The Department of Agriculture received over 3,200 applications to the BVD Compensation Programme last year.

The Department received 2,763 applications for compensation on beef breed animals and 483 applications for compensation on dairy breed animals in respect of 2014.

The objective of the BVD Compensation Programme is to incentivise the culling of persistently infected (PI) calves.

A payment of €120 is made for each persistently infected beef breed calf born in 2014 and removed to a knackery with a recorded date of death on my Department’s AIM database.

A payment of €75 is made for the second and each subsequent PI female dairy breed calf born in 2014 and removed to a knackery with a recorded date of death on the AIM system.

Final validation of the applications is currently underway and payments will shortly commence for both categories of animals.

2015 applications

The Department has currently issued 3,211 beef breed applications under the BVD Programme for 2015 of which 1,581 applications have been returned by farmers.

In the case of dairy breed animals, the Department says 335 applications have been returned from the 995 applications issued.

Farmer engagement with the national BVD eradication programme has been very strong, according to Animal Health Ireland (AHI) with almost 100% of calves born since 2013 having been tested.

It is estimated that, prior to the introduction of the programme, around 14,000 calves persistently infected (PI) with BVD were born each year, with the great majority of these going undiagnosed and being regularly traded and spreading infection to other herds.

It says the programme has been successful in delivering a year-on-year reduction of approximately one-third in the prevalence of infection at both the herd and animal level and in preventing the movement of identified PI animals to other herds.

Based on the reduction in prevalence to date, it is estimated that the programme will provide a reduction in losses due to BVDV in 2015 of over €50 million/annum.