University of Wisconsin–Madison

Johne’s makes dairy farms financially vulnerable

Research article – Dairy farm economics

S. Shrestha, et al. Financial vulnerability of dairy farms challenged by Johne’s disease to changes in farm payment support. Frontiers in Veterinary Science. Vol. 5 Article 316, December, 2018.

Scottish experts on farm economics explored the financial impact of Johne’s disease on Scottish dairy farms using farm-level economic models. Their methods took into account all the biophysical and financial characteristics between activities on the whole farming system to assess financial losses due to external shocks. The study focused on financial vulnerability as reflected in dependence on market prices and support systems, and the within-herd prevalence of Johne’s disease.

The authors concluded: A majority of dairy farms are resilient enough to cover losses due to disease in addition to their other (non-Johne’s related) costs or losses. However, around 14% of farms rely on farm support payment to cover their losses. These farms have lower per cow milk production levels, which are inadequate to cover economic losses from Johne’s disease without payment supports. These farms are most vulnerable to changes in farm support payments and require attention when agricultural policies are reformed in the future or when designing and implementing a national control and eradication programme.