DO you purchase dairy, dairy cross animals or beef stock that have been in contact with dairy herds? Are you requesting a Dairy Assurance Score and Cattle Health statement for all purchases?
Many producers are unaware of the risks of bringing bovine Johne's disease (BJD) onto their farm through purchasing certain types of stock that appear to be healthy, Livestock Health and Pest Authorities (LHPA) district veterinarian Ian Lugton said.
"BJD is an insidious disease that can arrive on a farm in an apparently healthy but infected animal," Dr Lugton said.
In cattle, the main feature of the disease is a persistent "pea soup" diarrhoea, which causes the animals affected to lose weight until they become emaciated, then die.
"BJD is difficult to eradicate because it can survive in the soil for up to a year and while testing at a herd level is reasonably accurate, unfortunately testing of individual animals is not.
The disease also has serious welfare implications if not controlled, therefore the key with BJD is prevention."
Dr Lugton said the onus was on cattle producers to be informed about the BJD status of the animals they were buying.
"To minimise the risk, producers should ask about the BJD status of stock before purchase and only buy low risk cattle - always ask the vendor to supply a Cattle Health Statement and keep copies," he said.
"When it comes to BJD, close contact with dairy cattle, dairy production and former dairy pastures pose risks. If buying dairy or dairy cross cattle, or beef cattle from dairy holdings, and you want to retain Beef Only status or access Queensland markets, ask for the Dairy BJD Assurance Score and only buy cattle that have a score of eight or above."
The Dairy BJD Assurance Score system is based on the level of risk of BJD associated with the herd - the higher the score (out of 10) the lower the risk. All dairy cattle offered for sale must be accompanied by a Dairy BJD Assurance Score.
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