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Farmers warned about ovine brucellosis risk

In the lead up to spring ram sales, the NSW Farmers' Sheepmeat and Wool committees are reminding producers to be vigilant about ovine brucellosis and other animal disease when buying or selling sheep.

“It is important to make sure you know the disease status before you trade any animals. Producers are encouraged to ask for a Sheep Health Statement when buying sheep,” said NSW Farmers Sheepmeat Committee Chair Ian Cargill.

Mr Cargill said under the Biosecurity Act 2015, all farmers have a shared responsibility to manage biosecurity and animal health.

“Make sure you examine all rams before purchase and consult a veterinarian for advice,” Mr Cargill said.

“Only buy from studs that can demonstrate freedom from ovine brucellosis. All rams on your property should be examined every year.

“It's important to ensure that stray stock are prevented from risking infection of ovine brucellosis by entering other flocks, and to prevent disease-free flocks from mixing with agisted sheep.”

Wool Committee chair Andrew Wood said farmers could help boost awareness of ovine brucellosis and prevent it spreading by checking their own rams and participating in the NSW Ovine Brucellosis Accreditation Scheme.

“The accreditation scheme provides ram buyers with a list of studs from which they can purchase rams free of the disease,” Mr Wood said. 

Mr Wood said that NSW Farmers is seeking the mandatory implementation of the accreditation scheme for all rams sold for purposes other than slaughter. 

“Education about ovine brucellosis is crucial, and we are also asking the government to place greater emphasis on talking to producers about the risks from ovine brucellosis and the benefits of buying rams from accredited flocks,” Mr Wood said. 

“As there is no vaccination available for ovine brucellosis, producers should be vigilant in preventing the disease from establishing in your flock.”

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