Utah Johne�s Report - June, 2004

Earl Rogers, D.V.M.
Assistant State Veterinarian

There are an estimated 320 commercial dairy herds in the state. Over the last 5 years we have had 63 herds perform Risk Assessments and Management plans as part of the Johne's module of the Utah Cattle Health Assurance Program (UCHAP). An additional 80+ herds participated in a Utah State University research sponsored testing program. During the current year we have had 22 new herds do Risk Assessments and Management Plans. A total of 16 of those new herds have done testing this year and 8 of those herds found no positive animals. Of the herds with positive test results, 3 were confirmed by culture or PCR. There have been 1176 animals tested during the current year. Most of the old participant herds had done testing previously.

We have trained approximately 40 veterinarians during the current year to do Risk Assessments and Management plans. Utah Department of Agriculture Veterinarians have attended statewide dairy meetings to encourage participation in the program. At least 3 have completed the online training provided by Wisconsin. Several veterinarians have attended the workshops and training given by the Johne's Disease Working Group and USDA-APHIS at San Diego, California, Madison, Wisconsin, and Salt Lake City, Utah at the NIAA meeting.

Federal funding of over $80,000 has allowed us to pay for veterinary consultation in the form of herd Risk Assessments and development of herd Management Plans based on those Risk Assessments.

We have covered the cost of sample collection and laboratory testing of nearly 1200 animals in participating herds. We have also purchased equipment and supplies for the lab to conduct this testing and to bring PCR testing capabilities to the lab.

It seems to me that a high percentage of our Utah herds have at least done some level of Johne's Disease risk assessment or testing. I think this success should be celebrated. Some of our herds are beginning to take a closer look at replacement heifers from a Johne's Disease perspective. I think there can be a huge impact on herd health, food safety, and environmental stewardship as farms begin to look at manure management issues. Our challenge is to involve these farms in ongoing management improvements and not be satisfied with a onetime look at the problem. Annual herd assessments and continued implementation of their management plans are important.

Another challenge is to encourage more veterinarians to actively promote the program to their clients. Thanks to the foresight and efforts of the Johne's Disease Advisory Committee, we are fortunate to have federal funding to help with this program. It appears that the Johne's Disease program will be a national program for the foreseeable future. The level of funding in each state will depend on the level of participation by the dairy and beef industries. It behooves us to take advantage of this valuable resource. ©