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TAS Country : October 28th 2010
4 Tasmanian Country Friday, October 29, 2010 News HANDS-ON: Farmers inspect guts and lymph nodes from infected and non-infected sheep at the OJD workshop. Vaccines prove the key to tackling OJD KAROLIN MacGREGOR NEARLY 150 farmers from around the state attended a series of eight Ovine Johne's Disease workshops last week. The disease is a significant prob- lem in flocks around the state, but access to vaccines and control programs could help Tasmanian sheep producers combat the disease. Currently there are no legal re- quirements for neighbouring proper- ties to be notified if infected sheep are found in a flock, and some farmers are now calling for a compulsory notification system to be introduced. One northern Tasmanian sheep producer, who did not want to be identified, said it was essential that producers with farms neighbouring infected properties were notified so they could take steps to prevent their own flocks being affected by securing boundary fences and other control measures. He said vaccination was costly and a compulsory notification system could help neighbours prevent their flocks becoming infected. Warren Hunt, from the Sheep Connect program, told participants at the workshops that the economic costs from OJD around the state's sheep industry were significant. Vaccinating sheep for the disease can provide financial benefits of 56 cents per dry sheep equivalent for wool enterprises and up to 95 cents per dry sheep equivalent in prime lamb operations. Delegates were told that the win- dow for lamb vaccinations of four to 16 weeks meant many producers still had time to vaccinate this year's drop and have them recognised as ap- proved vaccinates. But like all animal vaccines, care is needed when vaccinating. Phil Jarvie, from Pfizer, said the vaccine did not introduce the disease on to farms and only needed to be introduced to each animal once in its lifetime. The latest vaccination equipment means vaccines can be administered with one hand. Meanwhile, participants got their hands dirty inspecting the guts and lymph nodes from infected and non- infected sheep. Chris Cocker, a meat inspector, showed producers the sig- nificant differences between sheep guts that were infected and those that were not so producers would be able to recognise the signs. Typical signs of the disease include an enlarged appendix, the loss of fat deposits, enlarged lymph nodes and visible lymph channels. Any animals that have been vacci- nated can be fitted with V tags, but only animals vaccinated before they are 16 weeks old will become ap- proved vaccinates and eligible for vaccination credit points under the new national OJD system. Those who took part in the work- shops were told that vaccinating was the best way to prevent and contain the disease. With an increasing rate of infec- tion being recorded through abattoir surveillance, Tasmania could face a higher prevalence zone under the national system in the future. However, workshop participants were told that the state was in a good position to undertake a control program. Rising dollar hurts agricultural exports From Page 3 Greenham said that was not immune from the impact of the dollar. ''Some of the bigger exporters will dump product on to the domestic market be- cause they can't get the prices they want for it overseas, so that does impact on us,'' he said. He said it was difficult to tell what long- term impact the high Australian dollar would have on the industry. ''We're certainly in uncharted territory, I've never seen a market like this before,'' Mr Greenham said. The dollar is also expected to affect Tasmania's fruit growers in the upcoming season. Fruit Growers Tasmania business de- velopment manager Lucy Gregg said apple growers had already felt the affect of the soaring dollar. ''It certainly is producing some extra challenges for our fruit growers,'' she said. ''Apples are a global commodity, so they're very sensitive to any market fluctuations.'' Ms Gregg said the state's cherry and stonefruits were often sold into out-of- season niche markets, which made them less susceptible to major market shifts. ''It's certainly making things very diffi- cult, and even though we'll maintain good presence in these markets, we might see a reduction in export volumes this year,'' she said. Ms Gregg said a great deal would depend on the volume and quality of crops produced in other production areas, such as Chile and New Zealand. ''It's really putting extra pressure on our growers to produce top-quality large fruit with excellent shelf life, because if you're asking premium prices, you have to continue to supply a premium product,'' she said. Ms Gregg said interest in Tasmanian fruit from export markets including Tai- wan, Russia, Hong Kong and South Korea this year was still strong. The poppy industry is also expected to be hard hit by the rising dollar. Many growers have already signed supply contracts that were negotiated when the dollar was sitting at about US85c earlier this year. 5.99%
October 21st 2010
November 4th 2010