Johne’s programme ‘the only feasible means to implement control’

The roll out of Phase One of the Irish Johne’s Control Programme has been welcomed by IFA (Irish Farmers’ Association) Animal Health Chairman Bert Stewart.

He said the IFA fully supports the establishment of a credible, cost-efficient and targeted Johne’s control programme that meets the needs of farmers and co-ops.

Stewart noted that with time-frames in excess of 20 years and costs of €12 million to €14 million annually associated with the control of Johne’s, a practical and targeted approach is the only means by which this problem can be dealt with.

“The phased approach announced by Animal Health Ireland (AHI) is the only feasible means of implementing Johne’s control nationally and at farm level,” the chairman said.

This allows for the planned consultancy work to identify cost-efficient national screening tools and the development of support structures for farmers in the programme.

Stewart said there is a number of national screening tools that can be enhanced and interpreted to ensure the programme is targeted at the small number of herds that have a need to implement control measures.

The chairman said farmers who need to implement Johne’s control measures must then be fully supported in managing the disease from their herd.

Stewart said the IFA looks forward to proactively engaging with co-ops and AHI in developing Phase Two of the programme, which must be based on keeping participation costs to a minimum and fully supporting farmers who identify Johne’s on their farms.