National Johne’s Management Plan: Majority of Dairy Farmers in Great Britain Committed to Johne’s Disease Control Following Analysis of Preliminary Data
The National Johne’s Management Plan (NJMP) developed by the Action Group on Johne’s, an open forum for industry stakeholders interested in tackling Johne’s disease, jointly funded by AHDB Dairy and milk purchaser members, was first launched in 2016. The NJMP was developed to help manage and then reduce incidence of Johne’s disease in dairy cattle, as a coordinated initiative for the benefit of the industry.
The Action Group on Johne’s has retained focus on engaging farmers in robust disease control rather than testing alone, encouraged a strategic approach and developed and endorsed six Johne’s Disease control strategies. In addition, the Action Group on Johne’s has provided education of vets and farmers with common messages. In conjunction with BCVA, the Action Group developed online training and an accreditation process, where vets can gain the status of BCVA Accredited Johne’s Veterinary Advisor (BAJVA) and to date, over 1000 veterinary surgeons have gained the BAJVA status.
Phase 1 of the NJMP, primarily focussed on education and engagement with the NJMP. Phase 2 of the NJMP formally started in February 2017 and the operational requirements of Phase 2 were:
“Milk purchaser members of the Action Group on Johne’s require their associated farmers to obtain annually over three years a signed declaration by a BCVA Johne’s Accredited Veterinary Adviser that they will be implementing one of the six control strategies specified by the National Johne’s Management Plan.”
The first year of Phase II requested that by 31st October 2018, all associated farmers supplying the member milk purchaser companies were required to return a declaration to confirm that in conjunction with a BAJVA the farmer had: undertaken to assess their risks and herd status and, put in place the necessary management information, equipment, husbandry and resources to implement the agreed control strategy
Following the first annual deadline of 31st October 2018, preliminary data has been returned by the milk purchaser members and collated by RAFT Solutions Ltd to produce some top line figures. Within the data received to date, processor members have obtained signed declarations from over 90% of their supplying dairy farmers. This represents 61% of producers in England and Wales. This is truly a major result for an industry led initiative. The initiative has created and delivered the framework, and it shows that we have a high level of active engagement in Johne’s control. This demonstrates that close collaboration between farmers, vets and the supply chain can deliver on endemic disease control and provides an excellent foundation for the industry to build on.
From the current preliminary data the following control strategies have been implemented on these farms in conjunction with their BAJVA:
Throughout the second year of Phase 2 of the initiative, and by 31st October 2019 the declaration will confirm that the farmer – with a BAJVA – at the time of the consultation: had reassessed their risk and status and, was correctly utilising the management information, equipment, husbandry and resources to implement the strategy effectively.
A copy of the 2019 declaration has been made available to milk purchaser members and BAJVA’s. Following the 2019 deadline, compliance rates for each milk purchaser member will be released by the Action Group on Johne’s.
The milk purchaser companies who are members of the Action Group on Johne’s currently represent 64% of Great British milk production. The Action Group on Johne’s have set an ambitious target to achieve 95% representation by the end of 2019, aiming to engage with the whole dairy industry to deliver on endemic disease control.