Dairy farmers without a Johne’s control plan are now in a small minority in Great Britain, the Action Johne’s conference heard last week (30 January).
Latest figures from the group show that 56% of farmers have now obtained a signed declaration from a trained vet.
In addition, a considerable number of farmers are working with vets to control Johne’s outside the framework of the Action Johne’s National Johne’s Management Plan (NJMP).
This means the overall estimate for farms actively engaged in controlling the disease is up to 75%.
NJMP: The numbers
- 20 processor members representing 64% of GB milk
- 16 processor companies have achieved 90% compliance, of which 10 have achieved 100% compliance
- 56% of farms in England and Wales are compliant
- 1,153 BCVA-accredited Johne’s vets to administer NJMP.
Speaking after the conference, Lyndon Edwards, chairman of the Action Group on Johne’s, underlined the importance of getting milk processors currently outside the scheme signed up.
He added: “To maintain momentum, the veterinary declaration for the next two years focuses more on delivery of control measures on the farm.
“In Great Britain we’ve achieved a very high level of farmer participation that we can be justly proud of. However, we have to keep up the momentum as our European counterparts are also very active.”
Dr Karen Bond, veterinary adviser to National Milk Laboratories (NML), told the conference that Great Britain’s Action Johne’s plan was ahead of the curve compared with other nations.
“This wasn’t always the case – we’ve had to play catch up,” she admitted. “However, now other countries are remarking on how we have got so much done with modest funding and just by getting people in the industry to co-operate.”
However, she stressed that there was important work still to be done and that the industry had to carry on working hard to achieve four further goals:
- Getting 100% of GB milk buyers signed up to the NJMP
- Establishing risk-based trading through producer groups to minimise the chance of bringing the disease into a farm
- Raising awareness and control in beef herds
- Looking at developing Johne’s control plans in the goat and sheep industries.
Action Johne’s: What lies ahead?
- Phase 1 completed: The National Johne’s Management Plan (NJMP) formally began on 1 April 2015 and started with education and increasing vet and farmer engagement.
- Phase 2, part one completed: Phase two was launched in February 2017 and consisted of milk buyers signing up to the plan and requiring suppliers to have Johne’s declaration forms signed by a BCVA-accredited veterinary adviser.
- Phase 2, part two: Farms have until 31 October this year to update their Johne’s plans. This involves new statements acknowledging that they are taking steps outlined with their vet to control Johne’s.