Farm biosecurity for sheep

Background information

Strict biosecurity measures are required to maintain freedom from economically signifcant diseases and parasites. Assessing the risk of disease outbreaks and adopting appropriate strategies can reduce the chances of introducing diseases that affect productivity and proft. If a disease is introduced, action must be taken to control or eradicate it.

Key decisions, critical actions and benchmarks

Assess the current disease status of your fock.
Some important pests and diseases to be avoided include:

  • Footrot
  • Lice
  • Ovine Johnes Disease (OJD)
  • Drench resistance.

Be able to recognise important diseases and avoid their introduction.

Potential sources of disease

Ask for a signed Sheep Health Statement concerning disease history, to assess the risk of disease when introducing new sheep into a fock. Sheep producers are strongly encouraged to provide a copy of the National Vendor Declaration (NVD) for all sheep or lambs they offer for sale or slaughter, and to insist on a correctly completed copy when buying sheep or lambs. A signed NVD declares that the owner of the sheep has met the basic on-farm food safety requirements of the Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) program.

Complete a risk assessment of your boundary fences and policy for new stock introductions, transport and people to identify potential disease
risks for your farm.

Quarantine new sheep on arrival

Purchasing stock is a normal part of farm management. To minimise the risk of introducing disease, observe quarantine and induction periods where existing sheep are not exposed to new sheep.

Control and eradicate existing diseases

Control and eradicate introduced diseases such as footrot and lice.

Signposts

Read

Footrot Control and Eradication, 2nd edition. Edited by John Webb Ware (Mackinnon Project). Call Coopers Animal Health on 1800 226 511.

View

WormBoss – a web-based tool to help sheep producers manage worms in sheep. Visit: www.wormboss.com.au OJD information is available from Animal Health Australia: www.aahc.com.au

LiceBoss – a support system to help sheep producers decide on the need for a louse treatment, choose the most costeffective control option and minimise residues. It consists of a number of modules that can be chosen separately to suit the particular situation. Visit:

www. liceboss.com.au or www.wool.com.au and click on ‘LiceBoss’.

Alternatives to Diazinon – a fact sheet with information for sheep producers on options for the control of sheep lice:

http://www.wool.com.au/Publications/Animal_health_and_welfare/page__2206.aspx

AWI External Parasites web page – learn about new research aimed at minimising chemical residues from the control of external parasites, whilst simultaneously driving lice and blowfy incidences down.

Visit: http://www.wool.com.au/Animal_Health/Parasites/External/page__2049.aspx

The Sheep and Lamb NVD/Waybill – this website will provide you with more information:

http://www.mla.com.au/LivestockQualitySystems/NationalVendorDeclarations/SheepLambNVDWaybill.htm

Livestock Production Assurance Quality Assurance (LPA QA) Manual – implementing LPA QA will focus attention on the performance and welfare of the animals, ensuring improved productivity, and potentially provide entry to specifc markets. Livestock producers can register for LPA QA and:

  • Purchase a hardcopy of the LPA QA manual by phoning the MLA hotline on 1800 675 717
  • Download a free copy of the LPA QA manual at: www.mla.com.au/LPA_QAManual