LIVESTOCK Production Assurance (LPA) programs could save producers money following a notice from the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) to processors that organic chloride testing would be needed only from properties without quality assurance (QA) programs.
Taking effect from January 1, 2006, organic chloride testing will only be required for livestock from properties without LPA accreditation or an equivalent independently audited QA program.
Agriculture Department chemical management project manager Farren Dixon said organic chloride was a problem in WA, with about 400 properties affected.
He said of these 400 properties only 40 suffered from not having enough clean ground to graze cattle.
Mr Dixon said to comply with new organic chloride rulings producers would face the extra cost of having their QA programs audited, following funding withdrawal by industry for property management plans.
He said being LPA accredited or having an equivalent QA program would become a mechanism for being able to sell stock with no premium paid by processors for LPA accredited cattle.
"Relying on end point testing was never a good way to manage the problem," Mr Dixon said.
"The violation rate for organic chloride in cattle is less than 0.02pc nationally.
"Relying on quality assurance programs is a much more effective way of dealing with organic chloride."
Mr Dixon said the cost of testing for organic chloride on cattle from properties without a QA plan was about $70 per head, but this would vary depending on the number of cattle being tested.
He said the extra costs associated with organic chloride testing and QA auditing would force some horticulture producers to reconsider grazing cattle where organic chloride was a likely problem.
Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) figures indicate 13,007 properties are involved with LPA in WA and of these properties 5277 are fully accredited.
The number of LPA fully accredited properties in Australia is 54,009, with a total involvement of 159,237 LPA properties nation-wide.
MLA LPA is an on-farm food safety certification program designed to help the red meat industry strengthen the food safety systems in place.
LPA provides a set of guidelines and a revised National Vendor Declaration to help producers declare the food safety status of their livestock.
LPA guidelines present producers with basic animal production and record keeping requirements designed to ensure the production of safe food.
In many cases producers will not need to change their on-farm management practices.
Independent audits will be conducted to ensure the program's integrity is maintained.