BJD out­break hits in­dus­try

Central and North Burnett Times - - RURAL UPDATE -

QUEENS­LAND’S cat­tle in­dus­try has been left reel­ing af­ter Bovine Johne’s disease was de­tected at Rock­ley Brah­mans at Ba­jool, owned by the Kirk fam­ily.

Chris, Sally and Ash­ley Kirk have ex­pressed their dis­may through a state­ment on their web­site.

“As you can im­age, we are shocked at this dis­cov­ery and have no ev­i­dence as to how or when this disease came into ex­is­tence on our prop­erty,” the state­ment reads.

“We have taken all nec­es­sary pre­cau­tions since con­fir­ma­tion of the disease and its ex­is­tence and have been deal­ing with all rel­e­vant au­thor­i­ties to cur­tail the spread of the disease.

“The stud herd and all cat­tle on Rock­ley have been quar­an­tined as have the cat­tle on our other hold­ings, The Cedars and Un­garra.

“At this early stage we are per­mit­ted to only sell cat­tle di­rect to the abat­toirs.”

The dis­cov­ery will have a pro­found ef­fect on the ge­net­ics the Kirk fam­ily has­worked gen­er­a­tions to pro­duce. Ash­ley Kirk said the in­fected stud breed­ers would now be left as com­mer­cial breed­ers, and the fam­ily would have to re-es­tab­lish their stud herd.

“We’re ob­vi­ously un­der quar­an­tine still and we’ve got no plan to erad­i­cate the disease,” he said.

“(We’ll be) start­ing afresh with IVF work and work on get­ting some clean pad­docks so we can re­build and start our herd through that again.”

Many cat­tle pro­duc­ers who have pur­chased cat­tle from the stud, re­ferred to as trace for­ward prop­er­ties, have now been placed in an equally un­for­tu­nate predica­ment.

Biose­cu­rity Queens­land said about 160 prop­er­ties had been iden­ti­fied in this cat­e­gory and were now un­der­go­ing risk as­sess­ment in­clud­ing trac­ing where cat­tle have gone from th­ese prop­er­ties.

A link has been con­firmed to West­ern Aus­tralia, the only state with BJD-free sta­tus un­der theNa­tional BJD Man­age­ment Plan, as well as the wider Queens­land re­gion, New SouthWales and the North­ern Ter­ri­tory.

Biose­cu­rity Queens­land’s chief ve­teri­nary of­fi­cer Dr Rick Sy­mons said the beef stud prop­erty near Rockhampton was still the only prop­erty con­firmed as hav­ing the in­fec­tion.

Dr Sy­mons said a com­pre­hen­sive in­for­ma­tion pack was now avail­able for the Queens­land cat­tle in­dus­try, pro­duc­ers and gen­eral com­mu­nity from biose­cu­rity.qld.gov.au.

Pro­duc­ers who think they could be af­fected, but have not been con­tacted by Biose­cu­rity Queens­land, are urged to call 13 25 23.

Photo: Kath­leen Calder­wood

JOHNE’S OUT­BREAK: Chief ve­teri­nary of­fi­cer for Queens­land Rick Sy­mons, chief biose­cu­rity of­fi­cer for Queens­land Jim Thompson and DAFF Min­is­ter John McVeigh meet with cat­tle pro­duc­ers in Rockhampton.

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