THE brakes need to be put on new rules about Ovine Johne's Disease, writes IAN FELDTMANN
On January 1, sheep producers face new OJD trading rules, which are opposed by the Victorian Farmers Federation.
The new rules will divide rural communities.
Victorian sheep producers will no longer be able to access South Australia and other protected OJD areas by claiming credit for vaccinating their flocks against the disease.
Under the new rules sheep producers must prove their flocks have tested negative to OJD, if they want to trade into South Australia and other regions with a low prevalence of the disease that have been declared protected.
Not only will the value of vaccinations be undermined, producers will struggle to get test results on flocks back in time to meet the New Years Day deadline.
It takes three to six months to collect and get the results back on a pooled faecal culture flock test for OJD.
The Victorian Farmers Federation wants the start date delayed for six to 12 months and the rules amended to recognise the full value of vaccinations.
To this end the VFF is holding a series of meetings across regional Victoria to make producers aware of the new rules and are requesting they sign a petition calling for the new rules to be delayed and amended. The VFF will send the petition to the National OJD Management Committee.
The VFF is well aware that we have Victorian producers who in the last couple of years opted out of the SheepMAP program to instead rely on vaccination for market access to SA. Now those same producers are facing having to go back to using SheepMAP.
A copy of the petition can be found in the livestock section of the VFF website or obtained from the VFF Livestock team's Charlotte Fox on 1300 882 833.
- Ian Feldtmann is the Victorian Farmers Federation livestock president.