1.5m Apart Cows! How COVID-19 has Reshaped Australian Agriculture
A year in review. Although 2020 is a year we’d all like to forget, it impacted Australian agriculture less than you might think. With beautiful rains on the forecast, and plenty of socially distanced land to roam on, what’s there to complain about?
While most industries faced shutdown and restriction in some capacity during the pandemic, the agricultural sector continued by and large as usual without significant challenge. The pandemic continues, but in Australia we are fortunate to have relegated it to a smaller concern for now.
Sanitation in Australian Agriculture
Already a priority in food production, the importance of sanitation came to be even more front and centre because of COVID-19. Regulation around hygienic production of crops and meat was already stringent but has tightened further in the wake of pandemic concerns. Zoonotic diseases have rightfully become a more concrete concern on farms across Australia and the world. It’s thought that COVID-19 is a zoonotic disease of course. Cattle dips and other equipment used for sanitary treatments of animals are must haves on farms. Their role in keeping livestock and workers healthy and safe has been underlined by recent events.
The pandemic has also crucially reiterated the importance and priority of worker safety. The health threat that is COVID-19 is daunting to many employees for whom working from home was not an option. Farmers have had to implement the necessary precautions to ensure their workers’ safety while allowing farm work to continue. Besides stepping up PPE, sanitation and hygienic protocols, contact tracing procedures have been enacted in many businesses (farms included) to help reduce the spread of disease.
While demand for agricultural produce didn’t falter throughout the pandemic, the same cannot be said for the means of distribution. Freight transport and especially air freight suffered greatly because of the pandemic. Limiting disease transmission also meant reducing interstate and international travel, at times ceasing completely. While this presented serious challenge for exporters and farmers alike, the situation is largely considered to be back on track now with minimal interruption.
The impact of COVID-19 has not been lost on farmers who rely on hired work. This is doubly true for those who use seasonal workforces to assist with harvest. Restrictions on interstate travel in addition to metropolitan area lockdowns proved detrimental to produce farmers. Sadly, this has resulted in catastrophic losses of crops due to spoil.
Although the pandemic has disrupted the national economy and industries, many farmers can be thankful that the impact wasn’t more even more significant on Australian agriculture. COVID-19 looms as a reminder of the importance of preparation for the unknown. While there’s no perfect fix to many of the pandemic’s obstacles, expecting the unexpected is a good place to start.
If you have any steel supply needs on your farm, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team from Steel Supplies Charters Towers.