Dairy cow at the Camerons property Lagoon pocket.
Dairy cow at the Camerons property Lagoon pocket. Renee Albrecht

Cattle sector wins flexibility on biosecurity plan

SOUTHERN Downs graziers have extra time to prepare biosecurity plans for managing Johne's disease.

Queensland cattle producers will have another three months to get ready after Animal Health Australia and the Cattle Council of Australia agreed to be flexible on new management requirements.

AgForce cattle president Bim Struss said many producers were only now becoming aware of new biosecurity obligations and what they needed to do to continue to trade with the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

"Changes to biosecurity laws have shifted a lot of the costs and responsibilities for managing pests and diseases on to producers," Mr Struss said.

"The new national approach to Johne's disease in cattle has seen most states remove regulations, including here in Queensland, with Animal Health Australia developing a Johne's Beef Assurance Score for cattle producers to manage on-farm risks themselves."

A biosecurity plan will also soon be required for producers to be accredited under the Livestock Production Assurance program overseen by Meat and Livestock Australia.

"Many producers have been concerned they will not have a biosecurity plan in place by June 30, meaning their J-BAS could drop to zero and take years to build back up," Mr Struss said.

"AgForce approached Animal Health Australia and Cattle Council of Australia urging flexibility and more support for producers, with these organisations now agreeing to a three-month extension before the new Johne's disease management framework takes full effect."

AgForce is conducting an online survey to gain a better understanding of current on-farm biosecurity knowledge, capability and practices, with results to be used to help producers improve practices and maximise production.

To complete the survey, go to surveymonkey.com/r/ JPJDX8R or for more information, go to agforceqld.org.au.