Na­tional JD dairy con­trol in Jan­uary

Irish Examiner - Farming - - FRONT PAGE - Stephen Cado­gan

Dairy co-ops have wel­comed Johne’s Dis­ease con­trol ex­tend­ing to vol­un­tary par­tic­i­pa­tion by all dairy farm­ers on Jan­uary 1, 2019. “The pro­gramme will serve to fu­ture proof the Ir­ish dairy sec­tor against po­ten­tial mar­ket­place risks,” said ICOS Dairy Com­mit­tee Chair­man Jerry Long.

“The pack­age of sup­ports avail­able to farm­ers rep­re­sents a sig­nif­i­cant and long-term com­mit­ment by the Ir­ish dairy sec­tor to its sup­plier mem­bers, and will help en­sure the dis­ease preva­lence re­mains low in Ire­land, com­pared to our in­ter­na­tional com­peti­tors.” Johne’s dis­ease (JD) is a bac­te­rial dis­ease of ru­mi­nants for which there is no cure. Com­monly, symp­toms of re­duced feed con­ver­sion, fol­lowed by weight loss, scour, ema­ci­a­tion and death don’t ap­pear un­til a cow has had three or more calves. Be­fore such signs are seen, re­sis­tance to other in­fec­tions may be weak­ened, and a cow may well have been culled. Re­search has in­di­cated Johne’s dis­ease is in 20% of dairy herds and 6% of beef herds in Ire­land.

JD is caused by My­cobac­terium avium sub­species paratu­ber­cu­lo­sis also a sus­pected cause of Crohn’s Dis­ease in hu­mans. In­fec­tion usu­ally comes into farms via a sin­gle pur­chased in­fected an­i­mal, or in con­tam­i­nated colostrum or slurry. Fund­ing is be­ing pro­vided by the De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture, milk pro­ces­sors, and farm­ers, as this Phase Two con­trol of the dis­ease is launched, with a com­mit­ment from the De­part­ment and milk pro­ces­sors for four years of fi­nan­cial sup­port. Joe O’fla­herty, Chair­man of An­i­mal Health Ire­land’s JD Im­ple­men­ta­tion Group, said, “This is a sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone for the Ir­ish dairy in­dus­try.” The more than 900 farms (which com­pares with 18,000 dairy herds in Ire­land) al­ready reg­is­tered in Phase One will au­to­mat­i­cally go for­ward to Phase Two, de­tails of which were fi­nalised ear­lier this week. All dairy he s will be in­volved in na­tional bulk milk tank test­ing overseen by the De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture, and will be re­cruited into the pro­gramme where nec­es­sary. Phase Two lasts for four years, with herds fol­low­ing a test-neg­a­tive or test-pos­i­tive path­way, de­pend­ing on re­sults of an­nual tests of el­i­gi­ble an­i­mals (blood or milk tests). Herds on the test-neg­a­tive path­way fol­low a Ve­teri­nary Risk As­sess(map), ment and Man­age­ment Plan (VRAMP) for three years, funded by milk pro­ces­sors.

Herds on the test-pos­i­tive path­way also have a VRAMP, an­cil­lary whole herd test­ing, and ve­teri­nary ad­vice, with fund­ing from the De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture for three to four years. Ob­jec­tive mea­sures of JD con­trol progress in par­tic­i­pat­ing herds will be gen­er­ated, pro­vid­ing as­sur­ance for Ir d for in­ter­na­tional mar­kets.

Dairy farm­ers can vol­un­teer to par­tic­i­pate from early De­cem­ber. Fur­ther de­tails will be pro­vided at farmer aware­ness sem­i­nars.

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