Information is power when it comes to purchasing sheep

The National Sheep Health Statement is another tool in the disease management tool box for producers. It is the most important risk management tool livestock buyers have available to them. Utilizing the information on this health status record and taking time to inspect sheep before and after purchase can help reduce the cost of health treatments and market access issues.

It is within the purchaser’s rights to request to view the National Sheep Health Statement before purchasing sheep. Making use of this information together with inspecting the stock can help producers make an informed decision on the risk a group of animals may pose on their current flock. For example a producer may choose to purchase sheep that have been declared to have been vaccinated with 6 in 1 or approved vaccinates for OJD to help ensure they are of good health and low risk. 

Inspecting livestock is important to ensure the declarations are true and accurate particularly for lice and footrot. It is recommended that new sheep are kept separate until the producer has inspected them thoroughly for such conditions. Through undertaking this biosecurity measure, if they have a problem, only the new sheep may need to be treated rather than the entire flock, thus reducing treatment costs.

When selling sheep, producers should take time to ensure the documents are completed. A correctly completed animal health statement can provide buyers assurance and satisfaction. It is always important to remember that a person making a false statement may be liable under fair trading legislation, so taking time to fill the document out correctly is essential.

Since July 2013 a new Sheep Health Statement became compulsory in SA with the inclusion of the new Regional Biosecurity Plan Areas (RBP). Understanding and knowing the location of Regional Biosecurity Plan Areas (RBP), is the key to assessing a flocks risk for OJD. Some areas or states have chosen to develop RBP and have chosen to have entry requirements based on the minimum risk that they feel is acceptable. All of South Australia and Queensland are part of a RBP underpinned by state legislation. New South Wales has developed local areas with RBP’s and have been determined by producers in those areas but are not underpinned by state legislation.

To move stock into South Australia sheep should meet one of the following:

  1. Be from a flock in a recognised RBP
  2. Be from a flock with SheepMAP accreditation
  3. Be from a flock with a negative test in the past 24 months (Faecal 350 or Abattoir 500) and
    • Be a closed flock OR
    • Sheep introduced in the preceding 5 years on to the property – consigned from: a flock in another recognised RBP; a SheepMAP flock; or a flock with a negative test in the preceding 2 years.
  4. Be Terminal ‘T’ Tag Lambs* (identified by an NLIS ’T’ tag).

If you are unsure whether sheep are eligible to enter South Australia or need more information about completing the National Sheep Health Statement visit the PIRSA’s website or contact your local Biosecurity SA Animal Health officer.

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