The Shropshire-based dairy herd belonging to Tim and Louise Downes has been awarded the 2017 HerdWise Best Practice award for Johne’s Control. Runners up were Andrew Harrison and Vicky Harrison-King for ACF Drax, from Millers Dairy at Wareham in Dorset.
The awards were presented at the NMR/RABDF Gold Cup open day at Pilsdon Dairy Farm, at Bridport in Dorset, today (June 28, 2017) by chairman of the National Johne's Action Group Lyndon Edwards. He judged the competition alongside NMR vet Karen Bond.
The award, now in its third year, is made to the herd demonstrating best practice Johne’s disease control. Judges were impressed with Tim and Louise Downes’ very strict protocols on Johne’s disease control in their 400-cow cross-bred organic herd. These are concentrated over a short calving period in spring, where routines must be followed rigorously within very busy workloads.
Johne’s is also carefully managed in ACF Drax farm’s 280 Holstein Friesian cows. Offspring from cows with positive Johne’s test results are carefully identified with tags and heifers that test negative for Johne’s are bred to sexed semen.
Certificates were awarded to two further finalists – Steve and Carolyn Cope from Shropshire and Somerset-based producer Dan Britten.
As winners, Tim and Louise Downes received the HerdWise Silver Salver and a HerdWise voucher for £500 plus a luxury hamper. Runner-up ACF Drax received a £250 HerdWise voucher.
“We’ve developed the HerdWise award to highlight herds that have adopted comprehensive management protocols, specific to their requirements, to control Johne’s disease,” says Karen Bond.
“All this year’s finalists are being very proactive in controlling Johne’s disease in their herds and through entering the competition they have been prepared to demonstrate their efforts. This helps to raise the awareness of the disease and shows that, with producer commitment and good veterinary support, the disease can be managed successfully on farm.”
This annual award is open to all NMR customers who use the CHeCS-accredited quarterly milk screening service HerdWise. Routinely collected individual cow milk samples used for recording are also used in the HerdWise service to identify any infected cows. The results are an essential first stage for producers and their vets in their Johne's disease management programme.