Farmers are debating the likely on-farm cost of the bluetongue vaccine following an announcement by DEFRA about prices on Wednesday (5 March).

The vaccine will be available in 50ml and 20ml bottles, and will be available through private veterinarians via veterinary wholesalers.

The wholesale “list” price will be £22.02 for the 50ml bottles and £13.10 for the 20ml bottles.

Final on-farm price

The final on-farm price is likely to be around £27.50-£33.00 for the 50ml bottles (55-66p per ml) and around £16.35-£19.65 for the 20ml bottles (82-98p per ml) plus VAT, to cover the overhead, handling and administration charges throughout the distribution process.

Writing on the FWiSpace forums, Jacobus expressed some scepticism about whether the on-farm price would in reality be at that level.

“I don’t know where DEFRA get their ideas of the kind of margins charged by vets. To get those sorts of ‘on farm’ prices from ours, you would have to buy bottles by the dozen.”

Dosage

But Stockslave was more positive: “If the anticipated dosage is 1ml per animal one bottle at £33 costs down to 66p per sheep, therefore 500 sheep would cost £330. Compare this to disposal costs for taking away dead sheep and it seems a small price to pay, 500 at £35 equals £17,500. I know which I would prefer.”

Farmers are reminded that the vaccine will require one dose in sheep and two doses in cattle.

The size of the dose is likely to be 1ml, but this is subject to the ongoing discussions between Intervet and the Veterinary Medicines Directorate as part of the vaccine licensing process.

What do you make of the price estimates? Join the debate on the forums.