Strict deadlines have been set for scheme compliance from milk processors to help catalyse the management of Johne’s disease on UK dairy farms.

The industry strategy seeks to have 95% of the dairy supply in Great Britain brought into the National Johne’s Management Plan (NJMP) by December 2019.

The Action Johne’s Steering Group which includes Dairy UK, NFU, AHDB and BCVA, has agreed that a formal veterinary declaration needs to be signed by the farmer and his/her vet to state that an assessment of Johne's risk and status has been undertaken on each farm in the last 12 months. There must also be a written Johne's management plan in place agreed with the herd owner.

All farmers supplying purchaser members of the scheme will need to have completed the declaration by October 2018.

Lyndon Edwards, chair of the action group on Johne’s, said: “With over 620 vets accredited by the BCVA as trained in Johne’s veterinary advice and over 82% of the GB milk supply pool already within the Action Johne’s initiative, the time is right to set the deadlines for compliance. With the new Red Tractor standards out this month, which also example having a Johne’s plan for infectious disease management, we look forward to helping the industry work together to manage this issue on farm.

“We have seen great steps forward in the awareness of the NJMP so far; we look forward to the continuing engagement and support of the industry. The NJMP plan will help reduce the prevalence on Johne's on farm to provide future sustainability for the producers and the whole supply chain and also provide opportunities for future trade in an increasingly competitive market.”

From November 2019 the level of engagement achieved by purchaser members will be made publicly available on the Action Johne’s website.