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TAS Country : January 26th 2012
6 Tasmanian Country Friday, January 27, 2012 News Caution over pigeon virus ROGER HANSON TASMANIAN chickens are unlikely to be infected by a rare type of avian paramyxovirus that has killed a large number Victorian pigeons. The pigeon paramyxovirus (PPMV1) strain was detected in Australia for the first time in the Melbourne area in August. Newcastle disease is also a member of the paramyxovirus group of viruses. It has a number of strains and can be a fatal disease in chickens. It is charac- terised by digestive, respiratory and/or nervous signs. Tasmania's chief veterinary officer, Rod Andrewartha, said there was no evidence that the pigeon strain seen in Victoria had spread to poultry to cause Newcastle disease. ''At this stage, the disease has only been detected in both hobby and feral pigeons [in Victoria],'' he said. ''We don't know about it mutating, but it is just another virus that is out there to think about. ''Although it is wise to be cautious, all the evidence I have seen suggests it would not cause a problem to Tasmania's chickens.'' There is a wild strain of the Newcas- tle disease virus already in Australia, called the V4 strain. This does not cause disease in chickens but in the past a mutation of this virus has caused disease. To protect against this risk, commercial chickens are vacci- nated against Newcastle disease. ''As the risk of this occurring in Tasmania and Western Australia has been assessed as lower than other areas of the country, our poultry industries require a lower level of vaccination than other states,'' Dr Andrewartha said. Although the risk to poultry from the pigeon virus is low, Dr Andrewar- tha has recommended that poultry farmers adopt effective biosecurity procedures with practical measures to limit the introduction of infectious diseases and pests into their flocks. These include bird-proofing, draw- ing town water or treated water, and minimising the contact between birds and chickens. Australia's chief veterinary officer, Dr Mark Schipp, said human infection from the pigeon virus was extremely rare. It usually occurred only in people who had close direct contact with infected birds, he said. ''The virus causes only mild, short- term conjunctivitis or influenza-like symptoms in humans,'' he said. Scholarship helps beef industry A TASMANIAN beef company is urg- ing scholarship applicants to lodge their submission before the deadline. Applications for the 2012 Greenham Tasmania $10,000 beef and dairy schol- arship close on Tuesday. The scholarship, aimed at encourag- ing future leaders of the cattle industry, is open to people aged 17-45 who are immediate family, sharefarmers or employees of farmers who have sold cattle to the company's Smithton meat- processing plant during 2011. Greenham managing director Peter Greenham said the scholarship ''can make a big difference''. ''Past winners have said it reduced concerns about finance and really helped them to focus on their courses,'' Mr Greenham said. ''There is no reason why somebody already well established in farming couldn't use it to improve their skills.'' Application forms and information sheets along with tips for applicants are available at www.greenham.com.au. SAVED: Swamp harrier chick nest on Bill Scott-Young's land. Pictures: KAROLIN MacGregor Harrier barrier to save chicks KAROLIN MacGREGOR LEAVING a small area of grass seed crop to save some swamp harrier chicks is a sacrifice well worth making, according to farmer Bill Scott-Young. Like many swamp harrier nests, the one on Mr Scott-Young's property was discovered in the middle of what was a tall grass crop. Once it was discovered, Mr Scott- Young marked out the nest and then instructed the contractor wind- rowing the rye grass to leave a small area of about 20m around the nest untouched. ''It doesn't have to be a big area, just To Page 7 | | www.ahrensagri.com.au AASA07 Ahrens Agri Ahrens Agri AHRENS IS THE NSWER SHERWELL FIELD BINS & LARGE ELEVATED SILOS SECURE YOUR SUMMER CROP NOW Sherwell Silos 03 6393 1242 Malcolm Lee 0409 938 294 Agritech 03 6424 7818 AG & SE Rigney 03 6398 5121 Rural Supplies Longford 03 6391 2700 All Roberts & Elders Branches
January 13th 2012
February 2nd 2012