Sheep producers are reminded to keep biosecurity in mind when buying rams this season.
Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development veterinary officer Anna Erickson said there were multiple factors to consider when buying rams, but biosecurity should be front and centre.
“The annual purchase of rams is a vital way for producers to improve their flock potential and performance but first and foremost it is important to ensure they are free of unwanted pests and diseases,” Dr Erickson said.
“In the first instance, buyers should consider the risks of pests and diseases present in WA including lice, footrot, multi-drench resistant worms, ovine brucellosis and Johne’s disease when making buying decisions.
“Ovine brucellosis, for example, can cause severe fertility problems in breeding flocks. One way of reducing the risk of this disease being present in your ram purchase is to check if the flock is accredited under the WA Ovine Brucellosis Accreditation Scheme.
“Buying sheep from interstate poses additional considerations. Post-import quarantine is in place for rams being brought from interstate and producers should check the department website agric.wa.gov.au for import conditions.”
Dr Erickson said all of these risks could be assessed by asking for a completed National Sheep Health Declaration at the time of purchase.
“The document also covers vaccination status and ovine brucellosis,” she said.
“And once a ram has been purchased, good biosecurity includes placing the ram in a separate paddock for a couple of weeks on arrival, and giving a quarantine drench for worms.”
Department stock identification and traceability operations manager Beth Green said it was important to maintain traceability during the ram sale season.
“All stock coming onto your property should be accompanied by a completed National Vendor Declaration (NVD) waybill, which is provided by the property owner the animals are coming from,” Ms Green said.
“It is the stock receiver’s responsibility to record the movement on the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) database – check to see if the stud breeder will do that for you.”
-WA Department of Agriculture