Dealing with BVD
From 1 January 2013, all calves must be tested for BVD (Bovine Viral Diarrhoea).
Details of the national compulsory BVD eradication programme were announced last Wednesday at the National Ploughing Championships in Wexford. Legislation is being introduced to support the programme.
At the launch, Mike Magan, chairman, Animal Health Ireland (AHI), said he was 'delighted with the uptake of the voluntary programme, in which almost 10,000 beef and dairy farmers have participated'.
The new scheme means that for the vast majority of farmers, there will be three years of tissue tagging followed by three years of less intensive monitoring.
Mike Magan encouraged farmers to come to the nationwide series of information nights to ask any questions they may have in relation to the programme.
In his view, the BVD eradication programme is 'a superb example of the capacity of Irish farmers, acting collectively, to address issues that effect on the profitability and sustainability of their businesses'.
Joe O'Flaherty, chairman of the BVD implementation group, said that BVD is a disease of considerable economic importance to Ireland.
He said: "Analysis commissioned by AHI has shown that losses due to BVD are of the order of €100m each year. This very significant economic impact is the underlying reason for the national voluntary BVD eradication programme."
He praised the work of the BVD implementation group, which has been involved in the development of every aspect of the programme and which has recently agreed the draft legislation.
"The key features of the legislation are that calves born after 1 January 2013 will require to be tested and that there will be a ban on the sale of calves without a negative result.
"The aim is to ensure that persistently infected (PI) animals that shed the virus will not be sold in the marketplace and to drive down the prevalence of the disease as rapidly as possible."
As the BVD programme is now compulsory, there is now no need for a third tag. Farmers who took part in voluntary testing this year used a third tag as well as the two yellow Department tags.
Joe said the awarding of the contract to supply tissue sample-enabled official tags (yellow tags) introduces considerable efficiencies to the programme, allowing the required samples to be taken as part of the official tagging process, and minimising the need for applying a third tag.