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Goat risk rating

Animal Health Australia (AHA) works closely with the Australian goat industry to deliver programs that protect goats from endemic disease and support trade.

First introduced in 2009, the national risk rating system for Johne’s disease in the goat industry should be used when trading goats in Australia.

Goats to be moved or sold can be covered by a National Goat Health Declaration that includes a risk rating for Johne’s disease.

The higher the rating, the more assurance it provides goat buyers to protect their herd’s Johne’s disease status.

The National Goat Health Declaration assists goat producers to clearly identify the animal health status of goats offered for sale.

How the goat risk rating benefits industry

The risk rating scheme is a nationally agreed method of assessing the risk that goats have Johne’s disease.

The scheme builds on knowledge and hard-gained experience in other livestock industries to help goat producers reduce the risk of their herds becoming infected with Johne’s disease. It also provides a pathway for owners of infected herds to improve their trading position by gaining trading credits through the use of different Johne’s disease management tools.

On-farm management, through vaccination and grazing strategies, will lower the risk of Johne’s disease spreading in goat herds and to the sheep and cattle industries should the infection be present or be unintentionally introduced.

Combining on-farm management and risk-based trading is the best strategy identified by industry to minimise the impact of Johne’s disease.

How the goat risk rating works

All goat sellers can declare their goats’ risk ratings on the National Goat Health Declaration.

Goat buyers should obtain this information for any consignments they are interested in buying and learn what the rating means for their herd. Buyers can determine the risk those goats present to their own herd, by relating the rating of the goats offered for sale to their own herd’s rating, and determining whether they want to take on that risk.

Under the risk rating scheme, a goat producer can claim credits for their goats under 2 categories:

  • Section A—Identifies the Johne’s disease status of the herd
  • Section B—Identifies strategies to improve herd status.

The rating assigned under each category is based on a qualitative risk assessment.

Buying goats with a higher rating can greatly reduce the risk that you will buy in Johne’s disease.

Key facts for goat producers

  • Johne’s disease can cost goat producers money in deaths and lost production, as well as interfering with marketing re-stocker goats.
  • Use the risk rating scheme to take steps to reduce the risk that your goats become infected—or infect other people’s herds—and to improve your trading options.
  • Check the risk rating status of any goats you’re interested in buying, and ask to see the National Goat Health Declaration before you agree to buy. If you’re confident in the declaration, buy goats with a higher rating.

Follow these 3 steps when purchasing goats

  1. Ask for a National Goat Health Declaration and only consider buying the goats if you’re happy with it.
  2. Buy goats with an equal or higher rating than your own herd’s rating.
  3. Check the back of the Goat Health Declaration to see how the declared risk rating was attained.

The higher the rating, the lower the risk.

Related links


Page reviewed: 26/10/2016