Biosecurity Guidelines for Farm Visitors

Whether you are an occasional visitor to farms or an inspector or sales representative visiting many farms, be aware that visitors may inadvertently carry plant pests and diseases on their footware, clothing and vehicles. 

The following are basic guidelines for farm visitors to prevent introduction and spread of plant pests:

Before the visit:

  • Pre-plan your visit
  • Contact the farm in advance, know their concerns
  • Know the nature of the facility
  • Be aware of the important pests and diseases of the crops grown on the farm
  • Visit farms with unique pest problems last
  • If you observe pest or disease infestations in a farm, avoid same-day visits to similar farms
  • Wear dark blue, green or brown coloured clothing which are less attractive to insects

During the visit

  • Always carry a “Biosecurity Supply Kit” including:
    • Disposal overalls/sani-suits
    • Booties
    • Gloves
    • Disinfectants (see below)
    • Paper towels
    • Disposal bags
    • Spray-bottles
    • Spare clothing and foot ware
  • Follow appropriate biosecurity procedures during farm visits
  • Avoid carrying mud or plant debris on your vehicle when entering a farm
  • Park at designated parking areas, if not on paved or gravel surfaces
  • Avoid contact with plant materials that may harbour plant pathogens and pests
  • Follow good sanitation practices:
    • Sanitize hands
    • Use foot-bath
    • Wear protective clothing (if necessary)
  • Use effective and appropriate disinfectants (concentration and exposure time varies):
    • For hands – antimicrobial hand soap (e.g. Onestep, Wet Ones)
    • For shoes, etc. – Virkon (1-2%), KleenGrow (15 ml/litre), household bleach (10%)
    • For tires – Virkon (1-2%), KleenGrow (15 ml/litre), household bleach (10%)

End of the visit:

  • Properly secure plant samples in sealed bags
  • If necessary, wash/disinfect tires, mud flaps, etc. of your vehicle when leaving
  • Place all waste materials (disposal suits, plant waste, etc.) in disposal bags and dispose of them properly
  • Make sure you have followed proper sanitation practices
  • Check to see you and your vehicle are free of soil and plant debris.
  • Keep a record of your visit
  • Most importantly, if you’ve encountered a farm with pest or disease problems, phone ahead to your next client and discuss the situation