Lack of ‘neighbour notification’ is slowing BVD Eradication Programme

Statistics show that neighbouring farms were notified in only 50% of the cases where restrictions under the BVD Eradication programme had been applied.

Pat McCormack, Deputy President of the ICMSA (Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association), believes that the BVD programme could benefit from additional resources and increased concentration on the issue of ‘neighbour notification’.

The latest figures from the on-going BVD programme show that good progress is being made towards the eradication of this virus but there is still significant room for improvement.

Calling on the Department to redouble efforts Mr McCormack said that since the 2015 roll-out of on-farm restrictions on those farmers who retain persistently infected animals (PIs), the rate of retention has reduced dramatically.

McCormack made the point that peer pressure was a very significant factor in this kind of situation and the Department had committed some time ago to a policy of informing neighbouring farms of retention of persistently infected animals.

If less PIs are held on farms, the infection rate for the following year should reduce as the virus passes while the cow is in calf.

On that basis, ICMSA is calling on the Minister to allocate the human resourses and personnel necessary to the make sure that all restrictions are up-to-date. With breeding season in full swing now is the optimal time for the virus to catch hold.

“Given the success of the on-farm restrictions in making those farmers who had previously retained PIs get rid of them, it makes complete sense to continue ensuring that anyone holding a PI longer than 7 weeks is restricted.

“The longer these PIs are retained the longer the programme will continue with farmers losing money through increased testing costs and overall herd health suffering also. Allocating the resources that will give us a faster removal will lead to  faster eradication; it’s a ‘win-win’ situation for all involved in the programme – farmers, Department and wider industry alike”, said the ICMSA Deputy President.