Beef cattle producers may think that Johne’s Disease is not a significant disease threat, but Joe Woltanski, USDA APHIS veterinarian in Michigan, says that’s not the case. 

“Johne’s, like any other chronic infection, will nickel, dime and dollar you to death,” he says. “Losses come from decreased growth/production, increased culls at earlier ages and lighter weights, decreased sales, and possibly increased restrictions, especially in interstate and international movement.” Although Johne’s has no human-health link, there is a perception by some that there is.

The best way to combat Johne’s is to keep it out of your herd. Dr. Woltanski says you can do this by closing your herd completely. Also, control visitors, especially any potential for manure contamination  —  boots, vehicle tires, feed, water, colostrums and milk sources. When bringing in replacements, purchase animals only from low-risk herds that have tested animals. It’s also good to pre- and post-test herd additions, he says.

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