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