Herd of cows lay in a field.

Irish Johne’s Control Programme (IJCP) Description

About the programme

The Irish Johne’s Control Programme (IJCP) represents a significant step for the Irish cattle industries in developing a long-term approach to the control of Johne’s disease.

The IJCP provides a package of effective and on-going disease prevention and containment practices to control the spread of Johne’s disease.  These practices provide a pathway for test-negative herds to guard against entry of infection and to demonstrate progress towards an improved herd assurance against Johne’s disease, and a pathway for test-positive herds towards reducing the spread and effects of infection.

All dairy farmers are encouraged to register with the IJCP. The IJCP is also available to beef herds.

The objectives of the Irish Johne’s Control Programme are as follows:

  1. Enhance the ability of participating farmers to keep their herds clear of Johne’s disease (JD).
  2. Assist participating farmers to reduce the level of infection in their herds, where present.
  3. Provide additional reassurance to the marketplace in relation to Ireland’s efforts to control Johne’s disease and sustainability of Irish cattle production.
  4. Improve calf health and farm biosecurity in participating farms.
Principal elements of the Irish Johne’s Control Programme

Programme Framework

The programme structure clearly identifies the role that different activities contribute to the national control initiative.

Programme Flowchart for Herdowners

The IJCP has the support of all stakeholders involved in the programme, recognising it as delivering a sustainable and internationally credible programme for Ireland.  Funding is being provided by DAFM, individual milk processors and farmers with a commitment from DAFM and milk processors to maintain financial supports over a four-year period, 2019 – 2022.

The key elements of the programme are:

  • Veterinary Risk Assessment and Management Plan (VRAMP) undertaken by approved veterinary practitioners (AVPs).
  • Annual herd test (one blood or one milk sample per eligible animal, tested by ELISA) for all herds. All animals in the herd aged two years or more are to be tested.
  • Ancillary testing of faecal samples (by PCR) for animals with positive results to ELISA testing, in herds where infection has not already been confirmed (by previous faecal-positive result).
  • A veterinary investigation, funded through the Targeted Advisory Service on Animal Health (TASAH), following positive ancillary test results.

The purpose of the VRAMP is to identify areas of the farm management that put the farm at risk of spread of Johne’s disease onto or within the farm, and prioritise cost-effective measures to counter those risks.

The purpose of the herd testing is to either provide evidence (which increases each year of negative results) that the herd is not infected, or if Johne’s disease is present, to monitor progress in control and identify high-risk animals for separation at calving and from replacement stock and for prioritised culling.

In addition, DAFM is undertaking testing of bulk tank milk samples of all dairy herds to provide national screening (case finding) and encourage test-positive herds to join the programme to avail of the funded supports.

Financial supports

Whole herd testing

Milk processors are providing financial support to dairy herds for whole herd testing in accordance with the information set out below.

Year of registration Funding support/eligible animal
Test-negative pathway Test-positive pathway
1 €2.75 €2.75
2 €2.06 €2.75
3 €1.38 €2.75
4 Nil* €2.75

In most cases, this herd testing assistance is provided by milk processors to their dairy suppliers; the assistance will be funded by DAFM for herds which join the IJCP following notification of a positive result to a bulk milk tank test.

*It is anticipated that after four consecutive years of test-negative results, herds in the text-negative pathway will move to a lower-intensity maintenance testing programme – details of which are to be announced in the near future.

Herds in the test-positive pathway receive €2.75 per tested eligible animal in each of the first four years of the programme.


For dairy farmers that are receiving financial support for testing from their milk processor, DAFM is providing funds to meet the costs of the veterinary risk assessment and management plan (VRAMPs) when carried out by the nominated Approved Veterinary Practitioner (AVP) and where this is a required activity.

Ancillary testing

DAFM is providing funds to meet the costs of ancillary testing in herds where infection has not already been confirmed (by previous faecal-positive result).

TASAH Veterinary investigation

The Rural Development Programme is providing funds to meet the costs of a TASAH investigation for all herds following positive ancillary test results.

NOTE: Required programme activities of VRAMP and whole herd test, must be completed before the financial support for whole herd testing is paid.

Awareness resources

All farmers are encouraged to find out more about Johne’s disease control and how to manage the risk of Johne’s disease entering and spreading within their herd.

The Animal Health Ireland website provides essential details and supporting information. A simple, but comprehensive flowchart of the IJCP activities and links to further information is available here. Information is also available from approved veterinary practitioners and dairy milk processors.