Dairy goat farmers are facing a double whammy: a sharp drop in milk payout and reduced quota to supply the country's sole processor.
Supported by Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), Goat Diseases - The Farmers' Guide is a comprehensive, easy-to-read guide also likely to be useful to NZ farmers.
The guide was principally developed by Emily Litzow, Nick van den Berg and Barton Loechel as part of a broader co-development team in the Goat Innovation Platform pilot group in South Australia.
The innovation group belonged to the farmer-led surveillance research initiative, part of the Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) Ready Project, which aims to strengthen surveillance and preparedness for an emergency animal disease outbreak, using FMD as a model.
CSIRO research scientist Dr Barton Loechel said supporting producers in improving livestock surveillance on-farm for endemic and emergency animal diseases was the catalyst for the guide.
"We engaged with producers directly about biosecurity surveillance and it was clear they wanted an easy-to-use reference guide specifically about goat diseases and pests," Loechel said.
"The cause, clinical signes, diagnosis, treatment and prevention for a comprehensive list of diseases is set out clearly and concisely in the guide.
"The pilot group supporting the development of the guide was made up of goat producers, industry representatives and veterinarians experienced with small ruminats and goats, and the guide was reviewed by goat veterinarian, Dr Sandra Baxendell."
The guide provides tips and tools to help producers establish an on-farm biosecurity plan, what to watch out for, how to manage a biosecurity incursion, and where to get help.
It also includes information relating to general animal health including drenching, vaccination, foot paring, kidding, body condition scoring and fit to load guidelines.
Dr Loechel said by monitoring livestock for diseases that already exist in Australia, particularly notifiable diseases, producers have a critical role in strengthening the nation's biosecurity system.
"Farmers may not know exactly what the symptoms of FMD or many other exotic diseases would be if they were introduced into Australia, but if they see something unusual, then they have access to resources through the guide to get it checked out," Loechel said.
"Developing a working relationship with a local vet is also key to biosecurity surveillance for producers."
Australia has been free of FMD since 1872 due to stringent pre- and post-border measures.
FMD is currently regarded as one of the most economically and socially devastating livestock disease threats to Australia, which could cost the country up to AU$50 billion over 10 years, should a multi-state outbreak occur.
- A new easy-to-read guide is available to help goat producers recognise and manage goat diseases
- On-farm livestock surveillance is critical to boosting Australia's biosecurity systems
- The guide is available as hard copy and digital versions via www.mla.com.au