Declare for biosecurity
When it came time for Carlos Peters to decide whether his biosecurity plan would include the Cattle Health Declaration (CHD) form, he ticked yes.
While only a few producers in his region are using the declaration when selling cattle, the Kempsey farmer said his decision was based on value-adding to his farming operation.
“Eventually it will value add to the operation when more and more people take it up. I’ve already sold cattle where the vendor requested our CHD, so it’s gaining momentum,” Mr Peters said.
“But it’s going to take some time before that happens.
“We are in the food business, we are part of this chain so it’s important in this day and age with people worrying where cattle are coming from and what they are eating that we as producers are ensuring they are getting a good quality product that they are more than happy to put on the table in front of their own children.”
The CHD is a tool that can assist producers in assessing the biosecurity risks of new stock being introduced to the property. It is designed to be used when animals are being bought and sold.
It is separate to the National Vendor Declaration (NVD) because the questions on the NVD relate primarily to food safety, whereas the CHD is animal health related and can be used when restocking, breeding or fattening.
But the CHD is not mandatory unless your cattle are Northern Territory bound. It is also unnecessary in most cases with cattle sent straight to the abattoir.
It’s a document that allows producers to make an assessment of cattle they might be purchasing and the biosecurity risk those cattle may pose.
Up until now the NVD and the CHD have been two separate pieces of paper for the seller to complete and send with the animals.
For those who can use the new electronic NVD, both forms have been merged into one.
Biosecurity and extension manager, Rachael O’Brien, said with the new rules around Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) accreditation and on-farm biosecurity planning, many more producers were becoming aware of the benefits of the CHD.
“For many producers biosecurity is a new concept so it’s understandable that many producers have questions about the CHD,” she sad.
Ms O’Brien said if producers were participating in Johne’s Beef Assurance Score (J-BAS) then they should send and request this document as part of risk assessment.
“If you don’t provide a CHD to buyers who require them to move the cattle after sale, you could be limiting your markets,” she said.
“Producers should answer the questions honestly. You do not need to test for any of the diseases on the CHD but if you have done in the past you should describe your results on the form.”