Miscellaneous Publication 24/2005 ISSN 1447-4980 STOCKGUARD Sheep Health and Biosecurity Plan Sheep Health and Biosecurity Plan DATE: Property details Owner: Property name: Road address: Phone number: Email: Brand: Property Identification Code (PIC): Number of paddocks: Number of ewes: Wethers: Hoggets: Rams: Goats: Other livestock: Veterinarian details Name: Address: Phone No: Mobile: Email: Farm consultant details Name: Address: Phone No: Mobile: Email: BIOSECURITY RISK ASSESSMENT FOR SHEEP FARMS Minimising the risk of disease Introduction A farm animal health plan is fundamental to help protect your livestock business from disease threats. The plan includes protection measures for diseases already in the state such as footrot and ovine Johne’s disease (OJD), those exotic to WA such as liver fluke, and those exotic to Australia. Examples of diseases exotic to Australia are foot and mouth disease, scrapie and sheep pox. A farm plan will also consider threats to livestock businesses such as animal welfare and food safety. These issues will increasingly need to be addressed in modern farming systems. This template concentrates on the sheep enterprise. By working through the sections you will be able to assess the level of risk to your business, and in conjunction with your veterinarian or farm advisor, identify the weak spots and take steps to rectify them. This will provide you with the basics of a sheep health and biosecurity plan. STOCKGUARD – Sheep Health and Biosecurity Plan | 3 Instructions Work your way through the boxes and tick items which apply to your farm. At the end of each section, total the number of boxes ticked to gauge your level of protection. SECTION A Bringing sheep on to your property The greatest risk of introducing disease is sheep coming on to your property either as deliberate introductions or as strays. Having a closed flock substantially reduces your risk. Using artificial breeding to introduce new genetic material, particularly from interstate, will also reduce the risk. Belonging to a group breeding scheme must be considered as a possible risk factor, unless you know the health status of the contributing flocks. If you need to buy or agist sheep, source from as few properties as possible. Ensure that the source properties have a health status equal to your own flock, or better. Properties of origin that are closed flocks are safer than ones which trade or are neighbours of traders. Practices such as buying or agisting, without having asked for a vendor declaration or Animal Health Statement, or buying multiple lines increase the risk of introducing disease. Ensure that vehicles carrying introduced stock are cleaned prior to loading. Check the health status of animals before purchase or agreeing to agist. Inspect the sheep and ask for a vendor declaration such as the Animal Health Statement (AHS). The AHS covers OJD, footrot, lice, brucellosis, vaccinations and worm treatments. Ask for testing histories, eg ovine brucellosis testing of rams and worm resistance tests. Isolate purchased stock from the home flock until you are sure there are no diseases such as footrot or lice present, and so treatments for drench resistant worms and vaccinations can be done. Check how many other properties the source property has sourced sheep from. 4 | STOCKGUARD – Sheep Health and Biosecurity Plan SECTION A CHECKLIST Tick boxes that apply to your farm for introduced sheep A1 Operate a closed flock A2 Use artificial breeding A3 Do not agist, or you take precautions with agisted sheep A4 Do not buy from saleyards A5 Inspect before purchase (footrot, lice) A6 Ask for an Animal Health Statement when buying sheep A7 Familiar with the health status of property of origin A8 Ensure trucks introducing stock are clean A9 Isolate introductions, including agisted and show animals A10 Introductions are vaccinated and drenched TOTAL number of boxes ticked Score 8-10 good, 5-7 fair, <5 risky SECTION B Protecting your livestock Once your flock has achieved a satisfactory disease health status, you need to consider ways of maintaining it, by protecting your stock from threats coming across the boundary. The following guidelines will help to assist in the management and protection of your flock; • Stray sheep and goats are a potential source of disease. You will need sheep proof boundary fences. • Get to know your neighbours’ brands/earmarks for easy identification, and check for strays regularly. • Develop an understanding or policy with neighbours about how to treat strays. Isolate, determine the owner, and inspect for diseases such as footrot and lice. STOCKGUARD – Sheep Health and Biosecurity Plan | 5 SECTION B (cont) Protecting your livestock • People and vehicles can bring contaminated soil and sheep faeces on to your property. Ask your family, staff and visitors, including stock agents and vets to clean their footwear before entering sheep areas. Have a simple plastic tub available with disinfectant and brush. • If you run a farm stay, B&B, or have overseas visitors, make sure they have not been in contact with animals overseas for at least 10 days. Ask them to respect your farm biosecurity, and under no circumstances should they feed your animals with their own food. • Don’t allow machinery onto your property until it has been cleaned with high pressure water or air to remove soil, faeces and weed seeds. • Hay or straw can carry the annual ryegrass toxicity (ARGT) organism, and weed seeds. Enquire about the property and paddock of origin. If in doubt have the fodder tested. • Consider drainage lines in areas where water washes onto your property. Faecal material, possibly carrying OJD or other disease-causing organisms can be washed down hill or down stream. Assess the feasibility of fencing off waterways and using physical barriers to divert water flow. • Stock owners need to constantly monitor their animals for signs of disease, particularly unusual signs. Problems are more easily managed the earlier they are detected, so consultation with your veterinarian is essential for accurate diagnosis and correct control measures. • Veterinary assistance is recommended to investigate instances of multiple deaths, even if you think you know the cause. Early diagnosis can save many more lives. • Dispose of dead animals by burying or burning as soon as possible. Some animal diseases are transmissible to humans so protect yourself while handling the bodies and clean up thoroughly afterwards. 6 | STOCKGUARD – Sheep Health and Biosecurity Plan • Good nutrition is a genuine disease control measure. Poor sheep are more susceptible to disease. • An effective worm control program based on worm egg count monitoring, and an appropriate vaccination regime will help to maintain a high health status. Check with your veterinarian for advice on both of these. • Feral animals can be a risk to your flock. Foxes can carry hydatid tapeworms, pigs can carry leptospirosis, goats can carry footrot and both pigs and goats are capable of spreading exotic diseases such as foot and mouth disease should it enter Australia. SECTION B CHECKLIST Tick the boxes that apply to your farm practices B1 Check regularly for strays B2 Strays policy agreed with neighbours B3 Boundary fences are stock proof B4 Machinery coming on to the farm is cleaned B5 Visitors and staff clean their footwear B6 No overseas visitors, or biosecurity plan in place for farm stay B7 Routinely seek veterinary assistance for diagnosis of unusual signs of disease and mortalities B8 Records of sickness and deaths are maintained B9 Carcases are removed from paddocks B10 Introduced grain, hay or straw checked for ARGT and weeds (or no fodder introduced to the farm) B11 Drainage presents limited potential for disease transfer B12 All sheep body condition score above 1.5 throughout the year B13 Worm control program based on worm egg counts B14 Appropriate vaccination program in place B15 Feral animal control programs in place TOTAL number of boxes ticked Score 10-15 good, 6-9 fair, <6 risky STOCKGUARD – Sheep Health and Biosecurity Plan | 7 SECTION C Fortress farm - keeping disease out This section is about minimising the possible ways that disease-causing agents could access your property and put your stock at risk. • Have a sign at the front gate, and other access points, advising visitors to call at the house rather than drive over the farm looking for you. Be easily contactable by two-way or mobile phone. Have the channel and/or phone number on the front gate sign. • Ask visitors to keep to the main farm road. If a paddock visit is necessary, use your farm vehicle to transport visitors. Have all farm staff and family trained in your biosecurity measures • Keep access points to your property to a minimum, with padlocked gates on secondary entrances. • It is good practice, as well as a legal requirement, to maintain good animal identification and good records of movements. This will enable you to readily trace where animals have come from or have gone. SECTION C CHECKLIST Tick boxes that apply to your farm security C1 Biosecurity sign at entrance C2 Visitors vehicles stay on road C3 Visitors travel in your farm vehicles C4 Boundary gates padlocked C5 You are easily contacted (2 way or mobile) C6 Staff & family trained in biosecurity protocols C7 Good stock identification C8 Good records of movements on and off property TOTAL number of boxes ticked Score 5-8 good, 3-4 fair, 1-2 risky 8 | STOCKGUARD – Sheep Health and Biosecurity Plan SECTION D Animal welfare and food safety Animal welfare and food safety incidents can impact on your livestock business, and can have a financial, personal and social cost. To guard against these possibilities: • Ensure adequate feed and water for stock at all times. Don’t allow sheep to fall below condition score 1.5 • Constantly monitor for injury and disease, particularly flystrike, and treat promptly • Check lame animals and treat or cull if necessary • Check that drains, disused dips and stock grids on the property are not a trap for animals • Dispose of dead animals promptly • Do not transport lame, injured, weak, sick or heavily pregnant animals • It is illegal to feed Restricted Animal Material (food of animal origin) to ruminants, including meat meal, fish meal, feathers, chicken litter and animal carcases. This includes not using bags that have held pig, poultry or pet foods • Check that any chemical, drug or medicine applied to livestock, grain treatments and herbicides applied to pasture comply with label directions and observe withholding periods • Comply with abattoir guidelines regarding time off feed (maintain water supply), freedom from dags and evidence of faecal soiling before consigning for slaughter • Minimise the stress of animals being consigned for slaughter during holding prior to transport and loading on to transport vehicles • Consider implementing a quality assurance program SECTION D CHECKLIST Tick boxes that apply to your animal welfare and food safety D1 Appropriate welfare codes checked and complied with D2 Unavoidable painful procedures are carried out only within age limits specified in welfare code D3 Adequate feed and water always available D4 Diseases and injuries treated promptly D5 Potential stock traps are guarded D6 Lame, injured, weak (poor condition), sick and heavily pregnant animals are not transported D7 No feed of animal origin is available to ruminants STOCKGUARD – Sheep Health and Biosecurity Plan | 9 SECTION D CHECKLIST (cont) D8 Withholding periods for stock treatments are observed D9 Records of medications used are maintained D10 Withholding periods for pasture and grain treatments are observed D11 Abattoir guidelines are observed D12 Quality assurance program in place TOTAL number of boxes ticked Score 8-12 good, <8 needs improving How did you rate? The score in each section gives you an indication of where some of the risks are to the health and security of your livestock enterprise, and where you could improve the biosecurity rating for your property. To identify those areas that pose the greatest risk and the remedial action that will adequately address those risks, you are strongly recommended to work with your veterinarian or farm management consultant to complete the rest of this plan. Use this guide as the basis to draw up an ongoing farm biosecurity plan. Where are the weaknesses? After considering the four sections above, list the critical points where disease, management and welfare issues could pose a threat For example • Too many access points • Operate farm stay and have overseas visitors • Boundary fence in paddock X needs repair 1 2 3 4 5 10 | STOCKGUARD – Sheep Health and Biosecurity Plan 6 7 8 9 10 ACTION PLAN For 12 months from _________________________ to _______________________ Eg. 1. Ask for vendor declarations for all sheep being considered for purchase or agistment. 2. Install padlocked steel gates on boundary access, paddocks X and Y 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Farm biosecurity is the best insurance policy your farm can have! Further reading Farmnote 71/2002 Farm biosecurity Farmnote 43/2002 Biosecurity in the livestock industries Factsheet 3/2002 Sheep worms – quarantine drench to combat resistance OJD information pack; Bulletins 4630, 4631, 4632, 4633, 4634 Facts about footrot booklet Is it fit to load? 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