Benchmarking surveys of biosecurity practices employed by grain growers in Western Australia have been conducted almost a decade apart.
In June 2003 through the WA Department of Agriculture’s ‘GrainGuard’ project an inaugural survey of 100 growers in the state’s grain industry was carried out by staff from the then Western Australian Department of Agriculture’s Plant Health biosecurity planning group to assess the adoption of the farm biosecurity message.
In 2011/12 grower surveys were conducted during the course of Plant Health Australia’s Grains Farm Biosecurity Program (GFBP). A key outcome of the GFBP from 2010 through to 2015 was to document the management and preparedness for biosecurity risks at the farm gate level in each mainland state.
For this to be done, a baseline survey was commenced in March 2011 to gauge the extensiveness of Western Australian grain grower’s biosecurity practices and to develop a network of interested growers and grower groups for follow up awareness training and best practice improvement. This survey was completed in March 2012.
Differences in the survey methods used and the level of identification of the frequency of the practices being investigated do confound the identification of behaviour trends in the grains industry. Never the less, an understanding of the results for mapping practice change of WA grain growers can be made.
The rate of change of adoption of positive practice changes made within the WA grains industry over this time that the two surveys were conducted indicates that progress is being made albeit slowly. Some practices that are more of a routine activity in crop protection such as paddock inspections are already at a high level of practice while those such as implementing Farm Biosecurity signage and engaged people management were found to be at a lesser degree.