DEAR SIR: I read with interest the article on page 30 of the Irish Farmers Journal dated 28 August 2021. The article says there has been a relatively small uptake of the Johne’s testing programme launched in 2018. It goes on to say that nearly all the cost involved in testing is covered in the first year “milk and blood sampling,” stating that the same costs are incurred the next year if the herd tests positive. If the herd tests negative, the cost of testing milk is 75% covered and 25% covered per year after.

My issue is that if it becomes mandatory like our BVD eradication scheme, when are farmers going to be finished testing and at what cost? As a farmer who has been testing for BVD for several years and never had a positive case, spent a lot of time and money taking ear notch samples and having to post them, I’m very disappointed with AHI and the Department of Agriculture’s handling of the BVD eradication scheme, as I’m sure are many farmers who don’t have BVD and are having to continue testing annually. I think the reluctance to enter the Johne’s testing programme is down to cost, extra workload and the lack of benefit for most farmers.