NML to launch new tool on Johne’s risks

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NML is set to launch a new tool this summer, to be featured on its stand at the Livestock Event, NEC, Birmingham (July 6/7), that will help producers to assess the risks of Johne’s disease infection and spread in their herd.

“While we know that testing is a really important part of Johne’s control, we know that it is definitely not the whole story,” says NMR vet Karen Bond. “Understanding and managing the risks of Johne’s entering a herd – as well as the risks of it spreading once established – are crucial for all producers. And that’s why this new risk assessment tool is set to become an important component in producers’ armoury against this insidious disease.”

The new risk assessment tool uses a questionnaire, which is filled in by the producer and their vet, to pull together information on their current Johne’s management controls.

“Many producers have a plan to control Johne’s, but sometimes the plan is not as robust as they think, or there are important areas missed or protocols not followed,” explains Mrs Bond.

She adds that NML will provide a bureau service and input the questionnaire results into the MyHealthyHerd web program. “A report will then be generated that clearly shows any ‘risk’ areas for Johne’s entry and/or spread in the herd.”

The report highlights the areas of highest risk on the farm, allowing the vet and producer to target these areas to improve management. It also shows the likely outcome of the current management plan, in bar-chart format, by predicting the herd’s future Johne’s disease prevalence.

“If current management is not robust then this ‘prevalence’ chart will show an increase over time,” says Mrs Bond. “On farms with excellent Johne’s control protocols in plan, it will show a decrease in the prevalence of the disease.”

The Johne’s risk assessment tool will be offered, free of charge, to HerdWise customers, adding yet more management value to the existing service. Notification will be sent to all HerdWise customers and their vets about how to access and use the tool. It is available to non Herdwise customers for £30 plus VAT.

“Because this report also fulfils the remit of the National Johne’s Management Plan – ‘know your risks, know your status, and commit to one of the six strategies’ – we also expect this to be popular with milk buyers. They can use the tool to demonstrate the engagement of their producers and show commitment to the National Johne’s Management Plan,” adds Mrs Bond.