The objectives of this study were to evaluate the perceived value that enrolled producers gained from participation in the Voluntary Johne's Disease Herd Status Program (VJDHSP), and to evaluate the risk of infection with Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis (MAP) of cattle reared in a presumed Johne's free environment vs. cattle raised in an environment of unknown Johne's status. Producers enrolled in level 3 or 4 of the VJDHSP (98 and 99% probability, respectively, of being free from MAP infection) were interviewed via telephone. Producers were asked questions pertaining to their participation in the VJDHSP, and asked to identify herds to which they had sold replacement heifers. These cattle were presumed to be uninfected before sale. Fifty-nine cattle (identified as having been purchased into infected herds as heifers) were identified as having been raised in uninfected herds and sold to producers with herds of unknown Johne's disease status. On the purchasing farm, fecal and blood samples were collected from each cow of VJDHSP origin and 3 randomly selected home-reared cows per VJDHSP cow matched by lactation as controls. Samples were tested using commercial ELISA (serum) and bacterial culture (feces). Results indicated that enrolled producers saw value in VJDHSP participation, and that cattle reared in VJDHSP herds were less likely to be infected with MAP than herdmates as measured by serum ELISA MAP antibody and by fecal culture. This study provides evidence of the value of the VJDHSP in providing economic value to participants and supports the promotion of VJDHSP herds as a source of replacement cattle of low infection risk for MAP.
- Johne's disease
- Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis
- Voluntary Johne's Disease Herd Status Program