National Sheep Health Monitoring Project
The National Sheep Health Monitoring Project (NSHMP) commenced in 2007 to monitor lines of sheep in abattoirs for animal health conditions that reduce farm profit through productivity losses or increase meat processing wastage.
Monitoring occurs in 10 domestic and export processing plants located in all states. Lines of sheep are monitored by qualified meat inspectors for a range of livestock production health and welfare conditions. The data from the monitoring is collected and entered into a national database (the Endemic Disease Information System). Some state jurisdictions provide producers with individual animal health status reports on the lines inspected.
The project aims to:
- monitor sheep for a range of significant animal health diseases and conditions which reduce productivity in the sheep value chain or can impact on market access
- provide feedback to producers about the conditions occurring in their flock
- enhance productivity within the sheep value chain by improving the quality of product entering the chain
- explore options for a comprehensive and cost-effective animal disease monitoring/surveillance system and post-mortem inspection service that will provide accurate and timely animal health information.
This will lead to further improvements in Australia’s animal health status, maximised market access, improved profitability, informed future investment into R&D, and enhanced biosecurity.
Check out the video below or this NSHMP fact sheet (pdf - 1 MB) for more information and to find out how to get involved.
Sheep health conditions being monitored
Twenty significant animal health conditions are monitored for throughout Australia. These are:
|Bladder worm||Lung worm|
|Fever/ septicaemia||Sheep measles|
|Grass seeds||Vaccination lesions|
|Knotty gut/ pimply gut|
*Producers who want this additional condition inspected for in their sheep need to request it from the participating abattoir when sending their sheep to it. Sheep must be over two years of age to be inspected for OJD.
Additional surveillance occurs in South Australia through the Enhanced Abattoir Surveillance Program, funded through state industry levies.
The five main benefits of sheep carcase monitoring:
- The project has generated comprehensive data that provides a good indication of the animal health status of the Australian flock.
- Governments, industry groups and processors use this information to provide solid evidence in support of market access and to demonstrate the high quality of Australian sheepmeat product.
- Individual sheep producers can use this information to improve the productiveness of their flock and fine tune their animal health programs.
- Sheepmeat processors can harness the opportunity to reduce product non-compliance, thereby lifting productivity and reducing costs.
- Individual reports have been returned to sheep producers in South Australia, Queensland, Victoria and NSW.
Analysis of sheep health data
In 2018-19 over 8.7 million sheep were inspected in over 39,000 lines. The data shows that the proportion of affected lines for some conditions (e.g. pleurisy and cheesy gland) is high, but the average number of sheep infected in a processing line is quite low.
While the animal health conditions monitored for occur nationally, there is regional variation. Information on NSHMP inspection is contained in the annual report.
This report provides a snapshot summary of the data collected through the NSHMP. This report is aimed to help producers understand the cause, on-farm impact, significance at abattoir and prevention of conditions monitored through the NSHMP.NSHMP Snapshot Report 2018 (pdf - 3 MB) NSHMP Snapshot Report 2017 (pdf - 4 MB)
WoolProducers Australia and Sheep Producers Australia are the peak industry bodies for this project. Funding is through Animal Health Australia sheep meat and wool levies.
Each state department of primary industries has appointed a state coordinator to facilitate the return of data to producers and provide extension advice about the conditions that are monitored.
Meat & Livestock Australia now provide the NSHMP data (except for OJD) through the LDL portal, which all producers can access here: ldl.mla.com.au/authentication/login
A list of state coordinators is available here.
Each of the following factsheets covers an individual disease and includes information such as what the disease is, how it presents on farm, how it is spread and treatment and prevention options.
NSHMP economic modelling
In 2015-2016 the NSHMP was reviewed by Greenleaf Enterprises Pty Ltd. As part of the review, economic modelling was developed and the results are in this extract report.