- Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies
- Vesicular stomatitis viruses
The Animal Health Laboratory performs testing for many of these diseases to assure foreign markets that we are free from these diseases and provides support in exotic disease outbreaks.
Information from Ministry for Primary Industries >>