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Beyond the Bale : June 2018
POST-FARM BIOSECURITY V I TA L “In the event of an EAD, the goals would be to minimise interruption to exports of Australian wool to the world’s markets, and minimise reputational damage to the Australian industry,” Bridget said. “The aim would also be to achieve the most rapid possible return to normal business for woolgrowers, customers and others in the wool industry pipeline. “As the wool industry’s R&D body, AWI takes primary responsibility for the development, oversight and funding of projects to address the priorities of this strategy. The Sheep Production portfolio of AWI’s own Strategic Plan for 2016/17-2018/19 aligns with the industry EAD strategy.” The industry EAD strategy has the following six programs: 1. Traceability – In the event of an EAD outbreak, it would be important to trace animals and wool backwards and forwards from centres of infection to help stop the spread of the disease and identify those that are from areas free of disease and are therefore low risk. 2. Bale disinfection – Bales that contain wool might need to be disinfected if they have left a property that is later found to be infected or if they have been potentially exposed to other sources of infection. 3. Wool disinfection – If a disease agent is suspected to be present within wool bales or loose wool, then it will need to be deactivated before the wool is suitable for any movement including export. 4. Codification – It is critical that any improvement in the wool industry’s capacity to respond to an EAD outbreak is captured in documentation that can be readily accessed and applied if an outbreak occurs. 5. Capacity building – It is important that the people involved in implementing EAD preparedness and response strategies have the understanding, capacity and relationships to do so effectively. 6. Coordination and relationships – The activities of this strategy will require coordination and management. WHAT IS THE THREAT? Australia’s biosecurity framework is strong by international standards. There are very well-developed plans to control or eradicate certain EADs should they enter the country. However the Australian wool industry’s strong export orientation places the industry at significant risk should Australia face an outbreak of an EAD transmitted by wool. “Trading partners would immediately place a ban on imports of Australian greasy wool and this ban would remain in place until each country’s authorities were satisfied that the wool posed no threat to their own national biosecurity,” said AWI Program Manager, Sheep Health & Welfare, Bridget Peachey. “Furthermore, at the global wool industry level, wool trade is highly dependent upon Australian exports, so the short-term depletion of the pipeline could be very damaging, particularly if some later-stage players for whom wool is optional move to other fibres.” For the wool industry, the major EAD risks are considered to be foot-and-mouth disease, sheep and goat pox and bluetongue, but there are many others. WHAT IS THE INDUSTRY DOING? It is clear that effective EAD prevention, a speedy response to an outbreak should it occur, and well-planned trade continuity measures are critical for the Australian (and indeed the global) wool industry. As a consequence, the Federation of Australian Wool Organisations (FAWO) with the assistance of AWI developed a three-year Australian wool industry EAD preparedness research, development and extension (RD&E) strategy for 2016/17-2018/19. This strategy is an update of the first such plan, which spanned the preceding three-year period. The strategy specifically addresses the shorn wool pipeline from farm to market; that is, it is concerned with the mitigation of supply chain and trade risks (such as product traceability), rather than disease response risks (such as diagnostic capability or vaccination). The thought of emergency animal diseases (EAD) such as foot-and-mouth disease can strike fear in farmers across the world. However, the Australian wool industry has a robust strategy to minimise the potential trade impacts on the industry if an outbreak of an EAD was to occur in Australia. As part of this strategy, AWI is funding several biosecurity projects that will help minimise disruption to flows of Australian wool to world markets in the event of an EAD outbreak. TRACEABILITY BALE DISINFECTION A prototype bale sprayer unit that will allow rapid disinfection of the outside of wool bales has been developed by AWTA with AWI funding. PROJECTS UPDATE A project has been completed with AWI funding to assess how readily wool could be traced through the value chain. Results showed that most lines of baled wool can be reliably traced but the process is time-consuming because not all systems are directly linked. FAWO is currently seeking to ensure that farm Property Identification Codes (PICs) are included in the information accompanying wool, because the PIC is the identifier used by government when managing disease outbreaks. Woolgrowers are encouraged to ensure they include their PIC on the Wool Classer’s Specification and National Wool Declaration. The PIC is an eight- character alphanumeric code allocated by state/territory authorities to livestock producing properties. If you own sheep, you require a PIC. Woolgrowers should ensure their properties have a Property Identification Code (PIC) and they include it on their National Wool Declaration and speci – this is vital information during a crisis. The prototype bale sprayer which will soon take part in field trials. 48 ON FARM