Completing your 2023 Whole Herd Test for Irish Johne’s Control Programme

Not all herds in the Johne’s programme in 2023 are required to complete a whole herd test, using milk or blood samples.

If you are in year 5 test negative pathway of the programme you are not required to complete a whole herd test in 2023. If unsure about your requirement to complete either a whole herd tests or a VRAMP in 2023 please consult your vet who can advise you.

Year 5 test negative pathway herds are those herds which have from 2019 previously completed four years of herd testing with negative results and three years of VRAMPs. As part of the 2023 programme year, year 5 test negative pathway herds are not required to complete either a whole herd test or VRAMP. We do however recommend that herdowners in year 5 test negative pathway for their own information complete their whole herd test, as it will contain important information they can use in management of their herd (NOTE: this herd test will not be funded through the programme). Herds which are in year 4 of the test negative pathway (those herds who have from 2019, previously completed three years of herd testing with negative results and three years of VRAMPs) are required as part of the programme to carry out a whole herd test, however this herd test is not funded.

If you have already done some testing, either blood or milk, you must complete a full whole herd test to be eligible for payment of herd testing assistance from your milk processor.

Make sure you include all animals on your farm aged two years or more, on the day when your yearly herd test is carried out. These are referred to as ’eligible animals’.

You can easily use your ICBF Johne’s screen to list animals to be tested, or if you are unsure how to do this, ask your nominated veterinary practitioner for assistance and help.

On your ICBF Johne’s screen:

  • Refer to ‘Whole herd test completed?’ on the left of the screen.
  • If this shows ‘Not Required‘ then the whole herd test for this year is not required.
  • If this shows ‘Not Yet Complete’ in red, click on the text to display a bar-chart at the bottom of the screen of eligible animals tested and eligible animals not tested.
  • You can then click on any bar of the chart to list the relevant animals.


  • It is best to start and complete the whole herd test within 30 days, to ensure untested animals are not culled or die before being tested, and so that the herd’s status is assessed as a whole herd at a point in time.
  • Bulls – Test using a blood sample, so you will need to arrange with your veterinary practitioner.
  • Dry or sick cows – Use a blood sample if they missed the milk recording testing and if they are not getting back into milk in the herd.
  • Un-calved 2 year-old heifers – If they missed milk recording testing, use a blood sample, or you can use a milk sample if they have since calved.
  • Cull cows – These must be tested if they are on your farm when you start your testing for the year. Use a blood sample if animals are not going back into the milking herd. For future years, plan to remove them from your farm before you start Johne’s disease milk testing or include them in the testing.
  • Beef breeding herd – These animals (aged two years or more) should be included in the testing.
  • Beef non-breeding unit – This does not apply to cull cows. Only non-breeding beef animals such as bullocks can be exempted from testing. To seek exemption, complete the Exemption Form (Non-breeding Cattle) here, get your veterinary practitioner to sign the form and return it to AHI.
  • Dead animals – complete the Exemption Form (Cattle that Left Herd) here, then submit it to AHI.

For further information, contact:

  • Your approved veterinary practitioner in the Johne’s programme
  • The Irish Johne’s Control Programme Herdowner Flowchart here.