Farm Biosecurity Producer of the Year
After his Northern Territory melon farm was impacted by cucumber green mottle mosaic virus in 2014, owner Kees Weel became a strong advocate for proactive biosecurity measures.
When establishing the KW Orchards (previously Belah Heights) citrus and wine grape property at Trentham Cliffs, NSW, Mr Weel and the property’s management team took necessary measures to protect it from biosecurity risks.
These efforts saw KW Orchards named Farm Biosecurity Producer of the Year at the recent Australian Biosecurity Awards.
The team developed a farm biosecurity plan by combining previous management experience and the Biosecurity Manual for Citrus Producers. The plan is based on farm biosecurity essentials.
- All propagation material is sourced from an accredited nursery, placed in a holding area, and inspected for pests and diseases before use.
- External vehicles are monitored and cleaned before entering the property and deliveries are unloaded outside the orchard.
- A record system is used that allows traceability of harvest.
- Staff and contractors are aware of their biosecurity responsibilities.
- The property can only be accessed via the main gate – other access points are monitored and accessible only to authorised staff.
KW Orchards has incorporated the plan into its daily operations.
The plan is based on principles of monitoring, reporting anything unusual and using pest-free propagation material.
The plan also covers the careful management of people, produce, vehicles and equipment.
The management team – Lynn, Toby and Paul – regularly update their knowledge on national and international industry trends to refine their farming and biosecurity practices.
The management team considers biosecurity to be a team effort and they encourage all staff to take ownership of the protocols in place.
Their passion extends to the community, with KW Orchards regularly attending and holding industry events to encourage other producers to adopt farm biosecurity plans.
These events give them an opportunity to demonstrate how a strong plan can improve business operations and reduce biosecurity risks.
KW Orchards also hosts national and international visitors to demonstrate their commitment to safe, pest-free citrus production.
KW Orchards is a member of Citrus Australia, the Victorian Farmers Association, Hort Innovation and Sunraysia Citrus Growers, and shares biosecurity experience and current practices freely with members of the groups.
KW Orchards was nominated for the award by Citrus Australia.
Source: Citrus Australia