Local show societies may need to build new facilities to ensure beef and dairy cattle are completely segregated on showgrounds thanks to the new farm bio-security rules that incorporate specific Johnes disease measures.
The changes that were to be implemented nationally by July 1 are now expected to be in place by October 1. These on-farm bio-security regulations cover all diseases, pests and infestations not just Johnes disease.
Cattle producers will need to prepare an on-farm bio-security plan. These are available online – the most popular template is available on: www.animalhealthaustralia.com.au
Where there is no history of Johnes disease beef producers will automatically gain a Johnes Beef Assurance Score 6 (J-BAS).
Most would currently have that score but for producers who wish to gain a higher score further testing of stock would be required.
However for all intent purposes a J-BAS 6 for the vast majority of producers will be completely adequate to run a successful beef operation.
The J-BAS score can be affected, notably downgraded, should beef cattle come into contact with either dairy cattle or sheep affected by Ovine Johnes disease.
This raises issues for show societies where dairy and beef cattle are both exhibited. Dairy cattle have their own J-DAS score (Johnes Dairy Assurance Score) and it is expected dairy cattle will be required to have a J-DAS 7 to enter a showground.
Some societies have already built separate facilities including unloading, wash bays, housing and exhibition areas so beef and dairy cattle do not come into direct contact while on the showground.
Commenting on the expected changes, Maitland Show beef cattle coordinator Leonie Ball said at Maitland they had already carried out an audit on their facilities for the previous two years.
“This audit means we know our facilities at Maitland meet all the regulations for Work Health and Safety as well as animal health and safety requirements,” she said.
In Queensland a producer has started a petition to end the J-BAS score.“It doesn’t take rocket science to recognise an unworkable, costly system that will do nothing to help cattle producers”.
These frustrated words come from Boonah-based Brahman breeder Jan Delroy, who has started a “No to J-BAS” petition and calls for the new biosecurity system not to be implemented. Ms Delroy started an online “No to J-BAS” petition at www.change.org/p/cattle-council-of-australia-no-to-j-bas this week.