Around State on BJD

Picture courtesy of Fairfax Media

Picture courtesy of Fairfax Media

By Brian Tessmann, QDO President

The implementation of the State Governments new Biosecurity framework in July, combined with the recent national changes in Bovine Johns Disease (BJD) management, have left Queensland dairy with a huge task. It is now up to the Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation (QDO) to assist farmers by presenting viable protections against introduced biosecurity threats such as BJD.

We who milk the cows know, just as the surveys have shown, that Queensland’s dairy farmers want to remain BJD free. However, as previously laboured, government actions have now left us out in the cold. This has meant that the Queensland dairy industry has to decide whether farmers through individual biosecurity management can maintain our very low prevalence of BJD in the state.

The alternative to this is to let the disease spread throughout the dairyindustry as it has done in many other states.  Some then propose that farmers try to manage or restrict the disease individually through intrusive on farm management practices. This latter choice has clearly been pushed by the southern dairy industry as it is a management system for regions where BJD is already commonplace. Its aim is not to stay free of the disease, but rather to reduce its clinical impact and obscure its prevalence from the market place.

QDO has plotted some options for the way forward but the dairy industry needs to be informed and have input before a decision is made. This is why QDO will be providing information and facilitating forums throughout the state’s dairy regions before Christmas.

Regardless of what option is chosen it is essential that each farmer must get up to speed on their general biosecurity obligations, including BJD. With this individual groundwork complete Queensland can start to plot the most suitable pathway to deliver the most secure and efficient outcome for dairy farmers.