News and Views

Johne’s disease in cattle: the next phase

The next phase of the new, national approach to Johne’s disease (JD) in cattle is now approaching, with transitional arrangements for the Johne’s Beef Assurance Score (J-BAS) ending on 30 June 2017.

Most state jurisdictions have removed regulation for JD in cattle, with Western Australia and the Northern Territory having interim arrangements in place at the request of their respective industry bodies.

Producers wanting to sell cattle need to be aware of the current restrictions as well as their J-BAS and Dairy Score requirements, said Animal Health Australia’s (AHA) Executive Manager of Biosecurity and Product Integrity Services, Mr Duncan Rowland.

“Whilst the new approach to managing JD in cattle has significantly less regulation surrounding it, producers wanting to send their cattle to WA or the NT need to monitor entry requirements via their websites, which are updated regularly. Requirements include having a biosecurity plan in place as well as testing your cattle for JD, and other diseases, prior to selling into these markets,” said Mr Rowland.

An ideal way to ensure you are helping meet the trading obligations across all states and territories is through the voluntary risk profiling tool for beef cattle – the J-BAS, and the revised Dairy Score for dairy herds.

The ceasing of transitional J-BAS requirements on 30 June 2017 is a timely reminder for all Australian beef and dairy producers to finalise integrating JD into their disease management and on-farm biosecurity planning.

Producers can visit the Farm Biosecurity and Livestock Biosecurity Network websites for biosecurity planning information.

“Both beef and dairy producers can maintain market advantage by using either the J-BAS or Dairy Score tools, to assure buyers of the JD status of their herds. These scoring systems allow producers and buyers to assess their JD risk, and make informed purchasing decisions,” said Mr Rowland.

The new, national approach to JD in cattle – the Framework – focuses on managing on-farm biosecurity risk rather than controlling disease through regulation, and treats JD as just one of many diseases that producers must manage as a business risk.

As with all the changes stemming from the implementation of the new approach to JD in cattle, AHA will continue to update and inform Australian producers throughout the reform process.

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