Johne's Disease Management


JD is a serious wasting disease that affects various species of animals. In Australia, JD has been found in cattle, sheep, goats, deer and camelids.

JD infections are caused by the bacterium, Mycobacterium paratuberculosis, which live mainly in animal intestines, but can survive in the outside environment for several months.

JD bacteria affect animals by causing a thickening of the intestinal wall resulting in a reduction in the normal absorption of food. The infected animal is hungry and eats, but cannot absorb any nutrients. This results in wasting and finally death. Diarrhoea and bottle jaw are also common signs in cattle.

A number of strains of M. paratuberculosis have been identified and it is recognised that they are all capable of infecting a number of ruminant species.



Cattle producers across Australia are being urged to implement an on-farm biosecurity plan by 30 June 2017 in order to take up the Johne’s Beef Assurance Score (J-BAS) or maintain their current score.

A biosecurity plan is the first line of defence for producers in ensuring their property is not only free of Johne’s Disease (JD) but all endemic and exotic diseases and pests

 With the end of the transitional period approaching, Western Australia will continue to require a J-BAS of 8 for any cattle entering the state from south eastern states (J-BAS of 7 from Queensland herds), while the Northern Territory will require a score of 6.

The remaining states and territories have overturned their JD regulations in favour of a market-driven approach which prioritises on-farm biosecurity.

In order to maintain a J-BAS 7 or 8 producers must implement a biosecurity plan, overseen by a veterinary advisor, by 30 June 2017 and complete their first triennial Check Test within 12 months. A documented biosecurity plan, overseen by a veterinarian, reduces the risk of JD entering the property or spreading to other herds.

To help facilitate better understanding of the changes to Johne’s Disease management in Australia, the North Coast Local Land Services has compiled the following list of online resources. The links below provide an overview of the current available information regarding the industry-driven changes to Johne’s management and the development of farm biosecurity plans.

Video Link: 

Useful information links:






- National Cattle Health Declaration

- Farm Biosecurity Action Planner 

- Johne’s Beef Assurance Score

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