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Data on stock and land helps biosecurity

Dr Dan Salmon, the Regional Veterinarian for Murray Local Land Services, is urging all landholders to send in vital information in their annual Land and Stock return that is used to plan biosecurity programs including responses to exotic animal disease outbreaks.

He says that not having all of the stock numbers has made it harder to manage the regional programs such as Ovine Brucellosis eradication and investigation of a recent serious photosensitisation incident.

"It is a crucial tool to maintain the excellent disease status of NSW livestock and the market access that flows from that, but we need a much better level of returns to give us up-to-date data.

"We are developing our service to be able to reach our ratepayers through modern technology to give prompt warnings and share the latest information, but if you are not on our database, or haven't supplied an email address, it makes the job much more difficult", he added.

Ratepayers of Murray Local Land Services have until the end of August to complete their Returns of Land and Stock.

Veterinary epidemiologists around the world are envious of the ability of Local Land Services to know how big a problem they might be facing in disease emergencies, but up-to date data is crucial.

"We don't expect ratepayers to make a special count of their stock, but simply subtract any sales and deaths from the most recent count. For species other than pigs, only animals over six months of age need to be put on the return so there is not an issue about counting lambs and calves that have not been marked."

There is also a financial benefit to those ratepayers who do not run livestock, if they submit their return before 31st August they are not liable to pay the animal health rate, and so their rate bill might go down substantially.

The returns can be submitted online or by mail and any ratepayer who has problems completing their form can ring the Lavington, Jerilderie or Deniliquin (Hay Road) office of Murray Local Land Services for help.

More information 

Scott Ison, Acting Team Leader, Animal Welfare & Biosecurity, p: 02 6040 4210.