In 2009 Dairy UK, milk processor body set up an industry initiative with stakeholders from the dairy industry called Action Johne’s. All UK dairy farms have a single supply contract with a designated buyer, who has control over the standards to which the milk is produced. This has progressed over the years from a Johne’s Disease (JD) education and engagement program to a more structured framework for the control and management of Johne’s Disease in the UK dairy herd called the National Johne’s Management Plan (NJMP).
In 2017 the scheme structure involved the training or more than 1000 veterinarians to be Approved JD Advisors through the British Cattle Vet Association and a campaign through the milk buyers to ensure their farmers had undertaken an annual risk assessment in conjunction with a trained and accredited Johne’s Veterinary Adviser and selected an appropriate control strategy from six possible options. The UK national farm assurance program (Red Tractor) incorporated the NJMP into the dairy farm standards in 2020, effectively making it mandatory to be part of the NJMP, resulting in 95% of all UK dairy farmers now being included in the scheme.
Dr. Pete Orpin, Chair of the Johne’s Technical Action Group has provided the document updating the UK National Johne’s Management Plan and a link to videos describing the UK program and the progress it has made to date.
The UK program has all the same elements found in most national Johne’s disease programs:
- Education of producers and veterinarians.
- Herd risk assessments to identify when and where MAP transmission occurs on the farm.
- Changes to animal husbandry methods to limit MAP transmission.
- Regular application of diagnostic tests to all adults in the herd for many years.
- Consistent actions based on the diagnostic test results.
- Monitoring progress.
What is special about the UK program is that the main costs of implementing the program have been born by the farmers and milk processors, and indirectly by the milk market. There has not been any State involvement.