Impact of the OJD review for Victorian producers

The National Ovine Johne’s Disease Management Plan will not be extended after June 2018. However, on-farm management of OJD remains the same for producers with disease management tools available through the Sheep Health Project, which is managed by Animal Health Australia.

The announcement was made by Sheep Producers Australia and Wool Producers Australia after a review of the plan was held earlier this year. Sheep Producers Australia’s Sheep Health and Welfare Manager Stephen Crisp explained that there are still a range of resources available to help producers manage OJD.

“OJD can be treated as one of a range of endemic diseases, such as ovine brucellosis, and be managed through the tools of the Sheep Health Project, rather than having a separate management plan,” Mr Crisp said.

The tools available include vaccination, Sheep Health Declarations, National Sheep Health Monitoring Project (NSHMP), SheepMAP and Regional Biosecurity Plans.

  • The registered vaccine for OJD in Australia is Gudair® and can be a valuable tool in reducing the spread of the disease. Mr Crisp explains, “We’re fortunate to have a vaccine against OJD, which is highly recommended for all flocks in endemic areas or at-risk properties, and we are working with Animal Health Australia to increase the rates of vaccination across Australia.”​
  • Sheep Health Declarations are an effective tool for learning the health history of stock and deciding the risk of introducing them to a property. They outline the disease status and previous treatments, with a dedicated section addressing Johne’s disease including statements about treatment and testing, as well as involvement in any market assurance programs.
  • The NSHMP is an abattoir disease surveillance program, monitoring animal health conditions which can impact farm productivity, providing individual reports to producers. Upon request, carcasses can be inspected for OJD at participating abattoirs. In Victoria this can be requested by calling Agriculture Victoria on 03 9217 4109.
  • SheepMAP is a voluntary market assurance program allowing producers greater market access. Mr Crisp says, “SheepMAP provides auditable standards for managing OJD, helping producers to access some OJD-sensitive markets as well as provide a source of low-risk sheep.”

South Australia remains the only state to have regulations in place for OJD and this is currently under review. In Victoria management of OJD may vary farm-to-farm so be aware of the resources available and investigate their effectiveness in your own disease management programs.