Bulls at a cattle sale© Tim Scrivener

Displaying animal health information at auctions would give potential buyers greater confidence and could see sellers rewarded with improved prices.

That’s according to the Livestock Auctioneers Association (LAA), which is calling for information on the disease status of individual cattle to be made clear in the sale ring.

LAA executive secretary Chris Dodds says the more transparent sellers are on animal health status, the more money they will potentially receive for their offerings.

See also: TB rules threaten viability of beef finishing, auctioneers warn

“We believe that the more animal health information we can display in the sale ring at the time of sale the better informed prospective purchasers will be when making that decision to bid, giving them greater confidence and therefore better value,” says Mr Dodds.

There is already evidence of cattle selling at a premium price if they are confirmed to have been tested BVD free and there are clear economic implications of removing PI animals off farms across the industry Chris Dodds, Livestock Auctioneers Association

Bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) free 

He says schemes such as BVDFree England have a vital role to play in helping buyers and sellers recognise the value of identification of health status in cattle.

“By announcing at the point of sale in auction markets the disease status of potentially every animal again demonstrates the strength of selling through livestock markets, which highlights the growing importance of participating in such schemes, which is very often rewarded by improved prices.”

Signatories to the voluntary BVDFree England scheme must agree not to move persistently infected (PI) animals – those born with BVD having come into contact with the virus in the womb – other than directly to slaughter or through a dedicated red slaughter market.

See also: BVD campaign launches across England

“There is already evidence of cattle selling at a premium price if they are confirmed to have been tested BVD free and there are clear economic implications of removing PI animals off farms across the industry,” says Mr Dodds.

“We need everyone’s participation in this eradication scheme for the true benefits to be seen and we need an effective database so the correct health status information can be electronically displayed within auction market sale rings, for everyone to see.”