Recent LBN activities
Victorian Regional Manager Dr Pat Kluver recently presented at the BESTWOOL/BESTLAMB conference in Bendigo, reporting on results from the National Sheep Health Monitoring Project (NSHMP).
He discussed how results have begun providing information on diseases and conditions detected on the slaughter floor.
“On-farm impacts include reduced production, cost of treatments and stock deaths,” Dr Kluver said.
“At the abattoir, carcases may be trimmed, downgraded or condemned and there are penalties of cents per kilogram in the case of grass seeds.”
Improvements in sheep health, increased profits and farm productivity are expected to follow.
Download our disease management fact sheets.
Helping producers be better prepared for natural disasters
LBN National Operations Manager, Dr Sarah-Jane Wilson, recently took part in cyclone recovery workshops in Central Queensland, delivering a session on the importance of on-farm biosecurity measures before and after a natural disaster.
Run by AgForce Projects and Queensland Farmers Federation (QFF), the aim of the workshops was to help farmers be more resilient in the face of natural disasters.
“On top of the threats to human health and safety, biosecurity threats that impact animal health, productivity and marketability are of paramount concern to producers during and after natural disasters” Dr Wilson said.
“In Queensland natural disasters are unavoidable so it’s important to help livestock producers develop some action plans to assist in getting them back on their feet quickly. Building resilience and speeding recovery from natural disasters, will reduce the economic impact on an enterprise.”
More workshops are being held across Queensland in July. Click here for more information.
LBN at AgFest in Launceston
LBN’s Jess Coad was on hand to discuss weed spread via livestock. Using a display of hay bale, sheep/cow and manure, she gave examples of weeds that can be spread via feed and fodder, on the fleece/coats of sheep and cattle, and via their digestive system.
“Many people commented that it was good to visualise the weed spread via livestock,” Dr Coad said.
“It’s a good reminder that weed seeds can remain viable after passing through livestock and that as a livestock owner, this needs to be considered as a biosecurity risk.”
Singleton Beef Marketing Forum
LBN’s regional officer for NSW Rachel Gordon recently presented at the Singleton Beef Marketing Forum on the importance of biosecurity systems, including NLIS, for protecting international market access.
While there Rachel also toured the Singleton Showgrounds with local show committee members to discuss how biosecurity could be improved during the event, when the movement of stock, trucks and people can risk the spread of diseases, pests and weeds.
Huon Small Farm Expo
LBN’s regional officer for Tasmania Jess Coad presented at the Huon Small Farm Expo on the role small landholders can play in protecting themselves and those around them from the risks of unwanted weeds, pests and diseases.
Jess and was joined by Rachel Gordon, LBN’s NSW officer, who was visiting to learn first hand the issues affecting Tasmanian producers and to help man the LBN information stall.
Together they gave away more than 60 Property Identification Code (PIC) application forms, and National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) guides for smallholders, to attendees who where either thinking about getting livestock, or already had some.
Only one sheep, pig, alpaca, goat, horse or cattle is needed for a PIC to be required. The PIC operates hand in glove with the NLIS, which is Australia’s system for identification and traceability of livestock.
Sheep health in dry conditions
Sheep Connect Tasmania, LBN and Zoetis collaborated during November 2015 to deliver three information sessions for those looking to manage the health and welfare of their livestock, feedbase, and business, during dry conditions.
Held in areas across Tasmania affected by lack of rain, the sessions were well received by over 50 attendees.
Presenters included John Francis, of Holmes Sackett, who spoke about decision making; Phil Jarvie, form Zoetis, spoke about sheep disease prevalence; Bruce Jackson, DPIPWE, discussed livestock welfare and transport considerations; Warren Johnston, of Roberts Ltd, discussed market options; and LBN’s Jess Coad (pictured) addressed producers about biosecurity considerations during dry times.
Participants rated the usefulness of the information delivered to their enterprise as 4.2 out of 5, where 5 was very useful. The key message participants took away with them was the need to make decisions early and act upon them.
The conference, Managing change innovation and action in an ever shrinking world, focussed on the skills needed to effectively communicate best practice in an age when funding for extension programs is becoming more difficult to obtain.
Jess provided an overview of how LBN is increasing awareness, knowledge, and change within the sheep and beef industries.
EAD training for young vets
Dr Kluver was among the speakers at a recent training day organised by LBN in conjunction the University of Melbourne vet school and Victoria’s Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources.
Among the speakers were university lecturers, an epidemiologist, and senior vets from the Department of Agriculture, including the current Chief Veterinary Officer, Professor Charles Milne, and ex CVO Dr Hugh Miller, who brought their years of experience in EAD response to the workshop.
Case studies of recent outbreaks of EADs gave practical lessons learnt in disease control and the difficulties in working the area.
Disease covered included foot and mouth disease (FMD), anthrax, avian Influenza, and equine influenza.
The day was designed to be interactive with practical demonstrations of entry and exit protocols for working on an infected area, with four of the students acting as ‘guinea pigs’.
Pictured are Professor James Gilkerson, LBN’s Dr Patrick Kluver, vet students Camille Sydow and Shannon-Rae Scriberras, who are listening to Chief Veterinary Officer Professor Charles Milne discussing lessons learnt from the 2001 FMD outbreak.
It’s show time in Tasmania!
With show season about to commence, LBN’s regional officer for Tasmania Jess Coad took the opportunity to talk biosecurity with the State’s up and coming livestock producers at a two-day camp to prepare them for the show season.
About 80 students from a number of schools across Tasmania took part and impressed Jess with their biosecurity knowledge, including that they should not allow livestock to graze grass from the showgrounds, nor allow them to drink from communal water troughs.
They also discussed the importance of Non-Assessed livestock not using the same facilities (wash bay, tie-up areas) as Assessed livestock. (Assessed livestock are those that are part of the CattleMAP and SheepMAP programs for Johne’s disease.)
WA College of Ag – Narrogin
LBN’s role in educating the next generation of livestock industry participants on the importance of biosecurity has continued in Western Australia, with our regional officer Carey Hobson rounding up the Year 12s at WA College of Agriculture – Narrogin.
She ran an “introduction to farm biosecurity planning” session with the students, and follows on from another recent presentation to students on the importance of disease awareness at the Lamb Survival and Post-Mortem Workshop held at the Muresk Institute Northam, an event coordinated by Planfarm and made available through the Making More from Sheep program.
Education has a massive role to play in improving biosecurity practices and LBN has been actively engaged with the education sector, including working with a number of schools around Australia that are implementing biosecurity plans for their agricultural programs.
WA’s Harvey Agricultural College is already embracing biosecurity principles as part of its education packages, and LBN is continuing to work with other agricultural institutes to encourage wider adoption of biosecurity as an essential part of any agriculture-related course.
Discover Ag Tasmania
The agricultural industries’ next generation were briefed on the role of biosecurity and mitigation practices before embarking on a week of visiting farming enterprises and agricultural industries through the ‘Discover Ag’ program.
Organised by Roger Tyshing, the current camp has 19 students participating.
The students have the chance to ‘see, hear, and do’ first hand from a range of people working in the agricultural industry, and discover the range of opportunities available to them.
The week kicked off with a presentation on OH&S by Phil John from Farm Safe Tasmania, and on-farm biosecurity by Jess Coad, the Livestock Biosecurity Network’s regional officer for Tasmania.
Jess spoke about biosecurity on a national, state and farm level. She covered what an Emergency Animal Disease is, the importance of reporting anything unusual, and what to expect during an EAD incident and what impact it could have on the industry and local communities.
- reviewed a risk assessment for farm visitors, which they filled out between farms, taking into consideration how many farms they visited each day, what type of farms they were, and what they came into contact with
- participated in a disease spread exercise that included swapping the clear contents of cups before discovering whether or not they had spread a disease through the contents changing colour when Jess added a ‘special ingredient’
- learnt how to correctly clean their boots by removing soil and manure before applying disinfectant. They will use the foot cleaning equipment LBN supplied throughout the week.
Preparing for EAD in SA
The Livestock Biosecurity Network is at the forefront of preparing industry to respond to emergency animal disease outbreaks.
Early recognition of a serious or exotic animal disease is one of the most important factors influencing the chance of controlling the disease and reducing its economic and social impact on the whole community.
LBN’s South Australian regional officer Dr Emma Rooke took part in an industry and government workshop in Adelaide on August 11 designed to improve understanding of roles, responsibilities and activities that may be undertaken by each stakeholder group.
Planning and collaboration between agencies is a vital part of preparing response plans in the unwanted event of an emergency animal disease.
The workshop also reviewed stakeholders current capacity to undertake the activities required of them in the event of a major disease outbreak.
There is a legal requirement for anyone who suspects or diagnoses a notifiable disease to immediately notify their relevant state or territory animal health authority.
If you suspect an exotic disease call the Disease Watch Hotline – 1800 675 888 (24 hours a day, every day of the year).
More information on notifiable diseases is available here.
LBN and Leading Sheep in Tamworth & Armidale
LBN’s southern Queensland and northern NSW representative Corrie Grimmett and our regional officer for northern Australia Dr Sarah-Jane Wilson have been talking biosecurity with a group of Queensland sheep producers visiting Armidale and Tamworth.
The pair took part in and made presentations to the Leading Sheep bus tour, running from July 27-29, which exposed producers to new research and technology, production and processing activities and on-board awareness sessions on sheep health, biosecurity and market updates and projections.
The tour made stops at the Thomas Foods International abattoir in Tamworth, the Sheep CRC research farm in Armidale and leading properties and feedlots in the New England region.
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries extension officer Alex Stirton said the tour had been organised in response to producer feedback gathered through Leading Sheep’s coordinating committee, with funding sourced through the industry’s ‘Making More From Sheep’ program.
LBN’s Dr Sarah-Jane Wilson praised the initiative and commended the producers for taking time to attend the tour.
“Although sheep numbers in Queensland are at a low point at the current time, there is indication that the sheepmeat and wool industries are picking up,” she said.
“As sheep begin moving from other states into Queensland, it is imperative that producers are aware of the biosecurity risks associated with introducing new livestock into their enterprise, and take proactive steps to manage these risks.”
Ovine biosecurity at Wagga
Producers attending the Graham Centre Sheep Forum on Friday July 10 at the Charles Sturt University Convention Centre heard of their important role in protecting their property, region and livestock industry from biosecurity threats.
“Farm biosecurity plans are simple to implement and effective in protecting farms and producers’ future,” said Mrs Louise Pearce, of the Livestock Biosecurity Network. “In many cases, one or two simple preventative measures can save a lot of future heartache.”
Almost anything moved onto a property can be a potential source of introduction for pests, weeds or disease for livestock and plants. Being aware of the biosecurity risks that can arise as a result of the introduction of stock, people, equipment or other farm inputs is the first step towards actions to mitigate these risks.
“The single biggest threat to the sheep industry’s sustainability would be an outbreak of an emergency animal disease, but endemic diseases to the Riverina such as footrot, scabby mouth and Ovine Johnes disease, reduce productivity and income, and have an impact on animal health and welfare,” explained Dr Tim Biffin, District Veterinary, Riverina Local Land Services.
“A biosecurity plan costs very little, but the return is immediate, ongoing and cumulative,” Dr Biffin said.
More information is available from the Graham Centre media release.