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Taiwan trade delegation examines biosecurity programs in WA

DAWR facilitated a visit by Taiwanese technical officers to WA
DAWR facilitated a visit by Taiwanese technical officers to WA, including an on-farm visit to Warrick Tyrrell’s (third left) dairy property. The delegation is pictured with DPIRD field veterinary officers Dr Kevin Hepworth (centre) and Dr Kristine Rayner (second from right).

Australia’s National Arbovirus Monitoring Program (NAMP), enzootic bovine leucosis (EBL) status in dairy cattle and on-farm biosecurity were the focus of a recent visit to Western Australia by a delegation from the Taiwanese Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ).

Taiwan imports a small number of Australian dairy heifers annually, which are flown from eastern Australia. With increasing milk prices in Taiwan, it is expected that demand for Australian dairy heifers will continue to grow and this may provide a potential opportunity for WA industry.

During the WA visit, WA Chief Veterinary Officer Michelle Rodan provided an overview of the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) Livestock Biosecurity program. Dr Rodan summarised the key systems that underpin WA’s high animal health status, including animal health surveillance, disease control and traceability. She also outlined how DPIRD partners with private veterinarians and industry to deliver these systems.

DPIRD NAMP Coordinator Marion Seymour explained how the sentinel herd testing and vector monitoring provided under NAMP scientifically demonstrates the distribution of bluetongue virus. Australia remains free from clinical disease due to bluetongue infection, which enables us to trade into bluetongue-sensitive markets.

The Taiwanese delegates also travelled to Bunbury where they inspected Warrick and Emma Tyrrell’s Waterloo dairy.

“The delegates were impressed with our on-farm arrangements for bluetongue surveillance under the NAMP, which include regular blood testing of sentinel animals and close monitoring of the vector traps,” Dr Tyrrell said.

“They were also interested in how we manage the cattle during summer given Taiwan is situated across the tropic of Cancer and can be hot and humid. I explained how we graze the shaded paddocks with silage during the day and the open irrigated pastures at night.”

During the Bunbury visit, Western Dairy Research and Extension Officer Jessica Andony provided an overview of the local industry to the delegates.

“Delegates particularly wanted to know more about the EBL-free status of WA dairy herds and how the EBL program is regulated as well as on-farm biosecurity efforts to minimise the risk of Johne’s disease in WA cattle,” Ms Andony said.

The WA Cattle Industry Funding Scheme funds the annual surveillance required to achieve EBL free status in WA in addition to funding the surveillance for Johne’s disease in cattle and its regulation.

The weeklong visit by the trade delegation was arranged by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) and also included visits to dairy farms and a laboratory in New South Wales.