The closing date for farmers to enrol in the Johne’s disease pilot programme at Animal Health Ireland (AHI) is this Friday, 14 March.

It is expected that more than 1,800 farmers will have signed up for the pilot programme at the end of this enrolment phase.

Additional funding for the programme, amounting to €250k from the Department of Agriculture, was announced recently and AHI said it is expecting an increase in farmer participation.

One of the most importance components of AHI’s Johne’s disease control programme is a veterinary on-farm risk assessment and management advisory visits.

The assessment is carried out by an approved veterinary practitioner in partnership with the herd owner and examines five elements of farm management, namely animal movement history, calf management, heifer management, cow management and management of the calving cow.

Having identified the on-farm risks, the veterinary practitioner and the farmer agree number of practicable management changes with a view to mitigating those risks identified.

Some 11 vet training courses took place in 2013 for on-farm risk assessment, where 190 vets completed the course with a farmer participation rate of 1,500. More training is now set for 2014.