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TAS Country : October 7th 2010
22 Tasmanian Country Friday, October 8, 2010 Fears rise over sheep disease ALERT: Sheep Connect co-ordinator Warren Hunt. IF you work in the sheep industry in Tasmania, watch out for symptoms of Ovine Johne's Disease be- cause it is on the rise. The state is anticipating a spike in the spread of the sheep-wasting disease. Animal Health Australia modelling is showing an escalation of the disease in Tasmania. Sheep Connect co- ordinator Warren Hunt said it was a strategic issue for the sheep industries, given the potential losses for sheep meat and wool. ''Once you get to a cer- tain threshold, the inci- dence of OJD increases exponentially,'' Mr Hunt said. ''It's around the 5 per cent mark, and we're pretty much around that threshold now in Tas- mania.'' He said the disease eas- ily spread from property to property. Areas infected with OJD include Fingal, Campbell Town, Longford, South Esk, Nile, Epping Forest and Perth. Mr Hunt said infection tended to follow riparian zones or catchments. ''It is a contagious bac- terial enteritis that is spread through infected soil or faeces,'' he said. Mr Hunt said OJD could be a serious disease with major economic impli- cations, now that sheep are worth nearly $100 each. ''If you've got OJD, a vaccination program is ef- fective,'' he said. ''It doesn't completely eliminate it, but reduces it.'' The other effective bar- rier to OJD is controlled stock movements. ''If your neighbour has got it, chances are your sheep are at risk and you need to consider a vacci- nation program,'' Mr Hunt said. DPIPWE vets Bruce Jackson and Debbie Grull will present Understand- ing OJD workshops around Tasmania over the next fortnight. Venues, dates and times are --- Campbell Town: The Grange, 9.30am-1pm today. Waterhouse: Gunnston, 12.30-4pm, October 11. Longford: The Happy Chef, 9am-12.30pm, Octo- ber 12. Deloraine: High Plains, 2-5pm, October 12. Burnie: Elliott Research Station, noon-3.30pm, Oct 13. Cranbrook: Gala Es- tates, noon-3.30pm, Octo- ber 14. If you are keen to attend any of the workshops, RSVP to the Tasmanian Institute of Agricultural Research (TIAR) on 6336 5238 or email Lyndel.Oppermann @utas.edu.au North in need of follow-up rains AS always an interesting week, with a little rain in parts and absolutely none in other areas. It is an understatement saying that most of the South desperately needs rain, but a lot of northern areas are now in need of a decent follow-up, with reports of the far North-East being very dry. It is amazing how the weather controls livestock prices, with news that in Queensland the cattle saleyard numbers were 30 per cent down in September on the numbers yarded in August. Heavy rain through much of the north has restricted stock movement, and even numbers in NSW saleyards were 8 per cent lower than the same month last year. One can only assume that when the wet finishes there will be an over- supply of cattle coming out of the northern regions and that will prob- ably mean more box beef coming into the southern states, putting pressure on trade cattle prices. In Tasmania trade yearlings are still selling pretty well, with most well- finished pens making 180c to 200c/kg, though we are starting to see some heifers that are carrying too much fat and these are being discounted. This discount will be more severe as the spring progresses. It may pay to speak to your agent or livestock buyer if you are concerned about ''over-cooking'' them because the discount can be significant. Export cattle are still selling well, even though the value of the dollar is bouncing between 95c and 97c, which one would have to think is causing the exporters some grief. Most good-quality bullocks are mak- ing 180c to 188c/kg, while good-quality beef cows are selling for 130c to 150c/kg, with the heaviest working out over $1000 per head. Locally, sheep and lamb numbers coming into the market or being sold direct are very low, and though prob- ably only short-term it is causing some concern from the companies trying to run a profitable works. It is now old news, but Swift's Longford plant (sheep and lamb floor) is going to have a couple of weeks off for maintenance until the supply picks up. Luckily they can kill their local product at Devonport. It should be noted that this is not an unusual occurrence, but it is more likely to happen in July, when many export works have a couple of weeks' spell. We should start to see more new- season lambs on the market by the end of this month and there will be a small flush of mutton coming to the market as soon as shearing is finished. From a management point of view, now is probably a good time to have a think as to when and where you are going to sell your new crop of lambs. There will be a large number of well- bred lambs that will make between $80 and $90 a head as stores and, depending at what price is about over-the-hooks (at the moment 500c to 530c/kg), it may pay to sell some lambs earlier and grab some money, rather than keep them all until Christmas and take a punt on what the price might be. STL1105776 Order at www.aaatags.com or Ph: 0419 608 570 Lowest cost NLIS approved sheep ear tags direct from the manufacturer to you!
September 30th 2010
October 14th 2010