South Australian grapegrowers with mixed farming properties have an important role to play in foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak preparedness.

Vinehealth Australia attended in a webinar last week titled ‘An introduction to foot-and-mouth disease for mixed producers’ run by Plant Health Australia (PHA) and Animal Health Australia (AHA).

Kathleen Plowman, CEO of AHA said Australia has detailed, well-rehearsed FMD response plans and arrangements in place, and is ready to deal with any outbreak of FMD that occurs in Australia.

FMD is a highly contagious animal disease that affects all cloven-hoofed animals including cattle, sheep, goats, camelids, deer and pigs. Cloven-hoofed animals are those with a split toe. FMD does not affect horses.

An outbreak of FMD is current in cattle in Indonesia, including the island of Bali. The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) has heightened border activities accordingly.

The FMD virus is carried by live animals and in meat and dairy products, as well as in soil, bones, untreated hides, vehicles and equipment used with these animals. It can also be carried on people’s clothing and footwear.

AHA said it was critical that mixed producers be aware of what FMD disease looks like and report any signs of the disease observed in their cloven-hoofed animals immediately to the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888 or their local veterinarian.

PHA and AHA said mixed farmers with livestock and plants including grapevines should consider keeping their plant operations segregated from their animal operations.

Stuart Kearns, National Manager of Preparedness and RD&E at PHA, said good hygiene practices and controlling the movement of livestock, people and equipment on properties were key.

In addition, PIRSA is encouraging livestock owners and producers to maintain sound biosecurity practices to prevent the introduction and spread of FMD. This includes:

  • Only buying animals from properties which have good biosecurity and disease control practices
  • Ensuring biosecurity control over people’s access to livestock and equipment
  • Isolating (quarantining) new animals before introduction into existing herds or flocks
  • Regular cleaning and disinfection of livestock pens, buildings, vehicles and equipment
  • Monitoring and reporting of illness
  • Appropriate disposal of manure and animals that have died from disease

PIRSA recently organised a FMD workshop in South Australia with the theme of industries working together to keep FMD out of South Australia.

More than 180 industry, primary producers and government representatives met online and in person for PIRSA-Industry Emergency Animal Disease workshop, with key leadership and organisation from Livestock SA, the South Australian Dairy Association and Pork SA.  

Livestock SA also led an Emergency Animal Disease industry update with more than 150 primary producers tuning in to hear up-to-date and accurate information from Primary Industries and Regional Development Minister Clare Scriven, SA Chief Veterinary Officer Mary Carr and Livestock SA CEO Travis Tobin.  

For more information click here: Foot and mouth disease.