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TAS Country : March 24th 2011
20 Tasmanian Country Friday, March 25, 2011 Direct Importing agents and Manufactures PH Rob Ikin 6334 5600 or 0408 131 692 • USA manufactured premium pivots, micro pivots & linears • Irtec Quality hardhose irrigators • Electric and Diesel Pump Sets • Pipes and fittings SAVE $$$ Buying direct from us without compromising on Quality & Service 122 Boomers Road Launceston, 7250 www.vdlirrigation.com.au 2042952-110114 News STL1105776 Order at www.aaatags.com or Ph: 0419 608 570 Lowest cost NLIS approved sheep ear tags direct from the manufacturer to you! 2003473-110325 To be offered on Friday April 15, at 9am EST A/c Panshanger Estate Scopus Smithton Annual Angus Production Cow Sale, EU Accredited, BCTAS 1 Johnes tested 150 Angus Cows, 3-6 yrs, Lawsons Angus Bloodlines, calving July-Sept 2011 Freight Costs: Ex Tas to 100km radius from Melbourne: $85 per head + GST, subject to loads Enquiries: Ian Richards 0458 130 596 Warren Johnston 0419 326 348 Nick Towns 0419 373 602 Vendor -- George Mills (03) 6397 6500 Look to Landmark for all your livestock and rural supplies. We deliver statewide! DAIRY LIVESTOCK FOR SALE 0428 318 272 0438 583 108 DAIRY LIVESTOCK WANTED 0428 318 272 0438 583 108 BEEF LIVESTOCK FOR SALE 0428 318 272 0418 346 339 CONTACT US Landmark Smithton Ph: Fax: Landmark Longford Ph: Fax: BTB/LM2282 landmark.com.au DPI learns lesson on sheep disease WIDESPREAD: The ileo-caecal area of a sheep's digestive tract, a site for signs of OJD. CHEWS theFAT David Byard FARMERS never get a straight run at things. Sheep prices are booming --- whether it be lambs or mutton, they are all valuable at the moment. Yet, in the midst of high prices farmers are being hit by one of the biggest problems facing the sheep industry --- Ovine Johnes Disease (OJD). Johnes is a serious wasting disease that affects sheep and other ruminants. It is caused by the sheep strain of the bacteria Mycobacterium paratuberculosis. The bacteria affect the intestines, preventing absorption of nutrients and are shed in the faeces. Young sheep are particularly susceptible to becoming infected when they are in contact with infected faeces on teats, pasture or water. The OJD bacteria can survive for up to 12 months on shaded pasture or for up to 24 months in water. Sheep infected by the OJD bacteria may take 3-6 years to show signs of the infection and then may lose condition and die over a 6-12 week period. Scouring may be seen. At present nobody knows how many Tasmanina flocks are infected, however it is suspected that it is much more widespread than many people ever imagined. People talk of having a closed flock and being free of OJD, however most of these people purchase their rams from outside, and they may find that the rams have come from a flock that has the disease. It should be remembered that OJD can be in a flock for many years before it surfaces into a major problem and people can be unaware that they have the disease in their flock. It can be spread in many ways, stock trucks, flood water, saleyards and even footwear. Some experts even suspect rabbits, wallabies and deer could carry and spread the disease. As previously stated, the disease can be present in a flock before it becomes apparent and sheep start to waste and die. Once this happens it is only a matter of time before the sheep wastes and dies. People with OJD in their flocks could find that 30 per cent of their flock will perish. Some farmers who have not had much to do with OJD may think that they have a worm problem while the fact is that their flock may have OJD. Talking to the experts it is clear OJD is a major problem and it is getting worse and needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. Vets at the DPI are working with stakeholders to try and get a handle on the problem and find solutions. It all seems doom and gloom, however the disease can be curtailed by a single vaccination. If Tasmania is going to have success with the problem one of the biggest things that we can do is inoculate the lambs in the first three months of life. Inoculation can be a dangerous procedure and needle-stick injuries can be very nasty, with the operator badly affected, especially if it goes into muscle. In the case of the lamb, if not injected correctly, it can cause paralysis. In recognition of these problems the DPI is planning courses to train farmers to better understand OJD and how to safely vaccinate their sheep. Although the DPI is doing a great job, one grower sent me a letter from the department advising him he had OJD. This letter simply stated that a number of ewes from his flock that were slaughtered had been sampled and checked for OJD. One sample was suggestive and another was positive for OJD. The note went on to imply this would effect the flock and property and affect the way the farmer traded. ''Please call your vet or myself if you have any questions,'' the letter stated. It was signed by a government vet. Although a very level-headed character, the farmer on opening the letter felt quite ill. He had never suspected he had OJD in his flock. It is a shame the department did not take a more pro-active and sympathetic approach to delivering what was clearly devastating news. I am glad to say this type of sledgehammer approach will not be used in the future. Perhaps it could be suggested that the DPI could actually send more information about OJD out with notices. Upon inquiry the farmer in question found that having OJD would have a huge effect if he decided to sell his flock or his breeding flock. It would mean a huge discount as they would only be able to be sold for slaughter. The DPI has in the past held seminars of exactly how OJD could affect individuals and what could be done. Part of these seminars are on what the OJD health statements issued by the departments mean and how they relate to the selling of sheep. These are formal statements on the health of the sheep and are signed by the vendor and accompany the sheep to sale and provide prospective buyers with relevant health information. Of course, this is only a guide and people signing this form may not be aware of any problems. On the mainland sheep are bringing a premium and those that have been vaccinated against OJD are keenly sought. The DPI will not quarantine people's flocks with OJD unlike in the past where people's properties were quarantined for lice etc. This simply didn't work and will never work. The DPI is working on a range educational material to help farmers manage OJD and working on a possible question-and-answer sheet. There are in fact 27 questions and answers for vendors and there are six possible questions and answers for buyers. These have been compiled by veterinary offices from the DPI. Normally government departments are slow in moving, but upon compiling this article I have spoken to DPI officers and they have bent over backwards to get the information out there. They are keen to get their show on the road where they can explain what can be done.
March 17th 2011
March 31st 2011