Assessing your risk

Understanding your flock’s risk of exposure to OJD is the basis for developing the management and control programs you put in place. The first step is to recognise that OJD is most likely to be introduced with infected sheep, either at time of purchase or through agistment. In regions where the disease is well established ‘lateral spread’ can also occur along waterways and through fencelines.

How much risk of infection you flock has and will be exposed to will depend on a range of factors including:

– Sheep movement and purchase decisions you have made in the past

– What testing has occurred in flocks from which you have purchased

– The trading history of the flocks you have purchased from

– The geographic area where your farm is situated

– Whether your neighbours have OJD

– What testing you have undertaken and your attention to farm biosecurity practices

– Your flock’s vaccination status

– The location from which the sheep are sourced and whether the sheep are homebred or from a trader’s flock

– Grazing management strategies you have in place to minimise pasture contamination

Using a Sheep Health Statement is a practical way of obtaining much of the information outlined above for sheep that you bring onto your property.

Watch your flock closely and investigate any sheep that are losing condition.