New Priority Cull Report will be a key feature in Johne's control autumn message

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A new Priority Cull Report to improve Johne’s disease management in dairy herds will be the focus of a series of Johne’s masterclasses for vets this autumn. Developed by the Action Group on Johne’s, this report is included in NMR’s Johne’s screening service HerdWise from October 1, 2022.

“We are highlighting the importance of identifying the right cows to cull among those infected with the Johne’s-causing bacteria Mycobacterium Avium subspecies paratuberculosis – commonly known as MAP,” says NMR vet Karen Bond, who is a key speaker at the series of 10 vet meetings. She joins vet and Johne’s disease consultant Peter Orpin and director of PAN Livestock Service James Hanks.

“We classify infected cows with repeated test results above 30 as ‘red’ cows, but the range above this can be extensive with some cows having much higher test results and a lot further on in the progression of disease than others,” says Mrs Bond. “These cows present more of a risk of transmission and the infection will have a much greater impact on their performance.”

The Priority Cull Report will list cows with two consecutive results above 60 and/or one result above 100. “These cows are ‘losing control’ of the disease and are likely to be shedding large amounts MAP,” she adds. “They are the highest risk animals in the herd and the ones that should be prioritised for culling.

“We’re highlighting these new reports and the rationale behind them at the vet meetings and encouraging vets to incorporate them as part of their Johne’s disease management plans on farm.”

Many retailers have been encouraging producers to remove all ‘red’ cows from their herd. The new Priority Cull measure will allow, with the backing of their retailer and milk contract, producers and vets to focus culling decisions on those cows that pose the highest risk to their herd.

The Johne’s Masterclasses for vets are organised by NMR with support from the Action Group on Johne’s, milk processors and retailers. They will look at new UK data on the economics of Johne’s and on the use of the Average Test Value (ATV) and Johne’s Progress Tracker to improve outcomes on farm.

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