There have been very few reported cases of Johne’s Disease (JD) in Queensland; the disease is more prevalent in Southern dairy regions.
So many farmers are asking why it is necessary to test at all?
The presence of JD in a herd has a relatively small economic impact but there is no known cure.
Prevention is the most cost-effective way to manage Johne's disease. It is far less expensive to block introducing Johne's disease into a herd than it is to control or eradicate the infection once it creeps in and invisibly starts to spread.
Where JD can affect a farm economically is when it comes to the sale of animals. With the number of dairy dispersals occurring due to the state of the industry, buyers can afford to be picky when it comes to the animals they buy.
Over 100 farms have already been tested for JD under QDO's testing scheme. It is expected that by the June 30 cut-off date 60% of all Queensland dairy farms will be tested. For these farmers, having a good JD score will give a distinct marketing advantage to those farmers looking to sell animals in the future.
Until June 30, there is a period of grace for farms to be tested. If you test and you get a positive result, provided you’ve had no clinical cases, you are a score 4. If you don’t test at all the highest score you can be is a 4.
If you choose not to test before June 30 and later decide having a score higher than 4 does have some value then it will take a minimum of 1 year to move to a score 5, 2 years to move to a 6 and 3 years to achieve a 7 or 8.
Some farmers have been reluctant to commit to testing because of the misconception that their farm could be quarantined if found positive. This is no longer the case. Since 2016 the government no longer quarantines farms with positive results so farmers can choose how to manage the herd.
Torie Harrison – QDO Project Lead Johne’s Testing