Reacting to Johne's on Farm

Addressing attendees at a recent Johne's meeting, Andrew Mycock from Rusty Farming Limited in the UK, shared his experiences in controlling Johne's on his farm. Charlotte Johnston, TheCattleSite editor reports.
calendar icon 14 October 2012
clock icon 2 minute read

Mr Mycock milks 330 cows, producing 2.75 million litres of milk per annum. He first became aware of Johne's around 10 years ago. Although he hadn't had any cows testing, he saw cow falling ill and not responding to medication.

It wasn't until 2004 when Mr Mycock started annually blood testing for Johne's. Initially he would see two or three cows come back positive.

Having seen daily yields drop from 28 litres a day to 24 litres a day, Mr Mycock tested for IBR in the milk, although results came back negative. When milk testing for Johne's became available in 2008 the farm began to use this testing method, testing three monthly.

In December 2009, a test came back showing 25 per cent of the farm's heifers were infected.

Mr Mycock said that he immediately invested in a dairy tech pasteuriser, which would pasteurise all colostrum and milk fed to calves.

Colostrum is frozen, pasteurised and three litres are fed to heifer calves in two feeds.

After this calves are moved to individual hutches and fed 2.5 litres of pasteurised milk twice a day. When short of milk, Mr Mycock says that this is supplemented with milk powder, but felt that calves didn't perform as well.

In older cows, Johne's red cows are culled immediately, unless they are in calf. In which case they would be given a purple ear tag and culled immediately post calving.

Mr Mycock says that all cows calf in the same pen, although industry experts recommend that red cows calf in a separate pen as they are highly infectious and this is when most calves will pick up infection - at calving.

Mr Mycock explained that the layout of his system and limited space made this hard to do.

Since introducing a Johne's control programme on farm, Mr Mycock said that he had seen a reduction in prevalence on farm. His most recent results show slightly more J4 cows than usual (J5 is a red cow, with J1 being minimal risk), but he said that due to the poor weather this summer the herd had been under increased pressure.

Mr Mycock hopes that continuation with the programme will see further improvements in the Johne's status of his herd.

October 2012
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