Clean your farm

Clean your farm

Aussie Kev is on a mission to clean up farms and help plants thrive

An initiative to encourage farmers in the Northern Adelaide Plains to keep up their on-farm biosecurity has seen positive results.

Keeping farms clean is a message Thang Hoang Le – also known as Aussie Kev – is passionate about sharing with local ethnic growers in one of South Australia’s key food producing regions, the Northern Adelaide Plains.

“Australia produces some of the best fruit and vegetables in the world and with our clean environment and vast rural lands, we can help to supply many countries with their demands for clean and healthy fresh fruit and vegetables,” he said

“By adopting modern science and growing methods, farmers can grow more, produce higher yields and improve shelf life of fruit and vegetables to export around the world,” he said.

It’s all part of the ‘Clean Your Farm’ initiative, which provides education and support to growers with a particular focus on two key biosecurity risks – how equipment and people can spread disease and how pests can live in weeds.

Employing almost half of South Australia’s vegetable industry workers, the Northern Adelaide Plains region has at times been affected by plant health issues, with heightened vigilance required during summer, due to warmer weather.

The Clean Your Farm initiative has included targeted on-farm and nursery site visits, and provides growers with tool disinfection kits, information resources and industry workshops to improve their biosecurity practices.

Growers are encouraged to improve their biosecurity planning by putting measures in place to control the movement of visitors and workers, cleaning and disinfecting tools, buckets, equipment and shoes, controlling the movement of machinery and creating a weed-free buffer zone around crops or glasshouses.

Aussie Kev engages with ethnic farmers to help improve their practices in relation to cleaning up rubbish, keeping their property borders clean and organising their waste disposal at the end of the season.

“This has helped protect the region’s plants from pest and diseases because there is more awareness through posters and discussions about keeping your farm clean and growers have been more responsive to the government reaching out to ethnic growers,” he said.

“Over time, I’ve noticed farms are cleaner, generally have better productivity and also have less pest and disease pressure.

Aussie Kev is a strong advocate that maintaining plant health is crucial for the big picture.

“Understanding plant health isn’t just about using the most fertilisers, producing the most yield, using the newest technology or having the best growing method.

“Plant health is a combination of farming practices, utilising the right fertilisers at the right stages, planning and organising farm work, being aware of the weather and preparing for changes, practicing proper biosecurity and cleaning your farm.

“All these factors contribute to ensuring a farmer maximises their potential to produce.”

Author: Chloe Johnson, Communications Adviser, Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA), [email protected] or [email protected]