Ireland is aiming to secure a status of being free of bovine viral diarrhea (BVD) by January 1, 2023.

In order to pursue that, the government has recently submitted an application for approval to the European Commission for its current BVD Eradication Programme.

Agriland understands that the commission has now granted approval for this plan.

It is also understood that, with the plan approved, Ireland will be in a position to obtain BVD status by January 2023.

Ireland does not necessarily need to have zero cases of BVD to be free of the disease. A threshold incidence rate is used to determine status, and Ireland will have to be within this threshold and remain within it to achieve and retain free status.

This threshold requires 99.8% of establishments representing 99.9% of the bovine population to be free of BVD at any given time.

This figure refers to the whole national herd, and not just calves.

If this threshold is applied to the current number of herds in Ireland, the maximum number of herds that can have a case or cases of BVD for Ireland to be considered free of the disease would be between 200 and 300 at any one time.

For that reason, ongoing monitoring of the BVD situation after January 1 would be required to ensure the country’s incidence rate is still within the threshold.

The January 1, 2023 date would mark 10 years exactly since the mandatory, full onset of the BVD Eradication Programme, on January 1, 2013.

The BVD Eradication Programme was developed by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Animal Health Ireland (AHI); and the industry stakeholder BVD Implementation Group.

BVD in Northern Ireland

In other BVD-related news, parts of Co. Armagh are on an alert for the disease.

This follows an upsurge of cases on farms close to Markethill, Keady and Killylea recently.

Over 70 initial positive results have been returned in six herds in the area after ear tagging of calves this year.

Farmers there are being urged to take steps to prevent livestock contacting neighbouring cattle at boundaries, as the virus may be circulating in herds and thus present a risk.