El Nino conditions strengthen
The national outlook for August to October released on Wednesday indicates that a drier than normal season is likely for large parts of southeast, central and northeastern Australia, a drier than normal season is likely for parts of central Western Australia and the chances of a wetter or drier season are roughly even for the Southwest Land Division in WA, Tasmania and much of the eastern coast of Australia. The National Climate Centre said the outlook was mostly a result of emerging warmer waters in the central to eastern Pacific Ocean, with warmer than normal waters in the Indian Ocean also having an influence. The latest ENSO wrap up shows that the Pacific Ocean remains near the threshold for El Niño conditions. Climate models are forecasting that the Pacific will either exceed El Niño thresholds during late winter or spring 2012 or remain at borderline levels. No models are suggesting a return to La Niña.
Canada moves towards single traceability system
The Canadian Government has allocated $500,000 to create a single national data management system for livestock traceability in Canada. The funding was announced by the federal parliamentary secretary for agriculture, Pierre Lemieux, last Friday at the Calgary Stampede. The Alberta Farm Expres said the new system, to be called Canadian Agri-Traceability Services, will provide traceability data services for both the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency and Quebec's provincial agrifood traceability agency, Agri-Tracabilite Quebec (ATQ), thereby cutting the two organisations' costs and simplifying data reporting. "A national traceability system allows Canada to demonstrate our solid farm practices in animal health, our zoning capability, our emergency management, and our food safety systems," Mr Lemieux said. "This investment will help track information, ultimately protecting the bottom line of our beef, dairy, bison, sheep, and other animal producers."
FMD strategy released for comment
Animal Health Australia (AHA) has released a revised draft foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) Ausvetplan Disease Strategy for stakeholder comment by August 13. The revised disease strategy has been updated to include new guidance on vaccination, tracing and surveillance, zoning for international trade purposes, and quarantine and movement controls for animals and animal products. AHA said it was important to note that the fundamental policy position – eradication without ongoing vaccination – has not changed. The release of the revised draft disease strategy is a key step in the response to the Matthews report on Australia’s FMD preparedness. AHA said it remains committed to finalising the review of the disease strategy by the end of 2012. Click here to view a copy of the draft strategy.
NSW expands PICs to strengthen biosecurity
The expansion of Property Identification Codes (PICs) to cover additional livestock species will strengthen biosecurity and improve NSW’s capacity to respond to animal disease and food safety incidents according to Department of Primary Industries (DPI) executive director Bruce Christie. “From 1 September this year anyone who keeps livestock including sheep, cattle, goats, pigs, deer, bison, buffalo, camels, horses, donkeys, IIama, alpaca or 100 or more poultry birds will be required to obtain a PIC regardless of whether they are trading or moving animals,” Mr Christie said. “In NSW it is already a requirement for owners of cattle, sheep, goats and pigs to have a PIC when trading or moving livestock. It is estimated that up to 33,000 new PICs will be required over the next three years.”