Livestock producers continue to be worried about the cost of the Blue Tongue vaccine, the numbers prepared to voluntarily take it up and the risks of imported stock carrying the infection.

Speaking at the NFU Centenary Conference in London this week, East Sussex farmer Rob Smith explained that he had been in the Blue Tongue infection zone since the disease hit the UK.

He was concerned that not enough producers will use the vaccine if the price is too high and he quoted the price of 37p for a 50ml bottle plus veterinary costs.

Blanket coverage

Chris Hunt from Bedfordshire warned that 80 per cent blanket coverage of the vaccine was needed to stop the disease spreading but he was not confident that enough producers would use it.

“People are importing cattle and sheep from infected areas in Europe and are putting the rest of us at risk, so what hope do we have of getting widespread use of the vaccine?” he said.