THE state’s livestock producers will soon have a new risk management tool to minimise the chance of endemic diseases being spread to their properties.
At last week’s Animal Production 2016 conference in Adelaide, Biosecurity SA chief veterinary officer Roger Paskin outlined the proposed One Biosecurity program, which he hoped would be available to livestock producers by early next year.
The unique biosecurity scoring system has been developed by government in conjunction with veterinarians and producers.
It aims to change the focus from endemic statewide disease control programs to individual farms managing their own biosecurity risk.
“A major aim of One Biosecurity is the creation of one tool to manage an entire spectrum of risks, provide SA producers with more credibility in the marketplace and future-proof our livestock industries,” he said.
Specific tools to manage endemic diseases such as lice, johnes disease, footrot and pestivirus will be built into the voluntary program.
But Dr Paskin said it would be equally useful in the event of an epidemic such as foot and mouth disease.
Participating properties will receive a one to five score for farm biosecurity and farm disease risk.
The farm biosecurity rating is based on practices including whether bought-in stock are acquired from farms of a known safe biosecurity status, the property’s vaccination program, adherence to the National Livestock Identification System and record keeping of feeds and stock remedies used.
Dr Paskin said a three-star rating would be the minimum required for One Biosecurity. PIRSA’s background work has shown most producers will easily attain this and stud breeders are expected to reach a five-star rating.
Disease risk status will range from unknown (unassessed) to low or negligible risk depending on what is known about disease on the farm and what is being done to manage it.
A producer wishing to participate in One Biosecurity would simply complete an online questionnaire on their first sign-in. The software embedded in the portal will then automatically calculate a score for them.
“We are going to put together a Facebook for farmers in a highly secure but social media environment where farmers can have their own page and make their scores known,” said Dr Paskin, who expects this will replace Cattle and Sheep Health Statements.
“You will be able to attend a livestock sale and look it up on the phone,” he said.
“You won’t need to worry about getting the paperwork afterwards when it is too late to check.”