Eradication of Johne’s Disease will take a long time, according to Animal Health Ireland CEO Joe Flaherty, but a control programme is a must.

Speaking at the Teagasc Dairy Expansion Seminar, he said that while the current test for Johne’s is not as sensitive as the one for BVD, but that is not a reason not to start a control programme,

“Other countires have control progrmmes for Johne’s using the very same test we are using.”

He said that the sensitive of the test can be increased by repeated use, and you will build up confidence with the test if you repeatedly use it.

“A bulk tank test for johnnes disease is particularly insensitive. If you get a positive result from the bulk tank it means there is a very serious problem in that herd. So an individual test is better and it allows you to build up a better picture.

“We are in the for the long haul, it’s several years of testing and, more importantly, the management practices.

“We would love the tests to be more sensitive, but we have the tools that we have, and like any other country serious about tackling Johne’s Disease we have to use what we have.”

He said the industry-owned database in the ICBF is world class and Ireland has a knowledge transfer structure with Teagasc, which gives it a huge advantage.

“We should not get despondent about Johne’s Disease as we have the tools to allow us to be as good or better than other countries.”