Barber’s Pole warning for sheep producers

Producers are being warned to be on the look-out for Barber’s Pole worm.

Producers are being warned to be on the look-out for Barber’s Pole worm.

While summer rainfall has recently been welcomed in some areas of Queensland and NSW, livestock producers are being warned to be on the look-out for Barber’s Pole worm.

This parasite which attaches to the lining of the gut can be fatal for all classes of sheep, and is particularly prevalent during wet conditions in summer.

Livestock Biosecurity Network (LBN) New South Wales Regional Officer Louise Pearce says during these high-risk times, producers should increase their monitoring and testing.

“They should be alert for the clinical signs of infection such as anaemia which causes pale to white lower mucous membranes (inner eyelids), reluctance to move, deaths and drop off the mob when mustered,” Ms Pearce explained.

Researchers at the University of Melbourne, in collaboration with AusDiagnostics, have recently announced a new DNA test for the specific diagnosis of roundworm species such as Barber’s Pole worm.

The new diagnostic approach uses miniscule amounts of roundworm DNA present in the faeces of infected sheep. The test can be conducted within 2–3 days, rather than the 7 days required for the conventional larval culture technique, and has improved sensitivity and accuracy. [1] – read more here.

While Barber’s Pole worm infections are regular events in summer rainfall regions, it also occurs in localised areas as far south as Tasmania after summer rainfall meaning regular monitoring is critical.

Burdens of Barber’s Pole worm are very good producers of eggs and numbers build up rapidly in the right conditions leading to large-scale losses – once an outbreak begins, Louise says the flock should be treated immediately with an effective drench.

“Ideally, the sheep should be moved onto a ’clean’ paddock after they are drenched – if they must remain in the same paddock, they should be treated with an effective drench with persistent activity (closantel or long acting moxidectin), to prevent re-infection soon after treatment and monitored to check the effectiveness and ongoing protection.

Paddocks in which outbreaks of Barber’s Pole worm have occurred should be regarded as dangerous to sheep for many months,” she said.

Louise says long-term prevention of problems associated with Barber’s Pole worm requires an integrated parasite program which should include drench resistance testing, grazing management and monitoring of worm egg counts.

“Specific programs for a producer’s area can be developed by using the tools on the Wormboss website in consultation with their local animal health advisor,” she says.

Drench resistance is very common in Barber’s Pole worm and a recent study published in the Australian Veterinary Journal showed that most properties have resistance to all the older drench groups and even four way combinations.

“Drench resistance is very common so it is very important to know your resistance status and to prevent it coming in when you buy sheep with sensible biosecurity practices like quarantine drenching.

“The key is to use one of the new drenches, Zolvix or Startect and two to three other actives when sheep arrive, and then check that the quarantine drench has worked by performing worm egg counts 10-14 days later,” she added.

To help protect their livelihood and income, producers are encouraged to complete the Farm Biosecurity Checklist at

To find out more about LBN, or if you are interested in holding a biosecurity workshop in your area, contact LBN Regional Officer – Louise Pearce (NSW) on 0488 400 207 – or visit


2015 – Year for wool growers to have their say

WPA says 2015 will provide wool growers with an opportunity to have their say on a number of important issues.

WPA says 2015 will provide wool growers with an opportunity to have their say on a number of important issues.

New WoolProducers President Richard Halliday has spoken about 2015 being a big year for WoolProducers Australia and the Australian wool industry.

An internal restructure has seen Jo Hall appointed as interim CEO and Genevieve Morrow appointed as interim Policy Manager – Health and Welfare.

Mr Halliday said earlier this week that 2015 “will provide wool growers with an opportunity to have their say on a number of important issues, including WoolPoll, the WoolProducers Independent Director Elections and a reemphasis on industry unity”.

WoolPoll is held every three years to determine the levy percentage that will be invested into research, development and marketing.

“The WoolPoll Panel, chaired by Will Roberts will again oversight the voting process and all eligible wool growers have the opportunity to determine the levy that directly influences the profitability and sustainability of the wool industry.” Mr Halliday said.

WoolProducers are also holding their Independent Director Elections in the second half of the year. WPA has a long tradition of providing a truly independent voice on behalf of the wool industry, in that every two-years, three positions for independently elected Director Positions are contested.

“The three current Independent Directors Charlie Merriman, Steve Harrison and Max Watts continue to make valuable contributions to our industry, providing policy advice and advocacy on behalf of industry.”

“By having this mechanism we can ensure that completely objective views are provided for consideration around our Board table.” Mr Halliday said.

In the interests of increased unity in the industry, WoolProducers has altered the consultation process within its Board that oversees the health and welfare levy spend.

“The Animal Health and Welfare Board Committee make national policy decisions that affect all growers.  Australian Superfine Wool Growers Association and the Australian Association of Stud Merino Breeders are a part of this and have already made important contributions.”

“We’ve extended the invitation further to the Australian Wool Growers Association and we’re looking forward to bringing wool grower groups together.” Mr Halliday concluded.

Webinar on grazing pressure and dog control

LPC0693A free webinar highlighting the results of a fencing project established to control grazing and wild dogs will be held on Tuesday 20 January starting at noon.

A group of like-minded producers near Morven, Queensland have banded together to drive the delivery of a cluster fencing project encompassing 1.1 million acres, 40 separate landholders and three national parks. The fencing enables control of grazing pressure and additional control of wild dogs (in conjunction with other control methods).

The webinar will give participants an opportunity to learn more about how this program was set up, it’s ongoing maintenance and the flow on benefits regarding land values, productivity and diversification.

Amy Gunn of Western Local Land Services, New South Wales was involved in establishing this project and will present an overview of the system. Producer Will Roberts’ property “Victoria Downs” is a part of this cluster fencing project and he will provide first hand feedback on the outcomes of the project from his perspective.

Secure your place, register online here today.

Wedinar details

20 January 2015
12pm-1pm AEDT
Further details

If you have any questions or require more information about this webinar, please contact Julie Petty of Meat & Livestock Australia on 0411 680 516 or

Animal Health Australia to conduct BJD review

Have your say at the National BJD Forum on 16 February.

Have your say at the National BJD Forum on 16 February.

Animal Health Australia (AHA) is organising a one‐day forum in Sydney next month as part of a national review of bovine Johne’s disease (BJD) it is conducting on behalf of the National BJD Steering Committee.

The review will provide industry, government and affected communities the opportunity to have direct input into how Australia is going to manage BJD into the future.

A major outcome of the process will be a revised National BJD Strategic Plan, which is expected to be prepared and ready for implementation by January next year.

“With this outcome in mind AHA has organised an independent facilitator who will help us work with those involved, including a cross‐section of the relevant industries, affected producers and individuals and businesses right through the supply chain that are impacted, to develop a thorough and consultative review process,” said Kathleen Plowman, CEO of AHA.

The National BJD Strategic Plan is a cooperative program involving Australian livestock industries, government and the veterinary profession that helps the beef and dairy industries reduce the spread and impact of bovine Johne’s disease in Australia.

It’s key goals are to help minimise the contamination of farms and farm products, support the protection of non‐infected herds while minimising disruption to trade and to help reduce the social, economic and trade impact of BJD at herd, regional and national levels. Animal Health Australia manages the program on behalf of the key stakeholders.

Ms Plowman said in addition to the national forum event to be held in Sydney on 16 February at the Rydges Sydney Airport Hotel, the review process includes multiple rounds of calls for submissions from anyone involved or affected by BJD.

“A range of topics have been identified for discussion at the national forum, including diagnostics, trade implications, an explanation of the various strains of BJD, vaccination and the economics involved in the various control measures,” she said.

The event will also feature an open facilitated general forum.

People who wish to attend should register with AHA by 30 January by emailing their interest to Brief submissions will also be accepted ahead of the forum and can be emailed to the same email address.

More information about the review is available here. 

Make stock surveillance your New Year’s resolution


AHA runs a number of programs and projects that support a nationally integrated surveillance system.

With 2015 now here, Animal Health Australia (AHA) is encouraging producers across the country to reduce the potential impacts from diseases, pests and weeds by making it their New Year’s resolution to undertake regular stock surveillance on their properties.

Duncan Rowland, AHA’s Executive Manager of Biosecurity Services said undertaking general stock surveillance is already a core biosecurity practice for a number of producers, but more producers should be undertaking it in 2015 to protect their farm profits and stock trading options.

“The 2013 Farm Biosecurity Producer Survey showed that 33 per cent of livestock producers actively conducted routine stock monitoring as a biosecurity practice on their property and we would like to see that increase when we undertake the third biennial survey later this year,” he said.

Steps producers can take to improve their chances of early pest or disease detection include:

  • Establish an active monitoring program and record the results, even when nothing is found.
  • Become familiar with the usual animal and disease symptoms.
  • Look out for insect pests and weeds found on your property. By knowing what’s normally found on your property will increase your chances of discovering something unusual and consult with neighbours on anything suspicious, as it is unlikely that the cause of the problem doesn’t stop at a single property’s boundaries.
  • Know what the high priority biosecurity threats are for your industry. As well as being available from the Farm Biosecurity website ( this information is available through local veterinarians, industry groups or state/territory departments of primary industries.
  • Ensure your farm personnel know how and where to report any unusual diseases, pests or weeds.

AHA runs a number of programs and projects that support a nationally integrated surveillance system that underpins trade and supports the adoption of new and innovative technologies for data generation and information management systems. Information about these programs can be found on the AHA website at

A range of information about stock monitoring and disease and pest reporting is easy to access from the Farm Biosecurity website. Farm Biosecurity is conducted by AHA in conjunction with Plant Health Australia to help producers across the country protect their farm businesses and incomes by implementing good on-farm biosecurity practices.

“Any unusual pest or disease symptom should be reported immediately through the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888,” Mr Rowland said.

“Finally, it is very important to ensure your farm personnel know how and where to report any unusual diseases, pests or weeds,” said Mr Rowland.

AHA hosts NCN meeting in Canberra

NCN members with industry representatives come together at AHA.

NCN members and industry representatives come together at AHA.

Animal Health Australia (AHA) hosted the last face-to-face meeting of The Biosecurity Incident National Communication Network (NCN) for 2014 in Canberra on 3–4 December 2014.

With an extensive agenda that included a de-brief on the previous day’s Exercise Odysseus national communication exercise, NCN members also took the opportunity to meet with communication representatives from peak livestock industry bodies and associated supply chain.

Made up of communication professionals from the Commonwealth, state and territory agencies responsible for biosecurity and agricultural health organisations, the NCN produces nationally consistent public information in response to plant and animal pest and disease outbreaks.

Effective communication is vital in responding to a biosecurity incident and improves the effectiveness of actions taken to assist with recovery.

Linking government and industry

While meeting in Canberra, the NCN took the opportunity to engage further with livestock industry communicators including representatives from the Cattle Council of Australia, Australian Pork Limited, Sheepmeat Council, WoolProducers Australia, Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association and the National Farmers’ Federation.

Discussions focused on actions to improve ways the NCN can work more closely with industry during incidents that affect their sector, as well as on increasing awareness of biosecurity and disease prevention activities in ‘peace time’.

Because the NCN operates in response to all types of biosecurity incidents, networking opportunities are open to animal, plant and aquatic industries, as well as associated supply chain organisations.

Organisations wishing to engage with the NCN should register their interest through an NCN member (appropriate to your industry or location), or through the Australian Government Department of Agriculture by emailing

BJD National Forum – Where to from here?

The National BJD Forum will be held on 16 February.

Have your say at the National BJD Forum on 16 February.

An open facilitated forum on Bovine Johne ’s disease (BJD) will be the first step of a major review of the National BJD Strategic Plan kicking off in February 2015.

Originally planned for the 2015-16 financial year, the BJD Steering Committee has requested that Animal Health Australia (AHA) brings the review forward to as early as possible in 2015.

AHA is ensuring the review will be undertaken in a manner that allows for all parties (including industry, government and community) to provide input into how Australia is going to manage BJD into the future.

With this in mind, AHA has organised an independent facilitator to bring together the views of all parties involved. Community, industry, government, and research stakeholders interested in the future of BJD mechanisms in Australia are invited to attend the BJD National Forum in Sydney on 16 February.

Topics to be covered include:

  • Diagnostics – now and the future
  • Trade implications
  • B, C and S strains – what does this mean?
  • Economics of various control measures
  • Vaccination – does it work?
  • Where to from here?


Anyone wishing to make initial comments on the way forward are invited to provide a maximum two (2) page submission. All submissions will be placed on the BJD review webpage and provided to participants of the forum. Submissions must be received by AHA by close-of-business 30 January 2015. Please send to

National BJD Strategic Plan Review

For more information about the review process and BJD in general, visit AHA’s BJD page.

Key dates for your diary

Registrations and submissions close: 30 January 2015 (RSVP today to secure your place – workshop limited to 100 people)

When: Monday 16 February 2015

Where: Rydges International Airport Hotel, Sydney

RSVP and more information:

Preparing dairy farmers for new animal welfare standards

Dairy Cattle GuideTo ensure dairy farmers are aware of their responsibilities under the proposed new animal welfare standards for cattle, Australian Dairy Farmers and Dairy Australia have produced the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Cattle: A Guide for Dairy Farmers.

The Guide outlines impending legal requirements and includes a set of guidelines that complement the standards. It also contains additional recommended practices to support good welfare outcomes.

The new standards still need to be endorsed by state, territory and Australian Agriculture Ministers, with implementation occurring through state and territory regulation. Once implemented they will replace the existing Model Code of Practice for Welfare of Animals: Cattle.

The new standards cover the full range of on-farm management practices for cattle and are consistent with the National Dairy Industry Strategy for Animal Welfare.

Another animal welfare resource Dairy Australia has published is the Caring for our Cows booklet which contains case studies and practical examples for farmers. The publication also outlines the National Dairy Industry Animal Welfare Strategy and the Australian dairy industry’s approach to animal health and wellbeing.

For more information about these initiatives visit the Dairy Australia website.

10 years preserving Australia’s livestock market access

TSEFAP_10yrAnimal Health Australia (AHA) is celebrating the 10 year anniversary of a highly successful program that has been enhancing market confidence in Australia’s livestock trading partners that Australian animals and animal products are free from an exotic disease that causes diseases like scrapie in sheep and mad cow disease.

Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) are a class of rare brain diseases that affect the central nervous system. These diseases are very rare, fatal and are characterised by spongy degeneration of the brain. There are no treatments or vaccines for these diseases.

Australia is TSE-free and to help ensure this remains the case the TSE Freedom Assurance Program (TSEFAP) was established to integrate all TSE measures into one national program with clear and nationally integrated operational components and a transparent funding framework.

The TSEFAP has the following operational components:

  • Targeted TSE surveillance
  • Ruminant feeding restrictions, including audit, feed sampling and testing
  • Imported animal quarantine and surveillance scheme – this includes an industry funded tracing scheme and the quarantine of all susceptible cattle imported from countries that have later experienced TSEs
  • Communications, including the production of advisory material for industry etc.

Animal Health Australia’s Biosecurity Officer, Dr Rob Barwell, who coordinates the program with participating stakeholders said the success of the program is best highlighted in the statistics that have been generated over the past 10 years.
“The figures from the ruminant feed ban program audits are just as impressive, with nearly 6,000 government-operated feed ban inspections being undertaken on stock feed producers, suppliers and consumers since the program’s inception in 2004. And, in the same period, 103,000 industry QA ruminant feed ban audits have been undertaken.“Since 2004 over 11,000 sheep and cattle brain samples have been tested as part of the targeted TSE surveillance program. This equates to three brain samples being tested every day,” Rob said.

“Every audit and every sample plays a vital role in providing the evidence we need, to demonstrate to our international trading partners that we are keeping Australia free from TSEs.” he said.

The TSEFAP is a partnership program managed by Animal Health Australia on behalf of the participating organisations:

Australian Government Department of Agriculture Food Standards Australia and New Zealand Australian Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) 
NSW Department of Primary Industries   QLD Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry   NT Department of Department of Primary Industries & Fisheries  
Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia Primary Industries and Resources, South Australia Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Victoria
Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, Tasmania SAFEMEAT Cattle Council of Australia
Australian Lot Feeders’ Association Sheepmeat Council of Australia WoolProducers Australia
Australian Dairy Farmers Australian Meat Industry Council Australian Meat Processor Corporation
Australian Renderers’ Association Stock Feed Manufacturers’ Council of Australia Goat Industry Council of Australia


2014 Ralph Hood winner announced

2014 Ralph Hood Award winner Dr Andrew Bean.

2014 Ralph Hood Award winner Dr Andrew Bean.

Dr Andrew Bean, Group Leader, Disease Prevention and Detection at CSIRO’s Biosecurity Flagship was announced as this year’s winner of the Ralph Hood Award at Animal Health Australia’s annual general meeting last week.

The award honours the memory of Ralph Hood, former CEO of AHA and his contribution to Australia’s animal health system. Winners are awarded a $15,000 grant to help them enhance their knowledge, skills and leadership potential in the cause of livestock health and welfare.

With expertise in cellular and molecular immunology specialising in host-pathogen interaction, Dr Bean has developed a research program focused on ‘One Health’, directed at enhancing both animal and human health by identifying new antiviral strategies, developing better therapeutics, vaccines and improving disease diagnosis.

Dr Bean’s vision for the next decade is to support activities that would span the full spectrum of biosecurity research to reduce the impact of biosecurity risks to animal health, the environment and the economic prosperity of Australia.

He plans to use the award funding to attend several prestigious international conferences and training facilities, including a secondment to the National Animal Disease Centre in the USA to help advance his expertise and foster international partnerships.

“This grant will help to support not only the development of collaborations but it will assist in the development of new capabilities,” Dr Bean said.

“Our understanding of how natural host reservoirs deal with zoonotic infections at the level of the immune response will provide insights into the development of new strategies for disease control.

“The most effective way to advance or knowledge and capability is through effective learning and collaboration. Furthermore, we are currently developing work in a number of areas that could be greatly benefited by the bringing together a set of multi-disciplinary teams.

“This award would help to facilitate interactions with other international groups to build not only relationships but to allow the technology transfer that would permit us to carry out research.”

Established in 2011, previous winners of the Ralph Hood Award include Dr Simon Firestone, a lecturer in Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health; Dr Sam Hamilton, Director of the Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Section at the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Dr Deborah Finlaison, a veterinary virologist.