There is no one solution when it comes to managing OJD. Each property manager should develop a flock disease control program which takes into account the current disease status of the flock and the risks to which the flock is likely to be exposed.
An effective disease control program for OJD uses a range of tools and strategies both to keep OJD off a property and to manage an infection once it has occurred. Fortunately, there are a number of tools available to sheep producers to assist in managing the risk of OJD. However the first step in the management and control of OJD in Australia is to assess the animal health risk and to avoid buying in high risk sheep. Additional farm biosecurity activity, such as maintenance of fence lines and isolation of straying stock supported by the use of vaccine and grazing management, will help protect the flock and create pastures with low levels of bacterial contamination.
Why Manage OJD?
OJD infection can result in significant economic losses on infected farms due to sheep deaths, lost production and trading restrictions. Owners of flocks that are infected with OJD who undertake no appropriate management measures will, over time, experience heavy production losses and deaths as the level of infection within the flock increases. Annual death rates in infected Australian sheep flocks of up to 25% annually have been seen and in a self-replacing flock lambing percentages can fall to an unsustainable level.