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Sheepmeat Council : Sheepmeat 2012
42 SHEEPMEAT COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA ANNUAL MUSTER 2012 AgForce Queensland Queensland again was hit with a high rainfall in the summer months causing wide spread flooding for the third year in a row. Most of the regions that were affected this time were in sheep producing regions with stock losses and fencing damage reported. Despite this problem, producers have been blessed again with a good season heading into the winter period. AgForce is encouraging producers to make the most of this opportunity to see an increase in lambing percentages, in anticipation of increasing the availability of sheep. This must be achieved through better management procedures such as increased predator control. While this is an exciting time for sheep producers there are a number of issues, both on a state and national level that AgForce are continuing to have input into. Wild dogs continue to be a major issue for sheep producers of which AgForce has continued to take the lead in managing this issue through lobbying the Queensland Government for the removal of red tape which hindered producers' efforts to manage wild dogs. AgForce has also been lobbying Australian Wool Innovation with great success with AWI funding 3 projects including educational workshops, trapping schools and the employment of a wild dog coordinator to help producers working together with a regionally coordinated strategy. The aim of these projects is to raise the awareness of coordinated wild dog control. The projects effectively disseminated current scientific information as well as information on a wide range of wild dog management While having been once again ravaged by food, Queensland’s sheep producers are looking forward methods. As AWI has funded these projects, AgForce is restricted to educating producers that are within the sheep areas of Queensland. AgForce is looking to take the success of these projects to Meat and Livestock Australia to implement similar programs in the cattle areas of Queensland. Wild dogs are a major biosecurity risk in Queensland which needs to be managed across all production systems. NLIS is an issue that AgForce is monitoring with anticipation of the release of the report from the scoping working group. AgForce sheep and wool and QLD DAFF have regular meetings to discuss the implications on the sheep industry if an electronic traceability system is implemented. The Queensland government is not satisfied with the current paper based system as it is concerned that in the case of a biosecurity outbreak that the speed of trace back will compromise market access. While AgForce sees the importance of market assurance, we support the current paper based system and encourage producers to fill out the NVD's correctly to ensure that traceability requirements are met. If an electronic traceability system is implemented nationally, AgForce will be working along side the Queensland Government to ensure that the infrastructure, cost and technology burdens are adopted by Government and make sure that producers are well educated on the electronic system. Changing consumer attitudes to animal welfare is causing major issues for producers. It is an issue that continually needs to be addressed by the individual producer as it is their own industry which is being affected. Mark Murphy (AgForce Representative on Sheepmeat Council) believes that sheep producers need to be well informed on current updates so that they have the required knowledge and skills to enhance animal welfare on farm. AgForce looks to be of more assistance in helping this process, by having readily available information for producers on matters surrounding animal welfare including updates on workshops, trials and new technologies. AgForce in conjunction with Sheepmeat Council, support the industry's push towards better management and breeding selection in order to deal with these problems in the near future. Rachael Pratt SHEEP AND WOOL POLICY DIRECTOR