A draft plan for a voluntary, national Johne’s management programme has been launched by the industry group Action Johne’s UK.
The aim of the industry-led initiative is to reduce the incidence of Johne’s in dairy cattle in Great Britain through robust management practices.
It is currently estimated that one-third of UK dairy herds have a significant infection rate, according to NMR data from September 2012. Yet the uptake of control plans on many farms has been relatively poor.
The action group hopes to rectify this by engaging 80% of dairy farms.
Lyndon Edwards, chairman of the action group, revealed the framework of the plan to the public for the first time at the “Johne’s – Taking the Next Steps” conference, in Worcester, on Tuesday (18 November).
He explained the programme was currently out for consultation until 18 January 2015, but he hoped phase one of the voluntary programme would get under way as soon as next April.
He added: “International experience demonstrates that control and the reduction of Johne’s in dairy cattle is feasible and can be delivered cost effectively. The UK needs to ensure its performance in tackling the disease is comparable to its main international competitors.
“We can make a real difference in tackling the disease. If we want a sustainable future for our industry we need to get a grip on Johne’s.
“A joint approach throughout the dairy industry is the right way to go and I’m confident that the national Johne’s management plan will deliver robust results and help us achieve a significant reduction of the disease.”
Details of the draft plan can be accessed on the group’s website.