Scottish bodies tackle Johne’s disease in cattle

Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and the Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP) Skills Development Scheme will run a series of workshops for farmers on the best practice to avoid the spread of Johne’s disease in cattle.

Johne’s disease or paratuberculosis causes the progressive loss of body weight of cattle and is widespread in cattle throughout Britain. Farm manager George Rae, who farms a 200 Aberdeen Angus suckler herd, has seen a reduction of the disease on his Speyside farm as a result of a long-term strategy that was put in place. The cattle were screened regularly for the disease, meaning Rae was able to cull the diseased cattle early enough to prevent the spread through the herd. Rae will also feature as part of the workshops.

“Removing blood positives from the herd is one of the main ways for George to combat the spread of the disease. As this is an open herd, he strives to source replacements from herds with no known history of Johne’s to minimise the risk of buying in cows with the disease,” said epidemiologist Dr Selene Huntley, who is helping to co-ordinate the workshops.

The workshops, which began on Monday (26 May 2014), will also highlight the importance of a clean water source for cattle.

The workshops will involve SRUC, Glasgow University, Edinburgh University and the James Hutton Institute.

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