Skip to content

Deadline looming for biosecurity plans

By District Veterinarian Lyndell Stone

The management of Johnes Disease (JD) in Australia changed significantly on 1st July 2016. As part of the new approach to JD, most states have removed government regulation controlling the disease. Producers are now responsible for managing the JD risk on their property and reducing disease spread.

A major component of this new approach is the introduction of the risk-profiling tool for beef cattle producers called the Johnes Beef Assurance Score (J-BAS). This self-assessment system is a guide to the risk of JD in a beef herd and assigns a score from 0 to 8. The higher the score, the lower the risk. NSW beef herds with no history of JD were initially assigned a JBAS score of 7 on 1st July 2016, but that score will drop to zero (0) on 1st July 2017 unless a ‘Farm Biosecurity Plan’ has been implemented to prevent the introduction of JD.

Beef cattle producers in NSW need to determine what JBAS score will satisfy the needs of their buyers. If you are likely to market your cattle to Buyers or Jurisdictions that require a J-BAS assurance then please develop a Biosecurity Plan now before the deadline. It is much easier and cheaper for beef producers to maintain the current interim score of 6 or 7 than to lapse to a J-BAS 0 and then at a later stage work to regain a JBAS of 6, 7 or 8.

Some states (particularly WA and NT) have elected to maintain specific border controls for Johnes Disease. Before moving any livestock to a different state or territory, owners should check the requirements with a local animal health officer or the relevant state or territory website.

Many producers are asking about the difference between transitioning to a J-BAS 6 and J- BAS 7. To maintain a JBAS -7 the biosecurity Plan has to be overseen by a Private Veterinarian and requires triennial (i.e. every third year) herd check testing, of which the first test must be completed by 30 June 2018. A J-BAS 6 only requires producers to develop and prepare their own Farm Biosecurity Plan by the 1st July 2017 deadline. That plan must include measures to prevent the introduction of JD onto the property.

Although maintaining a J-BAS assurance may not be relevant to all producers, we strongly encourage all farmers to consider developing a biosecurity plan or protocol for their property to protect against the entry and exit of pests, diseases and weeds.

To find out more about biosecurity planning and other requirements of the new approach to JD please subscribe to the Hunter Local Land Services Livestock Health newsletter or speak to your District or Private Veterinarian.

More information on biosecurity plans and Johnes Disease is also available on the Animal Health Australia website.