IRELAND - The Johne's Disease pilot control programme will expand to include more farms in Ireland, after the provision of more cash from the government.
The money goes towards on-farm risk assessments, which are carried out by the veterinary practitioner in partnership with the herdowner.
The assessment examines five elements of farm management: animal movement history, calf management, heifer management, cow management and management of the calving cow.
Having identified the on-farm risks, the veterinary practitioner and farmer agree a number of practicable management changes with a view to mitigation of those risks identified.
The results from the early period of the pilot programme in late 2013/2014 demonstrated the value of the risk assessment element of the programme.
The new funding available for the programme totals €260,000, and help to pay for a further on-farm risk assessment of up to 1,700 farmers already participating in the programme, as well as extending it to provide risk assessments for to 300 new entrants.
The Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney said: “The ultimate aim of this pilot programme is to establish a voluntary national programme for Johne’s Disease which enables participating herd owners to demonstrate the absence of this disease from the majority of herds and, where disease is found to provide a programme that will control and ultimately remove the disease from that farm, thus underpinning the quality of Irish dairy produce in the market place”.
He added: “the work being undertaken as part of this final phase of this pilot initiative will guide the future Irish Johne’s Disease programme."
It is anticipated that funding under the Rural Development Plan’s Target Advisory Service will provide ongoing support at farm level in future years.
In conclusion Mr Coveney said: “It is an exciting time for the dairy sector with the milk quota shackles removed after 31 years and initiatives like this are critical in terms of expanding dairy exports in the years ahead.”
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