An agreement has been reached by the Animal Health Ireland (AHI) Implementation Group to establish an Irish Johne’s Control Programme.

Commenting on the news, Jerry Long, chairman of the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society’s (ICOS) Dairy Committee said: “ICOS welcomes the establishment of a sustainable and credible Johne’s Disease Control Programme for the Irish dairy sector.

“The programme is based on the recommendations by an independent expert and will serve to future proof the Irish dairy sector against potential marketplace risks.

The package will help ensure the disease prevalence remains low in Ireland compared to our international competitors.

Johne’s disease is a bacterial disease of cattle and other ruminants for which there is no cure.

It is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP), hence the other name for the disease Paratuberculosis.

National Dairy Conference

The news comes as the National Dairy Conference kicked off this morning in Co. Cork, featuring a panel of experts in dairy both in Ireland and abroad.

Opened by Billy Kelleher, Teagasc’s regional manager for Cork, the first of two morning sessions were chaired by Teagasc chairman Liam Herlihy.

The first session incorporated talks from: Albert McQuaid, the global chief technology officer for Kerry Group; Joe Patton, dairy grassland specialist with Teagasc; and Michael Dineen, who is currently completing a PhD in Cornell University in the US.

McQuaid’s presentation highlighted the Kerry Group, its origins and its growth to where it is today, noting its focus on value-added ingredients for global markets.

The technology officer underlined the importance of Kerry’s innovation model, including elements such as: consumer market insight; food and beverage consumer products; product technology and process expertise and applications, to deal with an evolving market.