National Milk Laboratories launched the UK’s first Johne’s disease screening programme on milk samples at the Dairy Event and Livestock Show.

The programme will be available to producers through their vets and will test milk from individual cows on a quarterly basis from the presence of antibodies against the bacterium Mycobacterium avium Paratuberculosis, commonly known as MAP.  Samples will be sent directly from NMR recording service to NML.

The real value of the test is simplicity for vets and producers, said NML’s business development manager, Hannah Pearse. “We use milk samples already collected through our NMR recording service. There is no additional sampling for vets or producers.”

“Once producers are enrolled onto the service by their vets the samples are automatically directed for Johne’s testing on a quarterly basis and results are available to the vet via the NMR web based service Herd Companion PRO- a system used by over 75% of specialist dairy vets,” said Ms Pearse.

The herd companion system holds a log of pervious Johne’s test for the individual cow along with other health and fertility data. Cows can be grouped according to their risk level, which has been carefully calculated by the programme.

It follows a traffic light system with cows in the red group repeatedly testing positive for Johne’s. “Precautions should be taken to make sure diseased animals from the red group should not be used to feed calves,” said Ms Pearse.

For more information contact Hannah Pearse on 01249 467204