There has been a lot of confusion about requirements for a Property Biosecurity Plan, especially as it relates to Bovine Johne’s Disease (BJD).  This comes at the same time as Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) have announced new requirements for biosecurity and animal welfare for Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) to come into effect from October.  Announcement here.

In the wake of deregulation of BJD and the removal of the formal Market Assurance Program (MAP), the new scenario is for a voluntary assessment according to risk.  The new risk levels are termed the Johne’s Beef Assurance Scores (J-BAS) and range from 0 to 8 as set out below.  J-BAS 8 is equivalent to MN3 under the MAP and J-BAS 7 is equal to MN2.

Initially Animal Health Australia advised that beef producers would need to introduce a biosecurity plan by 30 June 2017 or they would receive a J-BAS score of 0.  Given that the great majority of NSW cattle producers would be classed as J-BAS 6 this decision seemed illogical and unnecessarily harsh.   Producers are confused between requirements for BJD and the LPA accreditation.  Would they need to develop 1 or 2 biosecurity plans?  Very few meetings had been planned to explain the changing requirements.

Today (15 June) there has been some clarification and relaxation of the previously confusing requirements:

  • producers need to develop only a single biosecurity plan.
  • producers who wish to include BJD will answer the optional BJD sections in the biosecurity template.
  • there has been an extension of time to compete the biosecurity plan from 1 July to 1 October.
  • cattle producers whose herds have no history of BJD will be given a J-BAS of 6.

Preparing a Biosecurity Plan

Various templates have been proposed for the development of a biosecurity plan.  You can complete the majority of templates by ticking boxes:

  • There is a very daunting template document of 48 pages prepared by the Livestock Biosecurity Network.  You can view it here
  • There is a much simpler 7 page cut down version available here.

Identifying your risks

One thing that these templates are missing, in my opinion, is a consideration of the risks that each property faces.  There is no point in suggesting restricting the movement of animals or vehicles from high risk to low risk areas unless you understand what the risks are.  Each risk requires thought on how best to treat it.

For example, the major risks that we have identified at Cadfor are:

  • ENDEMIC DISEASES
    • Known to be present on property or in locality:
      • Clostridial diseases
      • Pestivirus
      • Internal parasites
      • External parasites
      • Pink Eye
      • Calf scours
      • Leptospirosis
    • Potential threats which we want to keep out:
      • Theileria
      • Ticks
      • Buffalo fly
      • Akabane
      • Neopspora
      • Vibriosis
      • Johne’s Disease
  • WEEDS
    • Very high risk:
      • Serrated Tussock
      • St Johns Wort
      • Paterson’s Curse
      • African Love Grass
      • Chilean Needle Grass
    • Lower importance or risk:
      • Fireweed
      • Bathurst Burr
      • Nagoora Burr

There is good information on biosecurity issues at http://www.farmbiosecurity.com.au/.  They have a wide range of  informative toolkits and videos.  Because we think biosecurity is very important we agreed to participate in the filming.  They could not afford Nicole Kidman or Chris Hemsworth.

We held an evening discussion on biosecurity planning for our clients on 27 June 2017.   We sorted out the confusion and attendees went away having ticked all the boxes in the biosecurity plan template.

 

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