Change to sheep disease barrier rules

Easier: The Ovine Johne's disease movement barrier will be lifted on July 1.
Easier: The Ovine Johne's disease movement barrier will be lifted on July 1.

Farmers who purchase sheep from interstate will be able to build their flocks much more quickly as long-standing restrictions are being lifted.

It will be easier to move animals purchased from Victoria and New South Wales into South Australia as the State Government seeks to help livestock growers re-stock once the drought breaks.

Primary Industries Minister Tim Whetstone said the government wanted to help increase the farm production of wool, beef and sheep meat across the state.

"We will be tearing down the last Ovine Johne's disease movement barrier, and from July 1, farmers will find it easier to source sheep from interstate to boost the size of their flocks," Mr Whetstone said.

"The dry conditions experienced both here and in the Eastern states means there will be limited availability of sheep for restocking purposes once conditions improve, so now is the time for farmers to lay plans to boost the size of their flocks.

"Without this reform, our local sheep and wool industry would be at a significant disadvantage to Eastern states' farmers who would be free to buy the cream of our flocks while South Australian farmers would have been shackled in trying to source from interstate."

Last year the state's sheep industry changed to a voluntary program for the management of Ovine Johne's Disease - it is recommended that farmers continue to acquire animals which have been vaccinated or will be vaccinated at purchase.

Livestock SA president Joe Keynes said the allowance of easier stock movement should not change the management practices of OJD in South Australia.

"We are aware that approved vaccinates and stock from areas with a low OJD risk prevalence will not only be in limited supply when seasonal conditions improve but will also increase in price," Mr Keynes said.

"As the National Sheep Health Declaration remains mandatory for all sheep movements into or within South Australia, producers will need to need to consider how to adapt their on-farm biosecurity and disease management strategies in line with these new arrangements.

For details on the changes to sheep movement visit www.pir.sa.gov.au/ojd-management-program

This story Disease barrier rules lifted first appeared on The Murray Valley Standard.