Surveillance secures footrot protected area status

A rigorous annual surveillance program and careful monitoring of sheep movements are the key to successfully maintaining Footrot Protected Area Status for the Northern Tablelands.

Northern Tablelands Local Land Services District Vet, Andrew Biddle says, while we can never claim to be footrot free on the Northern Tablelands, the disease is uncommon.

“Footrot Protected Area Status means that local sheep can be freely traded across NSW and our monitoring and surveillance program helps to stop this debilitating sheep disease from spreading in our region. The cost of freedom from footrot is eternal vigilance.

“So far in 2022, there have been no cases of virulent footrot detected on the Northern Tablelands. Given how wet the season has been, this is good news.

“We are now two weeks into our survey and have completed inspections on a dozen properties and no cases have been found as part of the annual random flock surveillance program”, said Andrew.

Prevalence remains low, as expected in a protected area, but biosecurity is a shared  responsibility and the Protected Area Status relies on producer cooperation.

“We very much appreciate the cooperation of sheep producers who are randomly selected to take part in the surveillance program. We will survey approximately 60 flocks this year and most farmers we have contacted have been able to quickly muster flocks into yards for inspection”, said Andrew.

During each survey, Biosecurity Officers individually inspect every sheep in a mob of between 100 and 200, which are mustered on the selected property.

“In order to maintain our Protected Area Status, we need to demonstrate there is an infection rate of less than 1% in Northern Tablelands flocks, and this has successfully been achieved through our surveillance and trace back programs for many years,” said Andrew.

“We also routinely check saleyards for sheep showing signs of symptoms consistent with footrot.

For more information about footrot infection in sheep and Footrot Protected Area Status across NSW, contact Northern Tablelands Local Land Services on 1300 795 299.


Media contact: Annabelle Monie 0429 626 326

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