Johne’s Research at Peel Forest Estate
Peel Forest Estate had a problem with Johne’s in 2001 and withdrew from the marketing of breeding sires. Having imported several purebred bloodlines for the benefit of the deer industry, we decided they were too important to lose. We therefore called in the expertise of Professor Frank Griffin, Head of the Microbiology Department at the University of Otago, to help us fight the disease.
With access to our comprehensive files on pedigrees of our herd and the fate of the animals over 10 years, together with extensive annual blood testing, Frank has been able to determine the susceptibility/resilience to Johne’s between our breeds and bloodlines. Also trials carried out by Dr Colin Mackintosh of AgResearch have established that susceptibility or resilience to Johne’s is very heritable. Peel Forest Estate stag were able to clear themselves of the disease with which they had been deliberately infected. This was in marked contrast to progeny from a susceptible sire where the majority developed uncontrolled disease.
All stock at Peel Forest Estate have been and are continually being challenged by Johne’s, which has resulted in radical test-cull, natural and genetic selection for Johne’s resilience. The heritability of the Johne’s resilient trait ensures their ability to fight the disease on client’s properties.