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A Review of MLA-funded research into Johne's Disease in Australia

From 1 July 1999 until 1 March 2016, MLA will have invested approximately $21.5 million in 46 research projects on ovine Johne's disease (OJD) and, to a lesser extent, bovine Johne's disease (BJD). These research projects have investigated the epidemiology, economic impact and pathogenesis of the disease; control and management options; and new diagnostic tests. Half of the research investment has been resourced from matching R&D dollars from the Commonwealth Government. The balance of the research investment has been made from MLA producer levies, levy reserves held by Animal Health Australia and through cash contributions from private enterprise. The last two of these investment streams have been made through the MLA Donor Company.

In 2006, MLA's investment in OJD research as part of the National OJD Control and Evaluation Program 1998-2004 was analysed by Agtrans Research. Based on the assumptions made, the investment returns were positive, with a net present value of $18.7 million at a 5 per cent discount rate, a benefit-cost ratio of 1.8 to 1 and an internal rate of return of just less than 14 per cent. In his report, Dr Chudleigh concluded:

"There is no question that the results of the R&D investment provided valuable direction to all concerned and that the vaccine and grazing management technologies that were developed have given sheep producers options for management that they would not have had without the R&D investment. These management tools also underpinned the policy developments that have been made in the area of risk management and reduced regulation."

In 2014, MLA decided it would be advantageous to analyse its JD research investments further so as to determine whether additional research investment is justifiable, and, if so, which research should receive priority investment.

This report provides an ex-post review of MLA's JD research investments between 1998 and 2015 and attempts to identify knowledge gaps that warrant further research investment. Our terms of reference were to review the body of on-farm MLA-funded JD research 1998 to 2015, drawing conclusions as to the:

  1. Significant JD knowledge gaps when the research started.
  2. Scientific significance of MLA-funded research discoveries to date.
  3. Degree of adoption/implementation of completed R&D deliverables; their impact on practices (both in laboratories and on-farm).
  4. Time to market of proposed R&D deliverables from current projects.
  5. Significant remaining JD knowledge gaps, their researchability (likelihood of achievement) and potential industry impact.

As a MLA-directed component of this review, opinion was sought from Cattle Council of Australia, Sheepmeat Council of Australia and Animal Health Australia as to their respective stakeholders' views about the body of research into OJD and BJD that MLA has funded since 1998.

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862.5KB 31/07/2015

This page was last updated on 24/07/2017

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