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Learning the Lessons of Cattle Disease Control – Farmers’ Meeting

Published Wednesday, 28th November 2012 in Veterinary Services news

Researchers seeking to improve the control of Johne’s disease in Scotland will be holding a joint meeting and discussion for farmers with the regular monitor farm network on Wednesday 5th December.

It will be held at Lieurary Hall in Thurso and all regional farmers, vets and other interested parties are warmly invited to attend this event.

Johne’s disease affects the cow’s digestive system and can lead to severe weight loss and diarrhoea, infected cows may also show poor performance and infertility problems. Not all infected animals appear ill however; ‘sub-clinically’ affected cows are capable of infecting others while showing no obvious signs of disease themselves, as such Johne’s disease can be a very frustrating disease to detect and control.

This event is part of a series being held by PARABAN across Scotland which offer farmers, vets, researchers and other industry partners the chance to exchange ideas and hear the latest research. The five year PARABAN project involves research and industry collaborators and is funded by the Scottish Funding Council, in partnership with the Scottish Government. Johnny Mackenzie and partner Lorna Begg at Westfield farm are part of a group of champion farmers from across Scotland involved in the study. The participation of farmers and their vets provide a practical perspective, while studies on the farms are helping shed light on why the bacteria that cause the disease survive so well in Scotland’s cool wet climate, and whether routine screening in the abattoir would help monitor disease in the herd.

The PARABAN project is led by SRUC (Scotland’s Rural College, formerly SAC) and involves vets and scientists from the University of Edinburgh, Glasgow University, the James Hutton Institute as well as industry partners headed by QMS (Quality Meat Scotland) along with retailers and processors.

The meeting will start at 11.00 am and will be introduced by Willie Budge, SAC Consulting.  In addition to presentations describing Westfield farm’s involvement in the project, there will be a farm walk and an opportunity to quiz researchers and vets on any aspect of the disease.

To assist with catering arrangements, those planning to attend are asked to inform Willie Budge on 01847 892602 or email him on

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