Researchers at Charles Sturt University seek livestock producer knowledge through online survey

ONLINE SOLUTION: Associate Professor Marta Hernandez-Jover and Dr Jennifer Manyweathers need help from producers to fight animal diseases.
ONLINE SOLUTION: Associate Professor Marta Hernandez-Jover and Dr Jennifer Manyweathers need help from producers to fight animal diseases.

The Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation at Charles Sturt University are putting producers at the forefront of their research into biosecurity and animal diseases through online surveys. 

The research is part of the FMD Ready Project, which aims to improve surveillance, preparedness and return to trade from emergency animal disease incursions, using foot and mouth disease (FMD) as a model.

FMD is regarded as one of the most economically and socially devastating livestock disease threats to Australia.

It is estimated FMD could cost Australia up to $50 billion over 10 years, should a multi-state outbreak occur.

Producers of FMD-susceptible livestock, such as sheep, cattle, goat and dairy, are encouraged to share their knowledge via an online survey tailored to their respective livestock category. 

With a few taps on the keyboard and clicks of the mouse, producers can contribute to research to improve animal health and biosecurity.

Postdoctoral researcher Dr Jennifer Manyweathers said the confidential survey will take about half an hour to complete.

“Livestock producers play a vital role in surveillance for animal diseases and the survey aims to find out their management practices and attitudes towards biosecurity,” said Dr Manyweathers.

“We also want to find out how they can be supported to improve animal health management and on-farm profitability.

“Our aim is to build producer-led and partnership-based animal monitoring systems so that Australian livestock industries are more resilient and prepared for an outbreak of emergency animal disease.”

The FMD Ready Project also contributes to the management of other endemic diseases by strengthening disease recognition and management. 

To contribute to the research, producers are invited to visit the survey website relevant to their livestock, either the sheep survey, cattle survey, goat survey or dairy survey.  

The research partners for this project are the CSIRO, Charles Sturt University, the Bureau of Meteorology and the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, supported by Animal Health Australia.