‘3-year’ BVD programme now enters 7th year – ICSA

It has been outlined that farmers are now in the seventh year of “what was sold as a three-year Bovine viral diarrhea (BVD) programme”.

The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association’s (ICSA’s) animal health and welfare chairman Hugh Farrell has said: “The programme has gone on far too long and farmers are fed up paying for it.”

Farrell noted that “farmers never agreed to never-ending BVD testing”. He has insisted the BVD eradication programme “must be wound down”.

Farmers have done more than their fair share on BVD; it’s time for the Department of Agriculture to ramp up their efforts in a final push to ensure 2019 is the last year of testing.

Farrell believes that this push must include increasing compensation to the order of €400 per persistently infected (PI) calf from beef herds.

Compensation should always have been in line with TB rates from the start.

If there had been adequate compensation from day one, PI calves would have been moved off farms faster which would have sped up the whole process.

“In addition, starting from now, all herds that are 12 months or more negative for BVD should be exempted from any further testing.”

Concluding, Farrell said: “Farmers never agreed to test indefinitely and the expense of on-going BVD testing is something that can’t be sustained any longer, especially for low income farmers.”