Sub-project 2 – March 2019

March 6th, 2019


The livestock producer surveys are officially closed. The team would like to thank the 1000+ producers that provided their expert knowledge! Congratulations to the winners of the two IPads and the 100 $50 retail vouchers, drawn randomly from those that entered the final draw.

Preliminary findings

To date a total of 100 pork and 56 dairy producers, together with the 497 sheep, 419 beef, and 131 goat producers participated in the survey component of the study. Most sheep and beef producers participating in the study are from Victoria and New South Wales and have over 20 years of farming experience. Participating goat producers are mainly from Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland and the years of experience is very diverse, from less than 5 years to over 20 years of experience. Analysis of the data is continuing using a Bayesian Network approach that will allow us to examine the interconnected factors that contribute to the risk of an FMD outbreak. The team are aiming to produce a predictive model that will go some way towards helping with allocation of risk mitigation strategies, based on producers’ capacity to respond to a disease incursion.

Pilot networks:

  • The Sheep pilot group met on the 14th Feb to hear about opportunities that might enhance feedback from abattoirs to producers individually and to the ASHEEP producer group and others in the region about their product. They will also be considering a communications plan for their producers and district around the National Significant Disease Investigation Program, and the role a training scenario might play in improving stakeholder engagement in local biosecurity.
  • The Beef pilot group are currently working together to organise a training workshop on 5 March to improve producers’ skills in the detection of signs and symptoms of significant endemic and emergency animal diseases. The workshop is part of an exciting new training program being developed by the State Government in partnership with private vets. It aims to improve the capacity of beef producers to provide timely and meaningful information to veterinarians to assist with their disease investigations.
  • The Dairy pilot group have established a working group of members to fine tune the direction of the possible approaches to improving local awareness around emergency animal disease preparedness. Consideration is underway about a possible disease scenario in the Maffra region, and how best to engage with small holders. Their meeting was on 28 Feb to discuss how a communications strategy might be approached around the risk of FMD in the Gippsland region.
  • The Pork pilot group held its second meeting at Hagley, Tasmania on 18 Feb 2019. This meeting progressed actions identified at meetings held in October and November 2018, on how to keep and improve pig herd health.
  • The Goat pilot group: following an enthusiastic response to the Pilot Group Information Meeting in Murray Bridge, SA in December, baseline interviews and surveys are currently being conducted with new pilot group members in preparation for the inaugural Innovation Pilot group meeting planned for early April 2019. The information collated will provide useful contextual insights for the group discussions and planning. Early ideas and suggestions from the group members are setting the foundations for an exciting and productive group addressing animal surveillance and health challenges in the goat system in South Australia.

Team training and presentations

The team are looking into presenting opportunities at the Australian Biosecurity Symposium in June and the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists “Science Week” in July.