Ruminant feed ban requirements for livestock owners

Feeding ruminants

Livestock owners:

  • must not feed restricted animal material (RAM), including animal meal or fish meal, to ruminant animals
  • must ensure ruminant animals are not fed any animal feed that has the positive RAM statement, which is:
  • 'This product contains restricted animal material - DO NOT FEED TO CATTLE, SHEEP, GOATS, DEER OR OTHER RUMINANTS'

  • when selecting proprietary animal feed, should only choose those products designed and labelled specifically for feeding to ruminant animals
  • should not feed ruminants foods formulated for dogs and cats because they are likely to contain RAM, even when there is no positive RAM statement
  • must not allow ruminant animals access to feed or discarded feed that contains RAM, or to the mixing area where feed containing RAM has been prepared
  • should ensure all feed containing RAM is held in secure storage containers and take steps to prevent feed containing RAM from contaminating feed that does not
  • ensure ruminants do not have access to organic fertiliser (e.g. chicken manure or litter), unless the fertiliser has been sufficiently incorporated into a pasture (e.g. by ploughing or rain and pasture growth) to ensure it will not be eaten.

Ruminants include:

  • cattle
  • sheep
  • goats
  • deer
  • alpacas
  • llamas
  • bison
  • buffalo
  • chamois
  • antelopes
  • giraffes
  • camels.

Preparing feeds on-farm

Some livestock owners prepare their own animal feed. If you are preparing both feed that contains RAM and feed that does not, you should adopt good manufacturing practices to avoid contaminating non-RAM feed with RAM.

Measures to avoid cross-contamination include:

  • cleaning all equipment thoroughly and completely between batches
  • using suitable sequencing and flushing techniques to prevent traces of RAM being included in feeds intended for ruminants or not labelled with a warning statement
  • using separate dedicated feed storage bins to store feed containing RAM and those that don't, and labelling each bin.

RAM statements are not required for feed that is produced and consumed on farm.

Queensland Ruminant Feed Ban Surveillance Program

Compliance with the requirements of the ruminant feed ban is monitored under the Queensland Ruminant Feed Ban Surveillance Program.

Biosecurity Queensland inspectors regularly inspect the premises of renderers, stock feed manufacturers, retailers and owners to monitor compliance with the ruminant feed ban.

Case studies showing breaches of the ruminant feed ban

Ruminants allowed to access spilt feed

John Smith has a farm on which he rears both pigs and beef cattle.

John prepares his own feed for his pigs and cattle on his farm. He includes commercially produced meat meal, bonemeal and fish meal in food for his pigs and makes sure that animal products and fish meal are not included in food for his cattle.

However, John allows his cattle to freely roam the area where he mixes and stores both rations. John does not install a fence to keep animals out of this area, even though there is always spilt feed containing RAM on the ground following mixing.

John has failed to take reasonable measures to prevent his cattle accessing RAM. A reasonable measure would be to build a secure fence around the mixing and storage area with a secure gate, hinged in such a way that it closes after any person opens it and cannot be opened by cattle once it is shut.

Ruminants eating organic fertiliser

Jane Jones rears beef cattle. She purchases blood and bone fertiliser (containing RAM) to fertilise her cattle pasture. When spreading the blood and bone over the pasture, she leaves cattle on the pasture because she believes they will not consume the material in any great quantity. Jane decides not to incorporate the fertiliser into the pasture because rain is forecast for that night. However, the rain does not eventuate.

Blood and bone fertiliser is RAM that must not be fed to cattle. Jane has failed to take reasonable measures to deny her cattle access to the RAM spread on the pasture. A reasonable measure would be for Jane to remove her cattle from the pasture before and during the spreading operation and to keep them away until the fertiliser is sufficiently incorporated into the pasture. She could aid incorporation by spreading the fertiliser evenly (rather than in heaps), watering it in (irrigation), ploughing it in, or allowing enough time so that the fertiliser is incorporated naturally.

Generally, excluding ruminants from treated pasture for 3 weeks may allow enough rain and pasture growth to minimise the risk of animals ingesting RAM. However, longer exclusion periods will be needed if rain is scarce or pasture growth is slow.

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