Australian Johne's disease Market Assurance Program for Cattle (CattleMAP)
Series: Agnote DAI-330 Edition: First edition Last updated: 08 Feb 2005
The CattleMAP is a national, voluntary Market Assurance Program that was developed in response to industry demands to give a high level of assurance that participating herds are free of bovine Johne’s disease (BJD). CattleMAP herds must operate according to agreed national guidelines, and must have a management plan in place to minimise the risk of introducing BJD. Management plans for each individual herd are worked out and agreed to by the herd owner or manager in consultation with an authorised veterinarian (see below). The fact that the scheme is externally audited by trained auditors appointed by Animal Health Australia adds further to the credibility of the program.
CattleMAP herds should therefore be your first preference when seeking replacement breeders, especially if you are operating in a Control Zone, because stock from a CattleMAP herd have a much lower risk of introducing Johne’s disease to your herd.
Why should I buy from a CattleMAP herd?
You don’t want Johne’s disease on your farm! Johne’s disease is a chronic, incurable bowel infection that causes wasting, emaciation, reduced milk production and eventual death. Affected cattle may actually eat more, despite losing weight, thus wasting your valuable feed resource.
If BJD is introduced to your herd, you may not recognise its presence for quite some time, as it is a disease that develops very slowly. By the time you realise it is present, it will be a very long and slow process to eradicate it. This is because the current tests available usually only detect animals that have started shedding the BJD bacteria, and stock may incubate the disease for several years before they start shedding.
A vendor declaration is of limited value on its own, especially if you are buying dairy stock (BJD has a much higher incidence in dairy cattle), or operating in a Control Zone. An owner could quite conceivably sign a vendor declaration in good faith, declaring that ‘BJD is not known or suspected to occur in this herd’, because the owner genuinely does not realise their herd has the disease.
While zoning provides some assurance, a herd that has been repeatedly tested under CattleMAP is a more reliable source of breeders than an untested herd in a Protected Zone.
The CattleMAP does not guarantee that a herd is free of BJD, but the higher the status the herd achieves (depending on the number of whole-herd tests undergone), the greater the assurance that it is not infected.
What are the requirements of CattleMAP?
- All animals must have reliable identification.
- All animals over 2 years of age, or in larger herds a specific percentage of those animals, must undergo a blood test.
- If only a sample is tested, that sample is biased towards those animals most likely to have BJD, that is, older animals and those in poor condition.
- Any ‘reactors’ to the blood test must be followed up by further tests to ensure that the animals are not infected.
- There must be an approved prevention plan for keeping out the disease (this will consider fences, introductions, calf rearing etc.).
- All stock movements onto and off the property must be recorded.
- Specific rules apply for the introduction of stock.
- Any cases of sickness must be reported and investigated, especially those cases that might appear to be Johne’s disease.
- Comply with the requirements of an annual audit conducted by your CattleMAP vet, and occasional external audit requirements.
Levels of assurance for BJD freedom
When a herd is assessed as negative for BJD at the first screening test, the herd status allocated is ‘Monitored Negative’ (MN). Depending on how long the herd has participated in the program, and the length of time between tests, the status allocated may be MN1, MN2 or MN3, with MN3 being the highest level of assurance.
Untested stock from a Protected Zone are regarded as having a status equivalent to MN1 for movement purposes.
Should I enrol my herd in the CattleMAP?
All owners of cattle studs should certainly consider enrolling their herd in the CattleMAP; it may be an advantage for some commercial herds as well. Joining the CattleMAP is particularly important if your herd is a cattle stud located in a Control Zone.
If you are supplying stock to others on a regular basis, and your reputation depends on the quality and health of that stock, you need to be sure that your herd does not have this disease. Being part of the CattleMAP should give you an advantage over non-accredited herds, since your clients can be more confident that your stock is BJD free.
Before making a decision to join the CattleMAP, you need to consider the potential consequences for all cattle movements to and from your property:
- Are those you trade with in the CattleMAP or not? For example, joining the CattleMAP will prevent you introducing a large number of stock from herds with a lower MN status than your herd. However, some introductions from herds that are one status lower are permitted, provided these introductions do not constitute more than 5% of your herd. On the other hand, perhaps you can no longer trade with someone who is accredited because your herd is not accredited, and it would be an advantage to achieve MN status.
- Do you send stock away on agistment, or accept stock onto your property on agistment? CattleMAP stock must not be exposed to stock of lower status, or to land on which lower-status stock have run in the last 12 months.
- What are the requirements, in relation to BJD, for any shows and sales you may wish to attend?
- Do you have a good record keeping system, well maintained fences and the high level of management skills needed to conform with CattleMAP requirements?
If you are considering joining the CattleMAP, you will need to discuss the implications for your herd with an approved veterinarian. Ask your veterinarian if he or she is approved for CattleMAP. Many registered veterinarians listed on the AHA website database are trained and approved for the CattleMAP. If the name of your vet is not listed on the database, check with NSW Department of Primary Industries for the list registered directly by the Chief Veterinary Officer.
Goulburn NSW 2580
Phone: (02) 4828 6628
Discuss the costs of testing. In the past there were funds available from the Cattle Compensation Fund for reimbursing owners for most of the costs of the first round of testing and some of the costs of later testing. However, these will have run out by 31 January 2005. It would be advisable to check with NSW DPI before commencing any testing. There may be additional costs relating to the administration and auditing of the program.
If your herd has previously been infected, the Chief Veterinary Officer must outline the steps needed for your herd to enter the CattleMAP. Check what is needed in your particular case with the District Veterinarian at your Rural Lands Protection Board.
How do I proceed if I decide to join the CattleMAP?
- Contact a CattleMAP-approved vet in your area and arrange a property inspection to assess the risk of infection entering from outside, and plan appropriate action to avoid this.
- Work out a property management plan and sign the standard agreement with your veterinarian. This outlines your responsibilities to each other in jointly running the program.
- In plenty of time before your main sale period, arrange testing of the required number of cattle aged over 2 years. False positive reactions do occasionally occur, and you need to allow time for the cause of any reactions to be resolved.
- All being well, a certificate will be issued showing your current status in the CattleMAP. The certificate is renewed annually.
- Check that your herd is named on the public list of herds in the CattleMAP.
- For the future benefit of the industry, encourage other producers to have their herds assessed.
Advancing CattleMAP status
- In a Control Zone, once all requirements of CattleMAP are complied with, a herd is given the status MN1 after the first negative sample test. The sample size required for the test varies with the size of the herd, up to a maximum of 300 head for large herds. MN2 and MN3 status can be achieved following further negative sample tests at a minimum of 2-year intervals.
- In a Protected Zone, a ‘Non-Assessed’ herd is considered equivalent to MN1, and so becomes MN2 after the initial CattleMAP herd test, then MN3 after a second test 2 years later.
- Once MN3 status is attained, further testing need only be done every 3 years to maintain that status.
If producers do not wish to progress herd status, a maintenance test can be performed on just 50 of the older animals and any introduced animals, so that the test is biased towards animals most likely to be infected. This option would mainly be taken by producers when they are comfortable trading with clients at their herd’s current level of assurance, and do not wish to progress herd status further because this may limit their trading options.
|Assurance level||How achieved||Relative merit|
|Monitored negative 1 (MN1)||One negative test of herd, and a herd management plan in place.||Moderate assurance level, equivalent to the status of untested herds in a Protected Zone.|
|Monitored negative 2 (MN2)||Two negative tests of herd over a period of at least 2 years, plus a herd management plan in place.||High assurance level.|
|Monitored negative 3 (MN3)||Three negative tests of herd over 4 years, plus a herd management plan in place.||Highest assessed BJD assurance level, equivalent to a herd in a Free Zone.|
The CattleMAP Manual is currently being revised, and should be available in early 2005. It is expected that it will cost $30.
For further information about CattleMAP contact:
- your veterinary practitioner;
- your local Rural Lands Protection Board; or
- NSW Department of Primary Industries.
This Agnote is based on an earlier Agnote (DAI-96) written by Tim Jessep, former Technical Specialist BJD, Goulburn.
Author: Belinda Walker, Yuni Yunamu