Our website has recently been updated. Make use of the search to quickly find what you are looking for.

Sheep 73

Footrot in sheep impacts sheep health and welfare causing severe foot lesions and lameness, resulting in ongoing production loses. In South Australia footrot is a notifiable disease under the Livestock Act 1997.

The SA Footrot Management Program is funded by the South Australian Sheep Industry Fund and managed by the Department of Primary Industries and Regions of South Australia (PIRSA).

The program aims to reduce animal welfare issues, the economic impacts of the spread of footrot and assist producers to manage the disease.

A review of the SA Footrot Management Program was commissioned by Livestock SA following concerns raised within industry regarding the effectiveness of the program and adverse effects, including reduction in sheep presented to south-east saleyards.

Livestock SA contracted Biosecurity Advisory Services and Sapere Research Group to complete the review of the SA Footrot Management Program.

The review aimed to:

  • Detail the current impacts of the program as reported by industry and provide advice as to the veracity of the concerns raised.
  • Evaluate options for program amendments to address impacts considering practicality, effectiveness and economics (costs and benefits) for options.
  • Undertake a detail economic analysis on options to underpin changes to footrot management in South Australia that will guide program changes to improve cost efficiency and program effectiveness.

The review included comprehensive consultation with relevant stakeholders on their experiences with the current program. Stakeholders also provided feedback on how the program can be improved to be more effective and suitable for the management of footrot in South Australia.

The review developed an Animal Health Decision Framework to objectively review the current program and other options, which included a cost/benefit analysis for each option. The four program options evaluated were:

  1. Current Program
  2. Enhanced Regulatory Program
  3. Enhanced Industry Management of Footrot
  4. Full Deregulation of the Program

The review recommended that an Enhanced Industry Management of Footrot should be adopted as the model for the management of footrot in South Australia.

The final recommendations for the SA Footrot Management Program from the review were:

  1. A future footrot control program in South Australia should aim to reduce the economic and animal welfare impacts of footrot across the South Australian sheep industry, by enhancing the understanding, diagnosis, prevention and management of footrot using a collaborative industry approach.
  2. A future footrot control program for South Australia should be jointly designed and managed by industry and government.
  3. Enhanced industry management of footrot, should be adopted as the model for future management of footrot in South Australia.
  4. Livestock SA should consider approving the existing program application for funding, provided it is acknowledged that it will be managed, where possible, in line with the future intended approach.
  5. Communication to industry of the design and time frames for the future footrot control program should be given a high priority and a full description of program features and requirements should be published on the PIRSA website.

The review findings and recommendations were also reviewed by an independent consultant and determined to be sound and reasonable.

Next Steps:

Livestock SA will facilitate an industry-led steering committee to implement the review recommendations and nominations for this committee will be open soon.

Interim arrangements for south-eastern saleyards footrot management will be discussed and reviewed for the 2024/2025 selling season.

Recording of Industry Briefing 10 May 2024