AN enhanced footrot control program is expected to be introduced after a survey revealed the majorit

25 Oct, 2006 08:45 PM
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More than 2000 sheep producers completed the survey and nominated one of three options, which included eradication, control or deregulation.

FECAC chairman Chris Richardson said the preferen-ces were evenly spread among the three options, with 66pc supporting a producer contri-bution to the cost of a future footrot program.

³Although it was fairly evenly distributed between the three options, only one-third of producers preferred deregulation,² Mr Richardson said.

³The other two-thirds of producers were willing to contribute to the cost of a control program.²

Because there was no clear preference for an option, FECAC would undertake further discussions before recommending a future course for footrot management in WA.

³We are investigating a range of options and putting together a suitable program to control footrot,² Mr Richardson said.

The program would be put past representatives from farmer groups and could be in place by the end of the year.

Mr Richardson said respondents to the survey were well distributed across the state and representative of all sizes of sheep properties.

There was a leading preference for deregulation in the Northern Agricultural region and Southern Rangelands.

The Central Agricultural region favoured the control option and the Southern, South-West and Metropolitan/Swan Agricultural regions chose eradication.

³In terms of flock size, there was a trend for owners of smaller flocks to prefer eradication, for owners of mid-sized flocks to prefer control and for owners of larger flocks to prefer deregulation,² Mr Richardson said.

The majority of producers wanted to either enhance the current program to achieve a high level of control by 2020 or implement a lower-cost control program to help preserve the substantial gains made by the existing program.

The control methods would require a producer payment of 20c/head on sheep sales for high control and six cents for lower control.

The third and the least popular option was deregula-tion, which involves indivi-dual producers managing footrot under the guidance of an industry-driven framework.

WAFarmers wool council president Max Watts said he was pleased with the way farmers were tackling the footrot problem.

"The great majority of farmers in WA have shown enormous diligence in their approach to footrot over the years and they are to be congratulated for the overwhelming reduction in infected properties,² he said.

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