Cattle producers advised new approach to Johne's disease

Producers are now required to manage Bovine Johne’s Disease under a new approach introduced recently across the country. 

Johnes disease has moved to a less regulated program, following a review of the National Bovine Johne’s Disease Strategic Plan, with the focus now resting on the producer managing the disease through a risk based approach at the farm level.

“The new approach, which has been endorsed by the cattle industry and state governments, sees a removal of zoning on account of Johne’s disease. Known infected properties will no longer be quarantined as a control measure,” said Digby Rayward, district veterinarian. 

“Producers need to consider the risk of bringing Johnes’ disease onto their property when buying or agisting stock.”

Farmers who intend to purchase or agist stock are advised to request a Cattle Health Declaration to determine the suitability of the stock for their needs, and assess the risk that the stock may pose in respect to the disease.

Johne’s disease will still remain notifiable, which means any person who knows or suspects the disease may be present has a legal obligation to notify an inspector under the Stock Diseases Act, such as a Local Land Services District Veterinarian or biosecurity officer.

The disease is an incurable bacterial infection that leads to death of affected cattle, goats and sheep. Clinical signs are seen in adult animals and include watery diarrhoea and weight loss. Affected animals do not respond to treatment.

“This new approach treats Johne’s disease as one of many diseases that producers need to manage by applying good biosecurity practices,” Mr Rayward said.

“The producer is now the cornerstone of this approach which has been developed following extensive consultation with industry, the community and relevant government agencies.”

Animal Health Australia will be developing additional tools and resources in the coming months to allow producers to manage the risk of Johne’s disease.

Further information is available on the Animal Health Australia website at or by contacting the Hunter Local Land Services District Veterinarian team on 1300 795 299.

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