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Effective Control using the National Johne’s Management Plan.

Johne’s Disease - What’s your plan? Do you have one?

An Action Group Johne’s was set up by Dairy UK in 2009 with the aim of achieving a sustainable reduction in JD in the UK. The first part of the program centred on farmer education with over 300 meetings organised over the country focusing on JD management.

The Program has developed further with the development of the ActionJohnes website and a structured plan to take forward. 82% of UK milk supply has signed up to the NJMP. This includes the major processors- Arla, Muller, First Milk and also locally Long Clawson and any Tesco producers 

So what do I have to do to comply with the NJMP?

There are 3 things that are required to be compliant. You must do this utilising the skills of a BCVA accredited Johne's advisor ( all our farm vets are accredited!)

  • Know your risks. This requires us to update your Myhealthyherd risk assessment for JD on your farm and allows us to work out whether you are doing enough to control the disease
  • Know your status. If you are not testing already then you will need to test 30 cows in your herd 3-6 years of age which are the most at risk cows (thin, disappointing yields, higher cell counts)  CIS would have a similar scheme. If you are not recording you can arrange for 30 sample pots and you collect the milk yourself or you ask us to blood test some cows
  • Create a written control plan. There are 6 possible control strategies ranging from just improving your management ( without any testing), breeding to terminal sire or strategic testing and improving management. The plan is based on what you can practically achieve on your farm together your aspirations and resources.

What are the benefits of JD control?

JD is an economically damaging disease. Most of the economic losses are with the subclinical cows and disease is associated with lameness, poor youngstock health and higher somatic cell counts. Farmers who successfully control the disease have a trend to use less antibiotics, have healthier herds

A survey was conducted of 394 farmers in the UK and this is the feedback from those farmers that had already started the journey. In the future it is likely that JD may be something that a processor would consider when selecting herds or milk from selected herds. Johnes disease has been associated with Crohns disease in humans. The link is yet to be conclusively proven but a sensible approach would be to tackle the disease. A “head in the sand” approach wont make it go away!

So what are the next steps?

We will get in touch with all our dairy farmers and encourage you to take part in the NJMP. The cost for us to help get you on the right track is minimal compared to the benefits that you may achieve in the longer run. Johne’s wont go away on its own!