Johne’s disease (JD) is a chronic, production-limiting disease of ruminants.
Control programs aiming to minimize the effects of the disease on the dairy
industry have been launched in many countries, including Canada. Those
programs commonly focus on strict hygiene and management improvement, often
combined with various testing methods. Concurrently, organic dairy farming has
been increasing in popularity. Because organic farming promotes traditional
management practices, it has been proposed that organic dairy production
regulations might interfere with implementation of JD control strategies.
However, it is currently unclear how organic farming would change the risk for
JD control. This review presents a brief introduction to organic dairy farming
in Canada, JD, and the Canadian JD control programs. Subsequently, organic
practices are described and hypotheses of their effects on JD transmission are
developed. Empirical research is needed, not only to provide scientific
evidence for organic producers, but also for smaller conventional farms
employing organic-like management practices.