Johne’s disease scheme now covers 75% of milk production

A scheme designed to combat Johne’s disease has been hailed as a success after figures revealed it now covers 75% of British milk production.

The National Johne’s Management Plan (NJMP) is a co-ordinated disease management programme run by the Action Group on Johne’s.

See also: Why dairy farmers should tackle Johne’s now

How the scheme works

Milk buyer members require their farmer suppliers to sign a declaration to confirm they have completed:

  •  An annual structured risk assessment to understand the Johne’s disease risks
  • Testing within the past 12 months to understand the herd’s Johne’s disease status
  • A written Johne’s disease management plan and agreed to implement one of six NJMP control strategies

This is carried out in conjunction with British Cattle Veterinary Association Johne’s Accredited Advisers (BAJVA).

The scheme has just ended its second year and a survey of milk buyer members showed they had obtained declarations from the majority of their supplying dairy farmers.

Most had achieved more than 80% compliance and almost half of group members had 100% compliance.

That equates to more than three quarters of Great Britain’s milk volume being covered.

The scheme’s success in winning industry engagement was a significant factor in the decision to include participation, by both farmers and buyers, as a Red Tractor scheme requirement.

Since October last year Red Tractor farmers have had to meet the requirements of the scheme at the time of their assessment.

Milk buyers will be required to join the scheme from April 2020.

Action group chairman Lyndon Edwards hailed the scheme as a “great result for an industry-led initiative”.

“It means we have managed to maintain a degree of active engagement in Johne’s control that keeps the country at the leading edge of the disease control worldwide,” he said.

“Continued close collaboration between farmers and BAJVA’s, backed up by supply chain commitments, demonstrates that delivery on endemic disease control can be achieved.”