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11th July, 2020

Johne’s testing needs to be made mandatory for beef & dairy production

Farm calls in West Cork highlighted how important Johne’s testing for herd health and survivability. This client revealed that he must strictly use beef sires on his dairy herd as Johne’s problem is at very high incidence causing chronic health and poor survivability in his herd. Adaption he has taken to maintain the structure of his herd and to address the Johne’s problem is to purchase all future replacements for the herd. However, he is finding it difficult to source stock with certification of Johne’s free status in dairy herds in Ireland.

From marketing perspective of milk products from our herds we need certification that our herds are free of Johne’s disease. Johne’s management requires a tremendous attention to detail and good husbandry practises around calving to avoid the transfer of this disease between dam and her offspring. This becomes very difficult problem to deal with when the herd size increases & the focus is on calving dairy herd with 90% calving 6 weeks period. Essentially the system breaks down because the availability of skilled labour to directly manage cows in the pre partum and early post partum period is just not there from a Johne’s disease perspective.