New arrangements for managing and preventing Bovine Johne’s Disease are set to be implemented from Sunday week, July 1.
With the current national plan coming to an end on June 30, the new plan follows a comprehensive review of the existing plan to identify improvements and reflect the changing needs of producers.
Cattle Council of Australia president, Andrew Ogilvie said the revised plan was based on risk management – focussing on protecting cattle in Queensland, WA and the NT where the disease is virtually non-existent, and the beef sectors in other regions where the incidence of BJD in herds is low.
While Western Australia and Queensland will remain Free and Protected Zones, as explained in earlier articles on Beef Central, the main changes to the national plan will be in NSW and South Australia.
Under the new plan, the whole of NSW will be declared a Beef Protected Area (BPA). This BPA will extend into the southern part of South Australia. In both States, the current Control Zones will be abolished. Northern SA will remain unchanged as a Protected Zone.
Because of the much lower levels of BJD infection in the beef cattle population compared with the dairy herd, the new BPA aims to separate beef and dairy enterprises so that the different levels of risk can be managed by including a separate ‘dairy compartment’.
Mr Ogilvie urged beef producers in the BPA to be aware of the BJD status of cattle they buy and the risk of bringing in the disease from dairy properties.
“Beef properties that are known or suspected to be infected will be placed into quarantine, so it is particularly important that beef producers avoid introducing into their herd non-assessed dairy cattle and/or those with a National Dairy BJD Score of less than seven,” Mr Ogilvie said. “Such dairy cattle expose beef herds to a high risk of BJD infection.”
The updated plan also recognises that dairy herds in Victoria and Tasmania represent a much higher risk of infection than in other areas. These States have therefore been re-classified as the Management Area (MA).
“Beef producers in the MA will need to be extra vigilant in how they manage the risk of BJD entering their herds. They should employ a thorough risk assessment of animals they wish to purchase or agist and remain conscious of the disease risk from exposing their cattle to dairy cattle and/or properties,” Mr Ogilvie said.
There will be some changes in interstate movement requirements from Victoria into NSW and SA, which will principally affect beef producers who also run dairy cattle, either as a dual enterprise or as breeders of dairy cross cattle.
Beef producers are encouraged to check with their respective State department of primary industries for changes to movement controls being introduced on July 1.
More information on the revised Plan is available from the website www.bjdaware.com.au