Evaluating biosecurity risks


2 min read

Threats to dairy farming Assessing biosecurity threats Protecting our dairy farms

Exotic animal diseases, pest plants, and insect pests are significant threats to New Zealand's dairy farming. The page details DairyNZ's proactive steps to identify these risks through the Dairy Biosecurity Risk Evaluation framework (D-BRiEF). This framework helps evaluate the danger these organisms pose to pasture, crop yields, milk production, reproduction, animal welfare, and even farmer's health. By understanding the potential for these organisms to enter New Zealand and their probable impact, DairyNZ aims to make informed decisions to support the dairy sector. This includes working with government on biosecurity measures and developing targeted programmes to detect and respond to these risks.

DairyNZ have taken action to identify a large number of organisms that could come to New Zealand and harm our industry. We have developed the Dairy Biosecurity Risk Evaluation framework (D-BRiEF), an expert-driven framework that examines the biosecurity risk of animal diseases, pest plants and insect pests. On farm these can affect pasture and crop yields, milk production, reproduction and animal welfare. Some of them also pose a serious risk to farmer’s health.

The presence of some of these organisms in New Zealand could greatly affect the ability to trade our dairy and animal products.

Evaluating New Zealand dairy farming biosecurity risks

Video 2:28 min

Understanding biosecurity threats to dairy farming

While a lot is known about some high-risk organisms such as foot and mouth disease virus, giant ragweed or tropical fire ants, many other organisms are not that well understood and their impact in New Zealand might differ from the impact we see in other countries.

The Biosecurity Act sets out that industries affected by an exotic organism that gets into New Zealand must pay a share of the costs of responding to them.

Given the gaps in knowledge on these biosecurity threats, and that we will have to share the costs of responding to them, DairyNZ has taken action to increase our ability to identify, assess and prioritise these biosecurity risks.

Assessing the impact of biosecurity threats

The Dairy Biosecurity Risk Evaluation Framework, (D-BRiEF) enables us to tap into the knowledge and experience of New Zealand and international experts to assess these exotic risk organisms.

This means that we can better understand

  • the probability of an organism to enter New Zealand
  • its potential to spread to a large number of farms
  • the potential impact of each organism on affected farms

This information will allow DairyNZ to make better decisions about how to invest dairy farmers levy in a more effective and targeted way and support the wider dairy sector in understanding and preparing for these risks.

Protecting New Zealand dairy farms

By knowing which organisms are most important to us we can;

  • work with government and others on strengthening pre-border and border biosecurity to prevent organisms getting in
  • develop targeted surveillance programmes to detect border incursions sooner

work with others to have pre-agreed response plans so we can respond more rapidly and effectively and limit impacts.

Using D-BRiEF to assess biosecurity risks means that our chances of preventing or eradicating new pests and diseases are greatly increased.

Last updated: Aug 2023

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