2013-03-08 xml
Exploring the Lessons of Johne’s Disease in Cattle

A series of spring and summer events for livestock farmers has been planned to inform and update farmers on the progress of a research project on Johne’s Disease (paratuberculosis) in Scottish cattle.

The PARABAN project, now in its final year, and has worked with “champion farmers” and their vets who have helped explain their progress with what is a complicated and difficult disease.


photo © Farm Images

The latest series of PARABAN events will again take place in collaboration with these local farms and address issues directly related to either dairy or beef herds.

Since the project began in 2010, researchers from Scotland’s Rural College, the University of Edinburgh, University of Glasgow, and the James Hutton Institute have worked with farmers and their vets to identify the best way to control paratuberculosis (Johne’s disease) in Scottish conditions. The PARABAN farmers’ meetings have offered an informal forum allowing farmers, vets and researchers to openly discuss the challenges of Johne’s.

Johne’s disease affects the cow’s digestive system and can lead to severe weight loss and diarrhoea. Infected cows may show poor performance and infertility problems. Not all infected animals appear ill however; ‘sub-clinically’ affected cows are capable of silently infecting other cattle whilst showing no obvious signs of disease themselves.

The forthcoming series of events will help farmers understand how to test for and control Johne’s and highlight the benefits of having a control strategy in place. The meetings will will focus on the conclusions that can be drawn from two years of intensive testing of blood and faeces from cattle, abattoir sampling and analysis of the environment around farms. Farmers will hear how this intensive research programme has built a picture of Johne’s disease on the 9 champion farms at the core of the project and given us a greater understanding of how the disease exists in Scotland.

It is hoped the audience will also use the opportunity to discuss the impact of Johne’s on their own businesses, to offer their own ideas and quiz the expert panel about controlling the disease.

The meetings will take place on or near the Champion farms.

March 12th – Flotterstone Inn, near Penicuik (beef)
March 27th – Brechin (dairy)
April 9th – Dalston, Carlisle (dairy)
April 30th – Torr Farm, Castle Douglas (dairy)
16th May – Dulnain Bridge, Grantown on Spey (beef)
22nd May – Humbie, East Lothian (beef)
7th June – New Cumnock, Ayrshire (beef)


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