Voluntary Dairy Herd Pilot

What is Johne’s Disease?
For more details on the disease click here.

Pilot Programme Objective

To test, evaluate and refine the various programme components, including data handling, diagnostic and on-farm advisory elements and cost benefit analysis that would be required to support a future, extended Johne’s disease control programme in Ireland.

Long Term Programme Objectives

1.     To identify those herds that test negative for Johne’s disease and provide these farmers with the knowledge and professional supports to allow them to increase their confidence of being free of infection  over  time  and to protect their herds from the on-going risk of introduction of this disease (bio-exclusion).

2.     To provide herds identified by the programme, or otherwise, as being infected, with the knowledge and professional supports to allow them to control and reduce the disease over time and ultimately to achieve a  high confidence of disease freedom (bio-containment).

3.     To further underpin the quality of Irish dairy and beef produce in the international marketplace.

How does the pilot programme work?

DAFM is providing funding to support the veterinary on-farm risk assessment and disease management advisory visit (VRAMP) and follow-up risk review visits. Only veterinary practitioners who have undergone specific training provided by AHI will be approved to undertake the assessments.  Details of approved veterinary practitioners can be found by clicking here.**

Participating milk processors will contribute at least €100 towards the costs of animal testing.  Samples must be sent to any of the several laboratories designated for this.

The Pilot Programme consists of three principal components;

1. Enrolment

The Dairy Herd Pilot Johne’s Disease Control Programme is voluntary.  Dairy herd owners wishing to enrol in the programme may do so by contacting AHI directly on 071 967 1928.

2. Herd Screening

All animals in the herd over 2 years of age at the date of testing must be included in a herd screen which must be completed within 12 months of enrolment.  Each eligible animal should be tested by a designated laboratory using the sample types and frequencies set out below.

·          2 Individual cow milk samples taken at least 3 months apart avoiding the three months following a TB skin test and the first week of lactation
·          1 blood sample avoiding the three months following a TB skin test
·          1 faecal sample.

3. Risk assessment and disease management advisory (VRAMP) visit and follow-up risk review visits

These are detailed on-farm reviews carried out by an approved veterinary practitioner in partnership with the farmer to identify aspects of management that could predispose to the introduction and spread of infection within the farm and to provide recommendations for the reduction of these risks.

For further information on the details of the programme please refer to the Johne’s Disease Pilot Programme Technical Document by clicking here.

How long will the pilot programme last?
The pilot programme will run until the end of 2016.  A decision as to whether to extend or expand the pilot programme will be taken towards the end of 2016, following a comprehensive review.

How do I interpret test results?
Interpretation of test results requires a knowledge of the characteristics of the test and the infection status of the farm.  It is important that all test results are discussed with your own vet, and (if different) the AHI approved veterinary practitioner who carried out the risk assessment and management advisory visit to your farm.

What happens to test positive animals?
The terms and conditions of enrolment require that animals defined as positive by the programme must not be sold to other herds.

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