Evaluation of the Johne's disease risk assessment and management plan on dairy farms in Ontario, Canada

Laura Pieper, Ulrike S. Sorge, Trevor J. DeVries, Ann Godkin, Kerry Lissemore, David F. Kelton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Johne's disease (JD) is a production-limiting gastrointestinal disease in cattle. To minimize the effects of JD, the Ontario dairy industry launched the Ontario Johne's Education and Management Assistance Program in 2010. As part of the program, trained veterinarians conducted a risk assessment and management plan (RAMP), an on-farm questionnaire where high RAMP scores are associated with high risk of JD transmission. Subsequently, veterinarians recommended farm-specific management practices for JD prevention. Milk or serum ELISA results from the milking herd were used to determine the herd ELISA status (HES) and within-herd prevalence. After 3.5 yr of implementation of the program, the aim of this study was to evaluate the associations among RAMP scores, HES, and recommendations. Data from 2,103 herds were available for the analyses. A zero-inflated negative binomial model for the prediction of the number of ELISA-positive animals per farm was built. The model included individual RAMP questions about purchasing animals in the logistic portion, indicating risks for between-herd transmission, and purchasing bulls, birth of calves outside the designated calving area, colostrum and milk feeding management, and adult cow environmental hygiene in the negative binomial portion, indicating risk factors for within-herd transmission. However, farms which fed low-risk milk compared with milk replacer had fewer seropositive animals. The model additionally included the JD herd history in the negative binomial and the logistic portion, indicating that herds with a JD herd history were more likely to have at least 1 positive animal and to have a higher number of positive animals. Generally, a positive association was noted between RAMP scores and the odds of receiving a recommendation for the respective risk area; however, the relationship was not always linear. For general JD risk and calving area risk, seropositive herds had higher odds of receiving recommendations compared with seronegative herds if the section scores were low. This study suggests that the RAMP is a valuable tool to assess the risk for JD transmission within and between herds and to determine farm-specific recommendations for JD prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number73815
Pages (from-to)6792-6800
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was kindly funded by the University of Guelph-Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAF) research partnership . The authors sincerely thank Nicole Perkins and Jamie Imada (University of Guelph) for their work and dedication to the OJEMAP. Nicole Perkins coordinated the OJEMAP and Jamie Imada coded all recommendations into numerical codes. Without their help, it would have been difficult to conduct the program smoothly and successfully.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 American Dairy Science Association.


  • Control program
  • Evaluation
  • Paratuberculosis
  • Risk assessment


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