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NSW Farmers calls for greater collaboration on Johne’s disease

NSW Farmers’ Association has concerns about the impact of bovine Johne’s disease (JD) deregulation on mixed cattle and sheep producers.

Derek Schoen, NSW Farmers’ President, said that mixed farmers needed to declare that there were no clinical cases of JD in sheep, goats or alpacas on their property for the past five years in order to achieve a high Johne’s Beef Assurance Score (J-BAS) for their cattle.

“We are concerned that the J-BAS does not sufficiently recognise mixed livestock farming operations," Mr Schoen said.

NSW Farmers is frustrated about the deregulation process for Johne’s disease and the lack of communication on the changes to farmers, especially the lack of events explaining the changes and outlining the actions for farmers to undertake.

We are concerned that the J-BAS does not sufficiently recognise mixed livestock farming operations.
Derek Schoen, President, NSW Farmers

“The roll-out of the J-BAS program has left many farmers confused and communication about the biosecurity requirements have been inadequate. For example, there are implications for farmers J-BAS score if a clinical case of Johne’s disease is observed, and then declared in sheep, goats or alpacas. This is further complicated by the difficulty in determining a clinical case of JD with anything other than a post-mortem. This has not been communicated”. 

Mr Schoen said that NSW Farmers wanted to see greater collaboration and co-operation between the cattle industry and jurisdictions on the management of Johnes. 

“At the end of the day, many farmers have mixed livestock enterprises and this needs to be recognised. No one can stand alone on biosecurity and we must ensure that there are no adverse effects on mixed graziers.”

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