"During 2003-04 producer stakeholders from all States agreed that the new way forward for OJD control would be to allocate OJD Assurance Based Credits (ABC) or scores to all sheep flocks.
The score would allow prospective buyers of sheep to assess the level of risk of OJD in sheep they were thinking of purchasing.
The ABC score consists of a prevalence area score, based on the amount of OJD known to be in that area, and extra credits for practices such as vaccination and testing.
In SA, the sheep industry and Primary Industries & Resources SA (PIRSA) agreed that all sheep sold in SA or entering SA would need to have an Animal Health Statement (AHS) indicating the OJD score for those sheep.
The AHS also has a compulsory statement regarding freedom from footrot.
It is no exaggeration to say that buyers, sellers and stock agents in SA are complying with the essence of the new way forward for OJD to the extent that well over 95pc of sheep offered at saleyards have an AHS.
This was achieved within a month of the introduction of the new scheme.
It is disappointing to find that SA buyers operating in WA are having difficulty obtaining AHS for sheep they purchase, particularly out of saleyards.
Moreover, some AHS are being filled out and signed off by persons other than the owner/manager of the sheep.
There is an absolute requirement that the AHS be signed by the owner or manager of the sheep as the statement is a legal document indicating the OJD and footrot risk of those sheep.
The OJD and footrot sections of the AHS must be completed.
These are exactly the same conditions that the SA sheep industry has agreed for sheep sold within SA.
The purpose of this letter is to alert WA farmers of SA requirements.
It would appear that most farmers in WA are not aware of the need for an AHS for sheep to enter SA.
SA stock agents are looking to WA for sheep and are aware of their clients' requirements for sheep to have an AHS.
Providing an AHS with sheep offered for sale will assist stock agents purchasing sheep on behalf of SA clients with the increased competition resulting in higher prices for Western Australian producers.
The SA AHS is available on the web site pir.sa.gov.au.
It is no exaggeration to say that a huge majority of SA farmers are very keen to keep OJD in this State to an absolute minimum and to this extent have supported the new way forward in the management of OJD in SA."