Johne’s disease scoring system update.

The scoring system for managing Johne’s disease has been simplified for 2019.  The new plan is called Johne’s Disease Dairy Score.  Queensland dairy farmers will want to make sure they understand the changes.

The 2019 plan has less reliance on calf separation than the 2016 plan that it replaces.  It recognises vaccination as a method of reducing the impacts of Johne’s disease and continues to value the farm biosecurity plan and herd testing.  The new plan also has a new date for ending the transition period for farmers to adopt a score, now of 30 September 2019.

In the context of Johne’s Disease Dairy Score, a farm biosecurity plan should specifically address Johne’s disease risks, and a herd test will ordinarily be a Herd Environmental Culture (HEC) Test on a sample of slurry.

To meet the new transition date of 30 September, sampling for HEC testing will need to be completed by 30 June 2019.

This is a summary of how the changes will affect Queensland dairy farmers:

  • If you have elected to be a Dairy Score of 8 under the 2016 plan, continue your annual discussion and endorsement of your biosecurity plan with your veterinarian, and the deadline for sampling for your first HEC Test is now 30 June 2019.

  • If you chose to have a Dairy Score of 7 under the 2016 plan by doing a HEC Test but without veterinary endorsement of your biosecurity plan, you may either:

o   Upgrade to an 8 by engaging your veterinarian in your biosecurity plan (and ensuring you’ve completed your first HEC Test by 30 September 2019, or

o   Maintain the score 7 if you have already done the HEC Test and have a suitable biosecurity plan.

  • To maintain a Johne’s Disease Dairy Score of 8, you must continue to engage your veterinarian every year in discussion and endorsement of your biosecurity plan, and complete a HEC test with negative results every two years.  If you don’t engage your veterinarian every year in your biosecurity plan, your score will lapse to 7.

  • To maintain a Johne’s Disease Dairy Score of 7, you must continue your biosecurity plan and complete a HEC test with negative results every two years.  If you don’t do a HEC test with negative results every two years, you could do a HEC test every three years and your score would lapse to 6, or do no further HEC tests and your score will lapse to 4.

  • If you chose to manage JD risks under the 2016 plan by only having a biosecurity plan and not by any herd testing, your property was score 3, or score 4 if you had the 3-step calf separation in place for at least 4 years.  In either case, your Johne’s Disease Dairy Score is now 4 under the 2019 plan.

  • Herds which don’t have a biosecurity plan that addresses Johne’s disease risks default to score 0.  Due to the requirements for a farm biosecurity plan by both LPA and most dairy processors, score 0 should not apply to any dairy farm.

  • The score for any property on which there has been a clinical case (scouring and wasting diagnosed as due to JD) in the past 5 years is determined initially by the time since the last clinical case.  The score may then progress through vaccinating and herd testing with negative results.

Further information is available at:

Dairy Australia - https://www.dairyaustralia.com.au/farm/animal-management/animal-health/bovine-johnes-disease

Source: Lawrence Gavey BSc (Hons), BVSc, Grad Cert Bus (Public Sector Mgmt); Principal Veterinarian, Animal Disease Containment, Animal Biosecurity and Welfare, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

Farm invaders to be hit with swift enforcement action.

The Palaszczuk Government has moved fast to crack down hard on animal rights activists who invade farms and meatworks after two further disruptive protests on the Darling Downs and Southern Queensland last Monday.

Before the end of the month, militant animal rights activists will face $652.75 fines issued either on the spot or later after review of evidence from the protest site.

The fines will be issued by Police or biosecurity officers.

The Biosecurity Regulation 2016 will be amended to include this new penalty aimed squarely at animal activists who consider their cause is above the law.

The move was fully endorsed by the Animal Industry Security Taskforce comprising officials from the Department of Agriculture, Police, AgForce and the Queensland Farmers Federation when they met last Thursday.

Minister for Police Mark Ryan said the new on-the-spot fines are a very welcome new measure for Police in combatting illegal and dangerous behaviour by reckless animal activists.

“Those breaking the law will soon be hit hard financially,” Mr Ryan said.

“A taskforce established by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and supported by Queensland Police is also putting processes in place to de-escalate these tense situations and to maintain the safety of everyone involved.”

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said the escalation of farm and meatworks invasions we’ve just witnessed are completely unacceptable.

“As well as on-the-spot fines, these disruptive and illegal protestors could also face the courts and possible jail time on trespass charges, once affected landowners complain officially to police and evidence supports their arrests,” Mr Furner said.

“We take animal welfare very seriously and so does an overwhelming majority of our agricultural businesses.”

Mr Furner said the Palaszczuk Government had moved quickly to establish a strong deterrent for activists thinking of breaching biosecurity restrictions where livestock were kept.

“We have acted decisively and drawn a real line in the sand,” he said.

“Animal rights zealots invading farms are a real threat to biosecurity and are putting their lives and the lives of farmers, workers and indeed the animals they claim to care about at risk.

“If they behave in this way then they will pay the price.”

Activists who move from location to location for multiple protests will face being slapped with multiple $652.75 on-the-spot fines.

Five people have now been scheduled to face trespass charges in the Toowoomba Magistrates Court on May 9 following a trespassing incident at a Millmerran property last month.

Initially charges were laid against a 29-year-old woman and 26-year-old man, both of Margate, who were alleged to be the principal organisers of a protest and trespassing incident at a Bostock Road, Millmerran, feedlot.

Investigations remain ongoing.

Source: Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries. The Honourable Mark Furner