Be extremely careful when buying cattle

By Brian Tessmann, QDO President

The Queensland Dairyfarmers Organisation (QDO) is bitterly disappointed with the Government’s decision no longer regulate livestock entry into Queensland or manage cattle movements from Bovine Johnes’ Disease (BJD) infected properties from 1 July 2016. QDO has and will continue to try to work constructively with government towards some sort of sensible transition as the new regulations come into effect.

In our most recent dairy industry survey, completed by 51% of this state’s dairy farmers, showed between 90% and 96% of respondents were against the removal of the BJD protections. This is in clear contrasts with those in other industries who ‘advocate’ on behalf of producers for the removal of the protections without recognised surveying or knowledge of impacts on the dairy industry.

The new Biosecurity Framework coming into effect on 1 July 2016 also encompasses changes around BJD and cattle tick management in Queensland. It is disappointing that industry was not given access to the regulations earlier to allow our members more time to better prepare for the framework changes. Under the new regulations the government talks of shared responsibility with industry but the stark reality is the transference of responsibility and liability to the individual producer. Worth noting is that while some dairy farmers in southern Australia are ramping up the new Market Assurance Program (MAP) dairy score scheme to help control the disease there is significant levels of BJD, just across the border in Northern NSW no significant management strategies currently in place.

Over the next few months QDO will aim to work with the state government and Dairy Australia to develop a management scheme that is more effective in controlling disease spread than the southern dairy score scheme, whilst not being intrusive to on farm management. Most importantly it is now essential that all Queensland dairy farmers take all the necessary actions to meet what is still their biosecurity obligations. It is essential that all Queensland farmers now check stock movement histories before trading in cattle, only buy cattle which are at dairy score 8 and ensure the health statements are clear of BJD.