The rigorous health requirements for sheep of all breeds at the 2020 Royal Adelaide Show have sparked strong debate, with some interstate stud breeders saying it is time Adelaide fell in line with other major sheep shows.
More than 18 months ago, management of ovine johnes disease was deregulated nationally and in July last year, 20 years of regulatory control ended in SA.
But in a statement issued to exhibitors earlier this month, the Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society of SA has decided all sheep entries in 2020 must be from exhibitors in the Market Assurance Program, or if not and they exhibited in 2019, the sheep must be approved OJD vaccinates and from flocks with no change in their OJD status.
New exhibitors must be approved vaccinates with a negative pooled faecal culture test of their sheep.
The statement said the decision was based on consistent feedback to the show's pastoral committee and a review conducted by PIRSA.
In 2021 it is proposed all entries not from flocks in the MAP program will need to be approved vaccinates as well as providing a negative PFC.
SA has the best facilities in the country for showing sheep by a mile and I know of quite a few people who would be there if the requirements were relaxed.
Ouyen, Vic, Merino breeder Kevin Crook, Tamaleuca stud, says sheep shown at Adelaide should only have to meet the standards imposed on commercial sheep that cross the SA-Vic border.
"If the sheep are approved vaccinates that should cover everything," he said.
Mr Crook says it is a double standard that many SA studs exhibit at the Australian Sheep & Wool Show in Bendigo, Vic, where the only requirement is that the sheep are not from an OJD-infected flock, but then impose a higher standard in their home state.
"It is disappointing when at Bendigo - the biggest sheep show in Australia - we can be segregated from SA sheep, I can't see why that can't be done at Adelaide Show.
"SA has the best facilities in the country for showing sheep by a mile and I know of quite a few people who would be there if the requirements were relaxed."
Merino SA president Nick Wadlow says the committee supports the society's 2020 sheep entry requirements.
"We have a lot of buyers coming to the Adelaide sale because of our high entry standards. They are looking for sheep with MAP accreditation or approved vaccinates whereas that doesn't happen at sales anywhere else," he said.
"If the show society lowers its entry standards all of a sudden there is less of a reason for studs to be in the MAP and/or approved vaccinates then their biosecurity levels are reduced.
"SA has been strong on OJD standards and other states' OJD surveillance has fallen by the wayside, the Adelaide show society gives credence to these stud breeders who have maintained a high level health status."
But Mr Wadlow said it was still possible for Merino SA to keep encouraging interstate sheep to compete in the show ring and be offered at the Adelaide ram sale.
"To be eligible it is pretty simple for first time vendors or exhibitors, they just have to join the MAP program or be approved vaccinates with a PFC test," he said.
Mr Wadlow acknowledged SA studs did exhibit at interstate shows and sales which did not have the same requirements but did not see this as a major risk to their flocks because the sheep were penned separately in their health status areas and the show mats were kept clean.
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