Another 40 Queensland cattle properties have been placed under movement restrictions following the State's latest confirmed detection of Bovine Johne’s Disease.
Queensland agriculture minister John McVeigh said the latest detection was identified through ongoing testing of properties which had received cattle from the Rockley Stud near Rockhampton, where BJD was detected 12 months ago.
The latest property is the fifth to have produced a positive test result from the 108 trace-forward properties tested so far.
The property has not been publicly identified, but is believed to be a commercial breeding operation in Central Queensland running around 1000 commercial breeders.
Biosecurity Queensland has traced cattle movements from the affected property to 40 other properties in the eight years since National Livestock Identification Scheme records have been in use.
Those 40 properties will now be subject to movement restrictions until individual property disease management plans and investigations into the likely BJD status of each are completed.
It is a heavy blow for the affected properties, most if not all of which are likely to be enduring drought conditions.
Mr McVeigh said it is believed that most affected cattle would have already been sent to slaughter which should help to reduce further impacts.
“Biosecurity officers will be working very closely with affected producers and the cattle industry to contain any further infection and resolve cases as quickly as possible,” he said.
Mr McVeigh said the Newman Government had now made up to $5 million available to support producers affected by BJD.
“Producers need to get online at – www.daff.qld.gov.au – or call 13 25 23 – to find out what support they may be eligible to receive,” he said.
“The Queensland Government is committed to maintaining Queensland’s protected status for BJD.
“Queensland leads the way in managing this disease, especially in how we work with individual property owners through our Property Disease Investigation Plans (PDIP).”
Biosecurity Queensland’s Chief Veterinary Officer Rick Symons said it was important that affected producers did not seek not to dispose of any suspected animals before discussing their situation with Biosecurity Queensland.
“Disposing of animals without appropriate testing can greatly prolong movement restrictions.”
The BJD testing program that has followed the initial detection at Rockley in November 2012 has now handled 14,050 samples from a total of 10,597 animals from 108 properties.
“We have had quite an extensive surveillance and testing and working on this issue and only five instances have been detected,” a departmental spokesperson told Beef Central today.
“The industry wants us to maintain our protected zone status because of our markets.
“Looking at those numbers, we have only found five instances of infected properties which suggests the protected status is worth keeping.”
From the original 170 properties placed under movement restrictions in the wake of last year’s detection at Rockley, 28 remain in quarantine.
AgForce Cattle Board chairman Howard Smith said industry representatives expect to know more about the latest detection following a phone hook up planned for later today.
He said that it was always suspected that at least another one or two other positive tests were likely to emerge.
The Finlay Hill report into Queensland’s handling of BJD commissioned by Mr McVeigh and released in June made the point that the ‘more you test the more likely you are to find a disease’, and noted that the long potential incubation time of the BJD incursion identified at Rockley meant further detections were likely.
It recommended that Queensland should persist with efforts to maintain its Protected Zone status, but added that maintaining adequate resourcing for biosecurity was vital.
Perhaps the only upside of the dry conditions currently gripping Queensland is the fact that BJD bacterium is known to be more prevalent in moist damp conditions and far less likely to spread or survive in drought situations.Source: QDAFF. For more information on BJD, visit www.daff.qld.gov.au or phone 13 25 23.
RELATED ARTICLE: Queensland industry unites on BJD policy