Best practice tools and strategies central to on-farm OJD control

 

 

                                

MEDIA RELEASE

26 June 2018

Best practice tools and strategies central to on-farm OJD control

Management of Ovine Johne’s Disease (OJD) in Australia beyond 2018 will continue as part of the Sheep Health Project at Animal Health Australia, enabling producers to still be able to use all the on-farm practices and tools currently recommended as part of a best practice approach to control.

The previous five-year National OJDMP (due to end in June 2018) is not being extended. This decision has been made by the sheep industry’s peak industry councils – Sheep Producers Australia and WoolProducers Australia – based on expert technical advice that producers can continue to effectively manage the endemic disease as part of their overall approach to animal health and biosecurity.

Sheep Producers Australia Sheep Health and Welfare Manager, Stephen Crisp says extensive stakeholder consultation earlier this year on the future of the National OJD Management Plan did not present a clear outcome to retain, change or cease the program beyond June 30.

“As a result, the Boards of both organisations reviewed the technical advice provided by Animal Health Australia on the actual, not perceived, risk OJD presents to the industry,” Mr Crisp said.

“The advice was that OJD can be treated as one of a range of endemic diseases, such as ovine brucellosis, and be managed through the tools of the Sheep Health Project, rather than having a separate management plan.

“The tools include vaccination, Sheep Health Declarations, SheepMAP, abattoir testing through the National Sheep Health Monitoring Project and Regional Biosecurity Plans.

“We’re fortunate to have a vaccine against OJD, which is highly recommended for all flocks in endemic areas or at-risk properties, and we are working with AHA to increase the rates of vaccination across Australia.

“The Sheep Health Declaration is an effective tool for communicating health information when trading sheep, while the National Sheep Health Monitoring Project allows producers an insight into what conditions are detected in their sheep at the abattoir.

“The Market Assurance Program, better known as SheepMAP, provides auditable standards for managing OJD, helping producers to access some OJD-sensitive markets as well as provide a source of low-risk sheep.”

Mr Crisp said producers would not see any change in their day-to-day farming and those in Regional Biosecurity Plan areas would be able to continue to take a regional approach to management.

“As mentioned in the consultation phase, this does not affect the role of the states and how they regulate animal diseases. Producers will always need to be aware of, and comply with state regulations.”

WoolProducers Australia Director Ed Storey says the decision by nearly all states to wind back legislation regulating OJD means governments play a less direct role in management of the disease.

“This puts the management of OJD in the hands of each producer, who can choose their own strategy,” Mr Storey said.

“This can be anything from managing your own risk through implementing on-farm biosecurity practices, joining an audited assurance program such as SheepMAP, or collaborating with nearby producers on a Regional Biosecurity Plan.

“We strongly encourage producers to use Sheep Health Declarations – the best tool producers have in prevention of infection is to request a declaration when buying sheep and to provide one when selling.

Mr Storey said the consultative review recommended an extension plan be undertaken to producers to reiterate the benefits to animal health and biosecurity in adopting more of the Sheep Health Project tools on offer.

“We realise that some producers may be using a portion of the tools available but implementing more would add significant strength and rigour to their on-farm biosecurity activities. Both organisations want to encourage producer uptake of these tools and so will be working closely with the wider industry toward this goal.”

Feedback provided during the consultation phase has been collated into a report for transparency, however individual submissions have been kept confidential. Download the National OJD Management Plan 2013-2018 Consultative Review here

- ENDS -

Media enquiries: Jackie Poyser 0410 994 410 or JPoyser@animalhealthaustralia.com.au

About Sheep Producers Australia

Sheep Producers Australia is the voice on issues that affect sheep production businesses. SPA does this through advocating for better business outcomes, monitoring investment of producer levies and improving information flow up and down the value chain.

About WoolProducers’ Australia

WoolProducers Australia (WPA) is the peak national body for the wool producing industry in Australia, representing farmers who have an interest in growing wool. WPA advocates the industries interests to the Federal Government and internationally enabling woolgrowers to determine policy and drive change in their industry. WoolProducers Australia is the only national organisation that can speak on behalf of the mainstream wool industry and represent the concerns and hopes of wool growers.


Chief Executive Officer Report

Chief Executive Officer Report

with Jo Hall

Welcome to the third edition of The WoolPress. This edition has a focus on animal health issues and innovations relevant to woolgrowers and the broader industry.

There are a number of interesting articles from our industry partners, which provide a snapshot of the amazing work that is being conducted to assist and enhance the wool industry. I would like to thank all of the contributors for their insight.

WoolProducers in collaboration with Sheep Producers Australia, have just announced the end of a national approach to the management of Ovine Johne’s Disease (OJD). This decision has come after a widely publicised public consultation seeking input from producers. WPA strongly believe that there are a number of tools that enable producers to manage OJD in the manner most appropriate to their individual enterprise.

From a national animal health perspective, WoolProducers Australia, Sheep Producers Australia and Animal Health Australia (AHA) developed the Sheep Health Project (SHP) in 2014, as a more holistic approach to address endemic sheep conditions.

The idea behind the SHP was to reduce the management and production focus on any one particular disease or condition (i.e. OJD), using biosecurity as the underpinning plank to reduce the impact of all endemic conditions. The farmgate benefits of this are two-fold – sound biosecurity principles are relevant to all diseases and conditions, so instead of managing one disease in isolation shifting the focus to biosecurity addresses all diseases, and by broadening the scope will also reduce the stigma that may be associated with any one disease. For more information: Sheep Health Project

There are a number of other industry issues occurring, outside of animal health that woolgrowers may be interested in.

The report on the Review of AWI is expected to be released before mid-July. We look forward to reading this report which will be the result of a thorough review conducted by Ernst Young. The review was initiated by the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, the Hon. David Littleproud.

We are also very excited to have selected the first round of our Raising the Baa participants. The quality of the applicants was outstanding. We are pleased to announce that Robert Pocock, Peter McCrabbe, Stacey Lugsdin, Dan Korff and Matt Bartlett were selected to undertake the Australian Institute of Company Directors Course.

We are also thrilled to announce that Dione Howard is the 2018 Wool Youth Ambassador. Again, the standard of applicants was very high and it was a tough decision, but we look forward to working with Dione over the next 12 months! It is very heartening to know that there are so many passionate young people in the wool industry.

On behalf of WoolProducers, I hope that you enjoy this edition of The WoolPress and as always if you have any questions regarding any issues raised in this newsletter, or the wool industry in general, please contact the office at info@woolproducers.com.au

 

 


President's Report

President's Report 

with Richard Halliday

Welcome to Issue 3 of The Wool Press. This issue focuses on health and some of the important projects currently being undertaken across the industry.

 


Best practice tools and strategies central to on-farm OJD control

MEDIA RELEASE

26 June 2018

Best practice tools and strategies central to on-farm OJD control

Management of Ovine Johne’s Disease (OJD) in Australia beyond 2018 will continue as part of the Sheep Health Project at Animal Health Australia, enabling producers to still be able to use all the on-farm practices and tools currently recommended as part of a best practice approach to control.

The previous five-year National OJDMP (due to end in June 2018) is not being extended. This decision has been made by the sheep industry’s peak industry councils – Sheep Producers Australia and WoolProducers Australia – based on expert technical advice that producers can continue to effectively manage the endemic disease as part of their overall approach to animal health and biosecurity.

Sheep Producers Australia Sheep Health and Welfare Manager, Stephen Crisp says extensive stakeholder consultation earlier this year on the future of the National OJD Management Plan did not present a clear outcome to retain, change or cease the program beyond June 30.

“As a result, the Boards of both organisations reviewed the technical advice provided by Animal Health Australia on the actual, not perceived, risk OJD presents to the industry,” Mr Crisp said.

“The advice was that OJD can be treated as one of a range of endemic diseases, such as ovine brucellosis, and be managed through the tools of the Sheep Health Project, rather than having a separate management plan.

“The tools include vaccination, Sheep Health Declarations, SheepMAP, abattoir testing through the National Sheep Health Monitoring Project and Regional Biosecurity Plans.

“We’re fortunate to have a vaccine against OJD, which is highly recommended for all flocks in endemic areas or at-risk properties, and we are working with AHA to increase the rates of vaccination across Australia.

“The Sheep Health Declaration is an effective tool for communicating health information when trading sheep, while the National Sheep Health Monitoring Project allows producers an insight into what conditions are detected in their sheep at the abattoir.

“The Market Assurance Program, better known as SheepMAP, provides auditable standards for managing OJD, helping producers to access some OJD-sensitive markets as well as provide a source of low-risk sheep.”

Mr Crisp said producers would not see any change in their day-to-day farming and those in Regional Biosecurity Plan areas would be able to continue to take a regional approach to management.

“As mentioned in the consultation phase, this does not affect the role of the states and how they regulate animal diseases. Producers will always need to be aware of, and comply with state regulations.”

WoolProducers Australia Director Ed Storey says the decision by nearly all states to wind back legislation regulating OJD means governments play a less direct role in management of the disease.

“This puts the management of OJD in the hands of each producer, who can choose their own strategy,” Mr Storey said.

“This can be anything from managing your own risk through implementing on-farm biosecurity practices, joining an audited assurance program such as SheepMAP, or collaborating with nearby producers on a Regional Biosecurity Plan.

“We strongly encourage producers to use Sheep Health Declarations – the best tool producers have in prevention of infection is to request a declaration when buying sheep and to provide one when selling.

Mr Storey said the consultative review recommended an extension plan be undertaken to producers to reiterate the benefits to animal health and biosecurity in adopting more of the Sheep Health Project tools on offer.

“We realise that some producers may be using a portion of the tools available but implementing more would add significant strength and rigour to their on-farm biosecurity activities. Both organisations want to encourage producer uptake of these tools and so will be working closely with the wider industry toward this goal.”

Feedback provided during the consultation phase has been collated into a report for transparency, however individual submissions have been kept confidential. Download the National OJD Management Plan 2013-2018 Consultative Review here

- ENDS -

Media enquiries: Jackie Poyser 0410 994 410 or JPoyser@animalhealthaustralia.com.au

About Sheep Producers Australia

Sheep Producers Australia is the voice on issues that affect sheep production businesses. SPA does this through advocating for better business outcomes, monitoring investment of producer levies and improving information flow up and down the value chain.

About WoolProducers’ Australia

WoolProducers Australia (WPA) is the peak national body for the wool producing industry in Australia, representing farmers who have an interest in growing wool. WPA advocates the industries interests to the Federal Government and internationally enabling woolgrowers to determine policy and drive change in their industry. WoolProducers Australia is the only national organisation that can speak on behalf of the mainstream wool industry and represent the concerns and hopes of wool growers.


WPA Young Professional is Hong Kong Bound

MEDIA RELEASE

14 May, 2018

WPA Young Professional is Hong Kong Bound

 

WoolProducers Australia is delighted to have their Policy Officer Teresa Hogan selected as an Australian Young Professional Delegate to attend the 87th Annual International Wool Textile Organisation (IWTO) Congress in Hong Kong, starting today 14 May, 2018.

 

Each year, professionals 35 years and younger and working within the International wool industry are invited to apply for the Young Professionals Programme. The IWTO’s Young Professionals Programme then matches selected young wool professionals with a senior mentor to guide them as they gain an insider’s view of the global wool textile industry and network throughout the 4 days of the Congress.

 

Teresa, a 7th generation member of a farming and wool growing family, has known from a very early age that she would be committing herself to a life in agriculture and in particular the wool industry.

 

Ms Hogan said ‘I think I was born with a love for sheep and wool, it’s a part of who I am, I can thank mum and dad for that’.

 

Teresa has extensive knowledge and experience in farming and owns and operates a small but growing flock of Superfine Merinos on the family farm in Merriwa NSW.

 

Before working with WoolProducers, Teresa completed a Bachelor of Rural Science and has worked in a diverse range of roles within a practical livestock and farming capacity. She has held positions in livestock and farming management and is also a registered AWEX woolclasser.

 

‘I am excited and honoured for the opportunity to attend the IWTO Congress. It is a really exciting time to be in this industry as wool is increasingly recognised as the sustainable, resilient and multifunctional fibre for the future.

 

Anyone that knows me, knows that I don’t ever miss an opportunity to chat about wool so I am looking forward to the immense networking and professional learning experiences offered by the mentor programme and the Congress as a whole.’

 

‘There is so much opportunity for young people in this industry and I hope to use this experience to encourage other likeminded individuals to map their own sheep and wool industry future’. Ms Hogan said.

 

Teresa will be joining 20 other young professionals from across the world for the duration of the congress, involving networking, meetings, seminars, presentations and facility tours.

 

WoolProducers President, Richard Halliday and CEO, Jo Hall are also attending the IWTO Congress and represented Australian woolgrowers in yesterday’s IWTO Working Groups.

 

 

ENDS

WoolProducers Australia contact:

Richard Halliday

President

0428 854 759

 

Jo Hall

Chief Executive Officer

0488 554 811

About WoolProducers’ Australia

WPA plays a critical role in working closely with companies and entities funded by woolgrower funds including compulsory levies or fees for service.

Its mission is to develop constructive and profitable outcomes for woolgrowers nationally.

The agency is responsible for appointing a director to each of the Australian Wool Exchange and the Australia Wool Testing Authority, promoting good corporate governance and ensuring that the interests of growers are met.

WPA maintains a working relationship with Australian Wool Innovation as the voice of woolgrower shareholders.  It aims to contribute to AWI’s programs for the benefit of growers, promoting responsible use of levy funds and ensuring good corporate governance.

WPA is the sole wool industry member of Animal Health Australia, and as such, carries a significant responsibility for decision making on behalf of the industry in the event of an emergency animal disease outbreak.

As the only wool grower organisation with membership of the National Farmers’ Federation, WoolProducers is responsible for providing key policy advice on behalf of our members, and other wool growers, to Australia’s peak farm body.

WoolProducers also works closely with the Federal Department of Agriculture and Water Resources on key issues such as animal health and welfare, biosecurity, pest management control, natural resource management, drought preparedness, emergency animal disease outbreak preparedness and industry development, including research and trade.

 


Importance of biosecurity highlighted by budget

MEDIA RELEASE

9 May, 2018

Importance of biosecurity highlighted by budget

$101.6 million funding to enhance Australia’s biosecurity system is the highlight of the 2018 budget according to peak wool industry representative group, WoolProducers Australia.

WoolProducers Australia President, Mr Richard Halliday said ‘Australia’s wool industry relies on sound biosecurity practices across the supply chain, starting with on-farm management through to border protection, to ensure ongoing market access’.

‘The financial commitment made by the government in last night’s budget demonstrates the importance of biosecurity to Australia’s agricultural trade and the broader economy’. Mr Halliday said.

This new funding includes the allocation of $6.6 million to develop national action plans, similar to the WoolProducers initiated National Wild Dog Action Plan, for other established pests and weeds.

‘A coordinated approach to the management of pests and weeds is the most effective way to combat the threat these incursions pose to Australia’s agricultural production’. Mr Halliday said.

WoolProducers also welcomed the extension of the immediate on-farm asset write off for businesses.

‘The accelerated depreciation measures enable small businesses with a turnover of less than $10 million to immediately deduct asset purchases under $20,000’.

‘This measure encourages these businesses to immediately invest in capital expenditure such as fencing, tanks, and feed silos’. Mr Halliday said.

ENDS

WoolProducers Australia contact:

Richard Halliday

President

0428 854 759

 

Jo Hall

Chief Executive Officer

0488 554 811

About WoolProducers’ Australia

WPA plays a critical role in working closely with companies and entities funded by woolgrower funds including compulsory levies or fees for service.

Its mission is to develop constructive and profitable outcomes for woolgrowers nationally.

The agency is responsible for appointing a director to each of the Australian Wool Exchange and the Australia Wool Testing Authority, promoting good corporate governance and ensuring that the interests of growers are met.

WPA maintains a working relationship with Australian Wool Innovation as the voice of woolgrower shareholders.  It aims to contribute to AWI’s programs for the benefit of growers, promoting responsible use of levy funds and ensuring good corporate governance.

WPA is the sole wool industry member of Animal Health Australia, and as such, carries a significant responsibility for decision making on behalf of the industry in the event of an emergency animal disease outbreak.

As the only wool grower organisation with membership of the National Farmers’ Federation, WoolProducers is responsible for providing key policy advice on behalf of our members, and other wool growers, to Australia’s peak farm body.

WoolProducers also works closely with the Federal Department of Agriculture and Water Resources on key issues such as animal health and welfare, biosecurity, pest management control, natural resource management, drought preparedness, emergency animal disease outbreak preparedness and industry development, including research and trade.

 


President's Report

President's Report 

with Richard Halliday

Welcome to Issue 2 of The Wool Press. This issue focuses on biosecurity and the important role that producers have to play on farm.

I would like to begin this issue by sharing with you my own experience with on-farm biosecurity.

Nothing says life lesson like experience, and our business has over the years, has faced some serious biosecurity challenges. The greatest lesson learnt to date has been that you, and you alone have the ability to manage and control the biosecurity risk on your property.

Our story:

During routine Market Assurance Program Johne’s disease testing on our property, 1 sheep out of 2000 tested positive to OJD. As we are based in South Australia, where OJD is a notifiable and actionable disease, we were placed in quarantine. This put us in a tough position and resulted in the sale of a significant number of our sheep.

Quarantine put a significant strain on our business and resulted in some big changes in farm management. The remaining mobs were tested on farm, and all hoggets were vaccinated with Gudair. Moving forward, all lambs less than 4 months of age continue to be routinely vaccinated. During this period of quarantine, we continued to undertake testing, with no further positives tests detected. All stock sold, were sold directly to abattoir and subjected to abattoir surveillance, again no positive tests were detected.

In order to maintain our seed stock, stud ewes were purchased and run on a separate farm, a practice we continue today. A further two clear flock tests were conducted and the home property received an ‘all-clear’, quarantine was lifted and our business could resume.

It has taken our business seven years to rebuild, since the initial positive test, and it has required significant changes to our on-farm management practices to ensure the continued clear status that we have achieved. A stringent on-farm biosecurity plan was developed and implemented, which is integral to the future security of our business.

This experience underlines my earlier statement, that you solely have the ability to manage and control the biosecurity risk on your farm. You have the ability to control what happens within your boundaries.

My advice is to always ensure that when purchasing new stock, do your homework, use the tools available to you to ensure you know the history of the animal by requesting both the National Vendor Declaration and Sheep Health Declaration - if you don’t have this information you risk introducing a new biosecurity threat on to your farm. In turn if you are selling stock, have these documents available for the purchaser and keep records of your stock health status for ease of information transfer.

 

Richard Halliday

President, Woolproducers Australia

 


Chief Executive Officer Report

Chief Executive Officer Report

with Jo Hall

 

Welcome to the second edition of The WoolPress. This edition has a focus on biosecurity, which is an important pillar of all woolgrowers’ business but there are a number of issues happening within industry at the moment which makes this edition particularly timely.

 

We have again sought articles from a range of industry partners and stakeholders to highlight the range of issues that are currently being addressed throughout our wonderful industry.

 

In the past few months we have seen the roll out of new modules of Livestock Assurance Program (LPA) for both animal welfare and biosecurity, which requires biosecurity plans to be developed for all properties under LPA.

 

WoolProducers in conjunction with Sheep Producers Australia (SPA) have also undertaken national reviews of both the Ovine Jonhes Disease (OJD) National Management Program and the Sheep Market Assurance Program (Sheep MAP) and the National Farm Biosecurity Manual for Grazing Livestock is also being reviewed.

 

From a national biosecurity perspective WoolProducers Australia, Sheep Producers Australia and Animal Health Australia (AHA) developed the Sheep Health Project (SHP) in 2014, as a more holistic approach to address endemic sheep conditions.

 

The idea behind the SHP was to reduce the management and production focus on any one particular disease or condition (i.e. OJD), using biosecurity as the underpinning plank to reduce the impact of all endemic conditions. The farmgate benefits of this are two-fold – sound biosecurity principles are relevant to all diseases and conditions, so instead of managing one disease in isolation shifting the focus to biosecurity addresses all diseases, and by broadening the scope will also reduce the stigma that may be associated with any one disease. For more information: Sheep Health Project

 

Whilst biosecurity is an integral part of industry there are, as always, a number of other issues happening in the wool industry that woolgrowers also need to be aware of.

 

WoolProducers have launched our ‘Raising the Baa’ project, which is a project under the Commonwealth’s Leadership in Agriculture Fund. This important project will look to address the gap in industry capacity building and will provide an opportunity to upskill a number of woolgrowers in the areas of representation, with a strong focus on corporate governance and directorship skills. For an overview of this exciting initiative please see here.

 

The Program will provide an innovative and supportive environment for leaders within the wool industry to continue to develop and refine their leadership skills in order to contribute to ongoing capacity and capability building within industry. In doing so, current and future leaders within the wool industry will be provided with the tools to develop policy and strategy in a complex and challenging environment. Please contact WoolProducers if you are interested in participating in this exciting initiative.

 

2018 is another WoolPoll year, whereby growers will get the chance to vote for the amount of levy they wish to pay to research, development and marketing. The WoolPoll Panel has been convened to oversee the process (see WPA’s media release here). WoolPoll voting will take place over a six-week period between 17 September and 2 November 2018.

 

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, the Hon David Littleproud, announced in February that an independent review into AWI would be conducted in the lead up to WoolPoll. WoolProducers welcomed the review (see WPA’s media release here), but have since expressed concerns over the independence of this review. WoolProducers hopes that this review offers a genuine opportunity to improve the governance, transparency and accountability of AWI, whilst also ensuring that AWI start working effectively and collaboratively with stakeholders.

 

WoolProducers have an action list that we would like to be addressed regarding the operations of AWI, which in some cases will require Constitutional change and in others will just require the Board to improve their current performance.

 

WoolProducers wants reform leading to transparency and genuine independence in the following areas: the conduct of WoolPoll; the entire voting and election process, including the Board Nomination Committee, proxy allocation and declaration and shareholder access; the operations of the Industry Consultative Committee and the three-yearly Review of Performance.

 

The Terms of Reference for the review can be seen here, and we hope that woolgrowers take the opportunity to have their say. Ernst and Young have been appointed to conduct the review, with the deadline for submission is 4 May, 2018. Further information can be found here.

 

On behalf of WoolProducers, I hope that you enjoy this edition of The WoolPress and as always if you have any questions regarding any issues raised in this newsletter, or the wool industry in general, please contact the office at info@woolproducers.com.au

 


Would your business survive an Emergency Animal Disease Outbreak?

Would your business survive an Emergency Animal Disease Outbreak?

While it seems scary, every few years there is an exotic disease incursion in Australian livestock. The likelihood of emergency animal diseases (EADs) such as foot‐and‐mouth disease, anthrax and bluetongue is low but when outbreaks do occur, they have a serious impact on businesses.

An EAD could result in impacts on export markets and restrictions on livestock movements, and (in the case of a foot‐and‐mouth disease outbreak) an initial national livestock ‘standstill’. Infected or at‐risk properties may also be required to cull livestock to help stop the disease from spreading.

Every business has developed ways of reducing the impact of disruption to normal operations that occur from time to time. For example – if you use machinery, to minimise the risk of breakdown you may keep common spare parts on hand. Have you thought about how your business would cope with an incident large enough to put you out of business, even if it was unlikely to occur?

We have a manual available to assist growers to prepare a risk management plan for an EAD outbreak. Thirty minutes spent completing this plan could improve the resilience of your business. It can help farm managers and owners to:

  • Outline the main risks for your business
  • Analyse how these risks relate to your business and which risks you should address
  • List possible actions that you can undertake to prepare or respond to an EAD outbreak

If you would like a copy of this manual, it is available on line for download here or a hard copy can be sent to you – please email info@woolproducers.com.au to request a copy.