The Northern Territory’s decision to transition to a JBAS 6 minimum entry requirement from July 1 has been greeted as a “common sense” move by Queensland’s peak livestock representative group AgForce.
AgForce Cattle President Bim Struss said Queensland producers will be able to more easily move cattle through the NT and avoid unnecessary testing, while still recognising the importance of biosecurity planning.
“In July 2016, a new national approach to Johne’s disease in cattle was established across Australia that saw state biosecurity zones dismantled to enable producers to individually manage on-farm risks without fear of the stigma attached to quarantine,” he said.
“A Johne’s Beef Assurance Score (J-BAS) was subsequently developed as a risk profiling tool for cattle producers, and the Northern Territory adopted an interim position restricting entry of cattle unless they had a J-BAS score of 7, regular herd tests and a vet agreed biosecurity plan.
“The announcement today that the NT Government and the NT Cattlemen’s Association have agreed to lower the requirements for cattle moving to the NT from 1 July 2017 to J-BAS 6 down from J-BAS 7 will be very welcome for seed stock producers and Queensland producers that support the live export trade through Darwin.
“It recognizes that the risk from BJD in Queensland and the risk of spreading the disease is very low, and puts the onus on herd managers to ensure they have a biosecurity plan in place to manage BJD and their market access.
“This issue has really driven home to producers the importance of managing biosecurity risk on their properties and the need to factor it into their business plan.”
Mr Struss said the announcement emphasized the importance of AgForce having a good working relationship with the NTCA and the NT Livestock Exporters Association.
“Navigating the changes in biosecurity zone requirements has been challenging, and this decision recognises the beef industry is all about open and free trade not only from an international perspective but also within states,” he said.
“AgForce has held a number of biosecurity workshops in recent weeks in conjunction with Biosecurity Queensland the Livestock Biosecurity Network and we will continue to hold more training days across Queensland to ready producers for the J-BAS 6 requirements.”