Bluetongue-free in Kimberley

30 Aug, 2013 02:00 AM

EIGHT properties in the Kimberley were given Bluetongue Virus (BTV)-free status last week, opening up a number of new trade opportunities.

The properties in the southern Kimberley will now be free to trade into high-value BTV sensitive live export markets such as Israel, Turkey, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

The stations were cleared following surveillance carried out under the National Arbovirus Monitoring Program (NAMP).

Agriculture and Food Minister Ken Baston said where there was no evidence that BTV transmission had occurred for two years, properties within that area could be moved into a BTV-free zone, increasing their range of market options.

He said maintaining BTV-free status requires ongoing testing by the Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA).

If the virus is detected again in the area, properties within 100 kilometres will be removed from the BTV-free zone.

According to the DAFWA website there has never been a BTV incursion in Australia, but early detection of changes in the distribution of midges, which transport the virus, or the virus itself is important.

"In 2012-13, trade into BTV-sensitive live export markets was worth $134.6 million to WA," Mr Baston said.

"During that period, 30 per cent of WA sheep ($49m), 50pc of cattle ($68.6m) and 76pc ($17m) of dairy heifers sold for live export went into BTV-sensitive markets."



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