Dairy cows eating in a shed© Abir Sultan/EPA/Rex/Shuttestock

Farmers signed up to the Action Group on Johne’s will now be set strict deadlines for scheme compliance and must have a written management plan signed off by their vet.

The new ruling and timelines for compliance capitalises on phase 2 of the National Johne’s Management Plan, launched last year, and should help meet the group’s target of having 95% of the dairy supply in Great Britain brought into the National Johne’s Management Plan by December 2019.

See also: Farm uses artificial colostrum to tackle Johne’s disease

About the Action Group on Johne’s

  • The steering group, which is made up of an industry committee including Dairy UK, NFU, AHDB and BCV, oversees the implementation of the National Johne’s Management Plan
  • ·More than 620 vets are accredited by the BCVA as trained in Johne’s veterinary advice and more than 82% of the GB milk supply pool is already within the Action Johne’s initiative
  • Phase 2 of the National Johne’s Management Plan was launched earlier this year
  • As part of phase 2, farmers must implement one of six strategies agreed by the group

The deadlines for compliance have been agreed by the group in consultation with its milk processor members. Further rules include:

  • There must be a formal veterinary declaration signed by the farmer and his/her vet to state that an assessment of Johne’s risk and status has been undertaken on each farm in the past 12 months and that there is a written Johne’s management plan in place which has been agreed with the herd owner.
  • Only vets that have undergone BCVA training on Johne’s will be permitted to sign the declaration and it must be reviewed annually.
  • Previously, farmers signed up to the scheme only had to declare they were carrying out assessments, but these did not have to be monitored as strictly by vets as the new rules insist.
  • By October 2018 all farmers supplying purchaser members of the scheme will need to have completed the declaration.
  • From November 2019, the level of engagement achieved by purchaser members will be made publicly available on the Action Johne’s website.

Lyndon Edwards, chairman of the Action Group on Johne’s, said with support for the scheme growing, the time was right to set the deadlines for compliance.

He added: “With the new Red Tractor standards out this month, which also example having a Johne’s plan for infectious disease management, we look forward to helping the industry work together to manage this issue on farm. 

“The NJMP plan will help reduce the prevalence on Johne’s on farm to provide future sustainability for the producers and the whole supply chain and also provide opportunities for future trade in an increasingly competitive market.”