Johne’s disease scoring system update.

The scoring system for managing Johne’s disease has been simplified for 2019.  The new plan is called Johne’s Disease Dairy Score.  Queensland dairy farmers will want to make sure they understand the changes.

The 2019 plan has less reliance on calf separation than the 2016 plan that it replaces.  It recognises vaccination as a method of reducing the impacts of Johne’s disease and continues to value the farm biosecurity plan and herd testing.  The new plan also has a new date for ending the transition period for farmers to adopt a score, now of 30 September 2019.

In the context of Johne’s Disease Dairy Score, a farm biosecurity plan should specifically address Johne’s disease risks, and a herd test will ordinarily be a Herd Environmental Culture (HEC) Test on a sample of slurry.

To meet the new transition date of 30 September, sampling for HEC testing will need to be completed by 30 June 2019.

This is a summary of how the changes will affect Queensland dairy farmers:

  • If you have elected to be a Dairy Score of 8 under the 2016 plan, continue your annual discussion and endorsement of your biosecurity plan with your veterinarian, and the deadline for sampling for your first HEC Test is now 30 June 2019.

  • If you chose to have a Dairy Score of 7 under the 2016 plan by doing a HEC Test but without veterinary endorsement of your biosecurity plan, you may either:

o   Upgrade to an 8 by engaging your veterinarian in your biosecurity plan (and ensuring you’ve completed your first HEC Test by 30 September 2019, or

o   Maintain the score 7 if you have already done the HEC Test and have a suitable biosecurity plan.

  • To maintain a Johne’s Disease Dairy Score of 8, you must continue to engage your veterinarian every year in discussion and endorsement of your biosecurity plan, and complete a HEC test with negative results every two years.  If you don’t engage your veterinarian every year in your biosecurity plan, your score will lapse to 7.

  • To maintain a Johne’s Disease Dairy Score of 7, you must continue your biosecurity plan and complete a HEC test with negative results every two years.  If you don’t do a HEC test with negative results every two years, you could do a HEC test every three years and your score would lapse to 6, or do no further HEC tests and your score will lapse to 4.

  • If you chose to manage JD risks under the 2016 plan by only having a biosecurity plan and not by any herd testing, your property was score 3, or score 4 if you had the 3-step calf separation in place for at least 4 years.  In either case, your Johne’s Disease Dairy Score is now 4 under the 2019 plan.

  • Herds which don’t have a biosecurity plan that addresses Johne’s disease risks default to score 0.  Due to the requirements for a farm biosecurity plan by both LPA and most dairy processors, score 0 should not apply to any dairy farm.

  • The score for any property on which there has been a clinical case (scouring and wasting diagnosed as due to JD) in the past 5 years is determined initially by the time since the last clinical case.  The score may then progress through vaccinating and herd testing with negative results.

Further information is available at:

Dairy Australia -

Source: Lawrence Gavey BSc (Hons), BVSc, Grad Cert Bus (Public Sector Mgmt); Principal Veterinarian, Animal Disease Containment, Animal Biosecurity and Welfare, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

Request for participation in JD control survey.

Dr. Paul Burden is a large animal veterinarian having worked in dairy practice in Australia and currently enrolled in the MSc programme at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Calgary, Canada.

He is researching the factors that influence decision making regarding Johne’s disease (JD) control on dairy farms and addresses the benefits and drawbacks of JD control policy, as perceived by Australian dairy farmers.

If you would like to participate in this survey click on the link below.

The objectives are to (a) understand perceived catalysts and barriers to JD control, (b) understand the role of a vaccine in a control strategy, and (c) how the learnings from Australian JD control programs may apply to JD control in Canada.

The survey asks farmers to answer a series of questions regarding dairy farm characteristics, animal health and biosecurity, attitudes and perceptions of the benefits and drawbacks of JD control programs, and some basic demographics. All responses are anonymous and will be aggregated; no individual responses will be identifiable.

If you have any questions or concerns or would like to know more about the study, please don’t hesitate to contact Dr Burden You can also visit the homepage of the bigger project which my research forms a part of at