New industry-agreed NT entry requirements for Johne’s disease management in 2017

The Northern Territory (NT) cattle industry has unanimously agreed an assurance level of Johne’s Beef Assurance Score (JBAS) 6 including five years freedom from Johne’s disease (JD) infection in source herds would best facilitate movement of cattle into the NT while maintaining biosecurity requirements consistent with the live export requirements. 

NT properties are well placed to act by 30 June 2017 to maintain a JBAS of 6 under new biosecurity protocols for JD that will take effect from 1 July 2017.

Need a quick catch-up on what has been happening

JD is a serious wasting disease that affects cattle, buffalo, bison, sheep, goats, deer and camelids. The Territory was previously a JD Protected Zone with no known disease. On 1 July 2016, zones were no longer recognised and producers were responsible for risk assessments and assurances for JD prevention and management on their individual properties.

The Johne’s Beef Assurance Score (JBAS) was developed as a risk profiling tool for beef producers. There is an equivalent tool for the dairy industry – Dairy Score. All NT properties were given a JBAS of 7 for trading purposes during the 12-month transition period from 1 July 2016-30 June 2017. A JBAS 7 was also applied as an interim entry requirement for cattle and buffalo into the NT during the transition period. The JBAS rating is from 0-8 (lowest to highest level of assurance).

The transition period for changing to the new national JD management system ends on 30 June 2017.

What’s happening now?

From 1 July 2017, Northern Territory properties have the following options:

  1. Maintain current low-risk status JBAS 7.
    To maintain this status properties will need to:
    1. By 30 June 2017 - complete and implement a Farm Biosecurity Plan that addresses JD risks, in collaboration with a veterinary advisor, which requires annual review.
    2. By 30 June 2018 – complete a Check Test (testing of 50 representative adult cattle from the herd by faecal PCR or culture)
    3. Ongoing – Maintain an annual veterinary review of the property biosecurity plan and a Check Test every three years
  2. Move to to JBAS 6
    1. By 30 June 2017 - complete and implement a Farm Biosecurity Plan that addresses JD risks. Veterinarian oversight is not required.
    2. Check Testing is not required
  3. Do nothing. Reduce to JBAS 0
    1. By 30 June 2017 – Fail to complete and implement  a Farm Biosecurity Plan that addresses JD risks
  4. Achieve maximal assurance (JBAS 8)
    1. By 30 June 2017 - complete and implement a Farm Biosecurity Plan that addresses JD risks, in collaboration with a veterinary advisor, which requires annual review.
    2. Sample Test (210-300 adult cattle sampled), repeated two years apart
    3. Ongoing – Maintain annual veterinary review of the property biosecurity plan and a Check Test every three years.

Territory properties will automatically drop to JBAS 0 (equivalent to the score of an infected and unmanaged herd) unless they have completed and implemented a Farm Biosecurity Plan by 30 June 2017.

To ensure a JBAS 6 score, Northern Territory properties will need to complete and implement a farm biosecurity plan that manages JD risk before 30 June 2017. There is no requirement for veterinary involvement or check testing to maintain JBAS 6.

Northern Territory properties trading with Western Australia will need to initiate measures to maintain JBAS 7 score by check testing before 30 June 2018. To maintain the JBAS 7 score, properties need to implement a farm biosecurity plan before 30 June 2017 in collaboration with a veterinary advisor, which will require annual review. JBAS 7 also requires properties to complete a check test of 50 representative adult cattle from their herd by 30 June 2018. The check test will then need to be completed every three years.

Cattle or buffalo entering the NT consigned direct to export must meet the JBAS 6 score entry requirements. This is to manage the disease risk associated with animals ineligible for export (export rejects).  Cattle or buffalo entering the NT consigned direct to slaughter are exempt from JBAS score entry requirements.

Producers will need to be aware of risk for acquiring JD when purchasing stock from interstate. For interstate movements into the NT and WA, the property’s JBAS, biosecurity plan, JD freedom period and any JD testing results will have to be declared by the vendor. 

NT producers are encouraged to apply the JBAS 6 requirements for intrastate movements to protect their JD status and to seek a higher level of JD freedom assurance for seed stock purchases because of the potential disease risks that apply to importing breeding stock.  Animals vaccinated for JD must be identified with the three-hole ear punch to assist with interpretation of any future JD exposure status. 

The new national arrangements do not distinguish between bovine, ovine and other strains of JD and biosecurity risk assessment must take this into account.  Of particular concern is contact between dairy and beef herds or some extent of co-grazing on contaminated land on a property where the JD status of the dairy animals is less than JBAS 7 or Dairy Score (DS) 7.  The lower level of assurance applies to the potential livestock movement.

What do I need to do to maintain a higher JBAS?

The table below outlines the conditions a property needs to meet and the dates to maintain or reach the JBAS 6, 7 or 8.

JBAS Score

Action to be taken and date required

JBAS 6

☐ Complete and implement a property biosecurity plan by 30 June 2017
☐ No history of JD infection in herd for a minimum of five years

JBAS 7

By 30 June 2017- complete and implement a property biosecurity plan in collaboration with a veterinarian
By 30 June 2018- complete a check test of 50 adult cattle.
☐ Maintain an annual veterinary review of the property biosecurity plan and a check test every three years.

JBAS 8

By 30 June 2017- complete and implement a property biosecurity plan in collaboration with a veterinarian
By 30 June 2018- complete a sample test of 210-300 adult cattle, sampledtwo years apart.
☐ Maintain an annual veterinary review of the property biosecurity plan and a check test every three years.

Property biosecurity plan

J-BAS requires a property biosecurity plan for all scores from J-BAS 1 to 8. The grazing manual biosecurity template, which incorporates the JD biosecurity checklist, has been developed for producers to use for this purpose. This meets the national industry minimum standards of the National Farm Biosecurity Reference Manual – Grazing Livestock Production. A number of other biosecurity plan templates are also available to help livestock producers develop biosecurity plans for their properties.

JD testing

Specific information on the JBAS and testing requirements can be found at www.animalhealthaustralia.com.au/jd-cattle-tools/

What are the NT JD entry requirements from 1 July 2017?

From 1 July 2017, cattle, buffalo, bison, sheep, goats, deer and camelids imported into the NT will be required to meet the following minimum JD requirements, in addition to existing livestock movement requirements. Cattle or buffalo entering the NT consigned direct to slaughter are exempt from JBAS score entry requirements.

Livestock being imported into the NT

Johne’s Disease JBAS requirement

Cattle & buffalo (beef)

Property score of at least JBAS 6

Cattle & buffalo (dairy)

Property score equivalent to at least DS 7

Sheep, goats & camelids

Property score of at least JBAS 6

What are the JD entry requirements for sending livestock interstate from the NT?

The entry requirements for sending livestock interstate from the NT have changed. Producers should contact the relevant state to confirm entry requirements prior to transporting livestock.

Destination

Johne’s Disease requirement

WA

Property score of at least JBAS 7.Other testing requirements may apply –see WA LB1 form.

QLD, SA, NSW, Vic

No specific movement controls in relation to JD.  Producer obligation not to introduce JD infection.

JD remains a notifiable disease under the Livestock Act and must be reported to the Chief Veterinary Officer as soon as reasonably practicable if known or suspected to be present.  Properties will not be placed under quarantine.

Further JD risk management

NT producers are advised to seek a higher level of JD assurance on stock purchases, particularly bulls and should discuss this with their vendor, agent and veterinarian.  Vaccination with Silirum is one measure that can be used.  Identification of vaccinated animals with a three hole ear punch is required.

For further biosecurity information please contact Susanne Fitzpatrick
e: susanne.fitzpatrick@nt.gov.au  p: 8999 2123 m: 0407 498 003

For further movement information please contact Greg Crawford
e: greg.crawford@nt.gov.au p: 8951 8125 m: 0401 118 125

Last updated: 08 June 2017