Johne’s Beef Assurance Score (J-BAS)

What is JD ?

Johne’s disease, or JD for short, is a bacterial infection that causes the intestinal wall to become thickened. The thickening of the intestinal lining makes it difficult for nutrients from food to be absorbed, which causes chronic wasting in affected animals. The major clinical symptoms of JD are chronic wasting, poor condition, ill thrift and diarrhoea.

  • JD is spread when the animal sheds the bacteria and excretes it in faeces. JD can remain in manure for six weeks and remain in some environments for up to 12 months.
  • JD is a slow developing condition that often infects cattle within the first three months of life, generally as calves sucking whereby they ingest faecal matter. Animals can also become infected later in life, though this is less common
  • JD may stay dormant in the animal for several years without causing symptoms. Affected animals may intermittently shed the bacteria making it difficult to test for.

Due to the complex nature of JD the best line of defence is prevention. Producers are encouraged to make sound decisions in terms of future purchases to prevent the disease from establishing in their herds.

What is J-BAS?

The Johne’s Beef Assurance Score is a voluntary, market driven framework for self-assessment. As JD is no longer regulated by the most state and territory governments, J-BAS has been developed to assist producers in making informed choices as to the risk of JD occurring in a herd.

J-BAS comes in to full effect on 1 July 2017 following 12 months of transitional arrangements which saw previous CattleMAP, Free Zone, Protected Zone and Management Zone beef herds given a score of either 7 or 8.

Producers who held a score of J-BAS 7 or 8 during the transition period must implement a biosecurity plan, overseen by a veterinarian, by 30 June 2017 or have their score drop to J-BAS 6.

Most states have moved to deregulate JD largely at the request of industry. The Northern Territory and Western Australia maintain specific entry requirements based on a high level of assurance and regular testing.

View Animal Health Australia’s JD Frequently Asked Questions


State- and Territory-specific fact sheets

Western Australia – J-BAS and what it means for WA producers

Northern Territory – National Johne’s disease program

Queensland – J-BAS in Queensland