Dairy and beef farmers are being urged to take a firmer control of cattle disease if they are to remain competitive and secure future markets, experts are warning.

Figures from Cattle Health Certification Standards (CHeCS) the body set up by the industry in 1999 to regulate UK cattle health schemes suggest some diseases such as BVD could be costing the industry up to £61m/year.

See also: Cattle disease: UK must clean up ‘dirty man’ image

Tim Brigstocke, executive director of CHeCS, says the industry must come together to work on reducing endemic infection in UK dairy and beef herds if they want to be competitive and project a positive image.

“Other countries have simply overtaken us and this will soon start to affect our markets. The UK is seen as the dirty man of disease control both within Europe and globally.

“Disease-free countries only want to import from other disease free countries; the UK simply cannot claim to be that,” he says.

Chart showing cost of endemic cattle disease to UK farming