Johne’s deadline mix-up

Confusion over Johne’s deadline

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HANDS up all those who think that come October 31 (or October 1) their JBAS 6 score will drop to JBAS 0 if they don’t have a biosecurity plan in place?

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HANDS up all those who think that come October 31 (or October 1) their current JBAS 6 score will drop to JBAS 0 if they don’t have a biosecurity plan in place?

Lots of hands I suspect because if you listened to a particular midday radio program on Monday you would have been led to believe that an important deadline in relation to Johne’s disease (JD) is looming. 

But if that is your concern, then take a step back and breathe a little easier because at this point in time there is no sunset date on that particular aspect of the voluntary JBAS scheme.

The only approaching deadline that I am aware of is the October 1 starting point for biosecurity plans to become a requirement for LPA, the industry’s Livestock Production Assurance program administered by MLA.

Easy enough to make a connection between JBAS and LPA given the common element of a biosecurity plan but for all intent and purpose the two programs should be considered quite separately.

Going forward from October 1, LPA accreditation will include a biosecurity plan. That does not mean it needs to be in place by October 1.

It is easy enough to make a connection between JBAS and LPA given the common element of a biosecurity plan but the two programs should be considered separate.

It is easy enough to make a connection between JBAS and LPA given the common element of a biosecurity plan but the two programs should be considered separate.

Producers will need to address the biosecurity plan requirement at the time of their accreditation renewal which will transition from an annual basis to every three years on the anniversary of their sign-up date. They will be notified by email or post two months before it is time to renew their accreditation.

Like JBAS, LPA is described as voluntary but in reality no LPA accreditation means no NVD and of course it is very hard to sell cattle without an NVD.

Ultimately, biosecurity plans will become commonplace through the LPA accreditation process and that does have implications for the JBAS scheme.

Having a bio-plan in place through LPA will satisfy the JBAS 6 requirement and correspondingly, a plan that has already been put in place for JBAS 6 will satisfy the LPA requirement.

It is therefore a no-brainer that most producers will become part of the JBAS scheme when they renew their LPA accreditation.

And therein lies one reason why there is no sunset date for JBAS 6 to downgrade to JBAS zero in the absence of a bio-plan.

To understand how this situation has come about it might be useful to backtrack to the transitionary arrangements implemented when the states removed regulation on July 1, 2016 in favour of an industry-assurance approach to managing this endemic disease.

Those transitionary arrangements provided for properties which had no prior infection (most properties in Queensland) to be allocated a JBAS of 7. This recognised the low prevalence of JD in the state.

However this transition period was scheduled to come to an end on June 30, 2017.

From then on Queensland beef herd owners were to have the following options:

  • Maintain JBAS 7,
  • Drop back to JBAS 6,
  • Step up to JBAS 8 or
  • Do nothing and lapse to JBAS 0.

Maintaining JBAS 7 required involvement of a veterinarian in a biosecurity plan whereas JBAS 6 did not.

Importantly if herd owners choose to do nothing by June 30 (that is fail to adopt a farm biosecurity plan that addresses JD risks) then their JBAS score was to drop to zero, the equivalent of a herd that was suspect, infected or of unknown status.

However as June 30 approached there was considerable consternation as to awareness and preparedness for the change.

In response to the clamour, it was decided that if nothing was done by producers by June 30, 2017, their herds would drop to a JBAS 6 instead of a JBAS 0 and that is essentially where things stand at the moment.

But an interesting development has also occurred along the way.

If a herd owner chooses to remain outside the JBAS scheme (even though the new LPA bio-plan requirement would make most properties automatically eligible to maintain JBAS 6), the herd would technically not have a JBAS score.

This would make things difficult for those cattle to enter the Northern Territory as the regulatory requirement adopted by the Territory administration for incoming livestock movements specifies a particular JBAS score.

However such a non-JBAS herd owner in Queensland would still almost certainly be able to meet the live export protocol requirements which are written in terms of clinical freedom from the disease (not in terms of a JBAS score) and that would allow his cattle to be exported through Queensland ports (provided other relevant specifications are met).

But the rub is that without a JBAS score of at least 6 they would be denied access to the same overseas markets if the exporter wanted them to go through Darwin.

The potential for this to run up against Constitutional matters of free trade between the states provides another explanation as to why there now seems to be no immediate intention to deviate from the transitional JBAS score of 6 that has been allocated to virtually all Queensland herds.

It would seem therefore as far as JBAS is concerned that everyone is automatically in unless you choose to opt out.

Involuntary sales keep numbers on move

WHETHER it is fats or feeders it is very much involuntary sales due to seasonal circumstances at the moment that is keeping numbers on the move.

Last week’s eastern states kill according to MLA was only marginally down at 127,076 all due to reduced numbers in South Australia and Tasmania.

Queensland and New South Wales numbers remained firm with variance only in the proportion of males to females.

One major processor I spoke to on Tuesday said they were well enough covered for the next two weeks but beyond that it looked less certain.

Oats crops are turning to dust forcing bullocks off in many instances at sub-optimal fat levels.

For the moment four-tooth ox continue to attract 490c/kg and 430c for heavy cow.

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