The Goat Industry Council of Australia and Animal Health Australia have jointly developed an important new biosecurity tool to help minimise the risk of disease in goats. The National Kid Rearing Plan chiefly targets two major debilitating diseases found in goats: Johne’s disease (JD) and caprine arthritis encephalitis (CAE).
The Goat Industry Council’s Peter Lauterbach says it is well established that goats become infected with both diseases predominantly when they’re young, so the plan aims to break the transmission of disease between generations by minimising the risk of kids becoming infected.
“By separating kids from adults, the young livestock gain increased protection from a range of diseases and conditions beyond just JD and CEA, including scouring,” Mr Lauterbach says.
The plan focuses on hygienic kid rearing practices similar to those implemented in the dairy cattle sector and emphasises the following critical components:
Peter Lautenbach adds that while the plan is useful as part of an on-farm program to minimise the risk of CAE, it is important to note that it should only be used as an adjunct to the management of CAE.
“It is beyond the scope of the kid rearing plan to deliver complete control of CAE,” he says. “Additional management practices are required to eradicate CAE and a supplementary section in the plan outlines these practices.”
Adopting the practices recommended by the plan is a sound investment in future production, but in order to be effective, it must be implemented thoroughly and correctly. The plan is especially relevant to goat breeders and dairy producers as contaminated colostrum is a major avenue of transmitting JD and CAE.
“With this plan, we have collaborated closely with government and Animal Health Australia to formalise best practice kid rearing,” Mr Lauterbach says. “This gives added protection and thus added credibility and commercial advantage to goat producers who apply it fully – it can also be used to provide additional assurance points in the National Goat Health Statement.”
While participation in the plan is voluntary, all goat producers who wish to claim points from kid rearing under the Johne’s disease assurance rating must comply with all the elements of the plan and agree to the required audits.