Just 0.1% of calves born in Ireland test positive for BVD so far this year

Just 0.1% of calves born in Ireland so far this year have tested positive for Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD), according to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed.

In response to a recent parliamentary question, Minister Creed added that eradication of the disease is possible by 2020, if PI (persistently infected) animals are disposed of early.

The National Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) Eradication Programme is an industry-led programme delivered by Animal Health Ireland (AHI).

Speaking on the matter, Minister Creed said: “A BVD Implementation Group (BVD IG) was formed in 2011 to take forward the planning and delivery of this programme.

“This group is comprised of AHI personnel, Veterinary Ireland nominees, farmer representatives and representatives of my department.”

Regulations put in place for this programme require all animals born on or after January 1, 2013, to be tested for the presence of the BVD virus.

“Excellent progress” has been made on the programme to date; the incidence of the disease has declined with the number of PI animals falling from 0.66% in 2013 to 0.16 % 2016, Minister Creed added.

The numbers of PI calves fell from 13,877 in 2013 to 3,804 in 2016. The incidence has fallen further this year to date to 2,078 representing just 0.1% of calves born in 2017.

“While the programme is industry led, my department provides financial supports to farmers to encourage early disposal of PI animals within approved timeframes.

“Testing to date has been by tissue tag, as agreed by the BVD IG. A decision on future testing arrangements is a matter for this group.

“The most recent outputs from modelling work indicates that eradication is achievable by 2020, subject to the early disposal of PI animals,” Minister Creed said.

North’s BVD incentivisation scheme closes

The incentivisation scheme in Northern Ireland – aimed at the removal of animals persistently infected by BVD – drew to a close at the end of last month.

The news was confirmed by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and farmers were urged to get their applications in prior to the deadline closing.

Forming part of a £4 million (€4.5 million) package of support for local farmers, the scheme – which opened in February 2017 – was provided under EU Exceptional Adjustment Aid (EAA).