Devon is expected to be the next region to receive the bluetongue vaccination as 4m doses are prepared for release over the next week.

Veterinary medicine supplier Intervet said it had released 2m doses in 50ml bottles this week, with a further 2m doses expected over the next week.

So far 2m doses in 20ml bottles and more than 5m doses in 50ml bottles have entered the market.

Ahead of predictions

A spokeswoman for Intervet said the company was well ahead of its predicted delivery dates and quantities.

“In the tender to DEFRA, estimates were that 2m doses would be delivered in May and 6m in June, making 8m doses.

“It now seems as if this amount will have been delivered by the end of May, putting supply a month or so ahead of original schedules.

“Clearly this is good news for producers,” she added.

Vaccination to start in weeks

While DEFRA said it couldn’t comment on rumours that livestock farmers in Devon would receive the latest batch of vaccines, farmers in Wales have been warned bluetongue vaccination was likely to start within weeks.

In a meeting with key industry stakeholders and Christianne Glossop, the chief veterinary officer for Wales, farmers were told not to wait for the first case of bluetongue to appear before they registered with their vets for the vaccination.

Gareth Vaughan, Farmers Union of Wales president, said he would be “very concerned” if farmers were waiting for an outbreak, as it was likely that the current restricted zone in south east Wales would be declared a protection zone within weeks.

Start vaccinating

Farmers should be ready to start vaccination immediately if this happened, he said.

The disease-free status of farms in the rest of Wales could also change very rapidly should an actual case of bluetongue be confirmed within or near the border, he added.

“I would therefore urge farmers who have not registered with a vet to do so immediately rather then risk being left out.

“Those within the current restricted zone may only have a very short time to do this before vaccination starts.”