ROYAL show beef cattle competition organisers say they will need to see what the uptake of higher status Johnes beef assurance scores (JBAS) is before setting policies for next year’s events.
The potential is for expanded segregation on the back of the new way of managing the disease in beef.
Officials at both Sydney and Brisbane shows said it was likely entries would be restricted to producers with a JBAS 6 or higher but no decisions had yet been made.
A JBAS 6 requires a biosecurity plan to be in place by October.
Royal National Agricultural and Industrial Association of Queensland beef cattle committee chairman and Darling Downs seedstock producer Gary Noller said his organisation had been investigating its options to minimise the potential of Johne’s disease contamination with livestock at the Ekka since February.
“We realise it will play an important role in us taking cattle and we have disseminated all information on the changes as they have come to hand - it has changed five times,” he said.
“The change of deadline gave us some leeway this year but exactly where things lay for next year we won’t be able to determine until we see which of our exhibitors will become JBAS 7 or 8.”
Stalls, wash bays, watering and feeding will have to be separated but the Ekka could facilitate that, he said
In fact, it has done for a number of years.
Likewise, the Sydney Royal Show.
It was expected cattle with different JBAS status would be able to compete together in the same ring, Mr Noller said.
He acknowledged producers who had invested in obtaining a JBAS 7 or 8, and for whom markets were dependent on that status, would want guarantees that status was not jeopardised.
“The intention is to work with every one of our exhibitors to get them back next year,” he said.
Mr Noller added his voice to frustrations over how the changes have been communicated.
“For eight months we have been at forefront of this but there are so many regulators and there has not been a united front on the issue,” he said.
“That has led to angst and a lot of innuendo.”
Royal Agricultural Society of NSW beef cattle committee chairman Greg Watson, Gunnedah, said studs of the old category equivalent to JBAS 8 had been showing at Sydney with no issues.
Cattle of different Johnes status had for a number of years been stabled together, he said.
It was expected a policy would be set prior to entry forms being sent out in November, he said.