Despite the initial success of the Scottish BVD eradication programme, spring-born suckled calves are at an increased risk of pneumonia this autumn, SAC beef specialist Dr Basil Lowman has warned.

As a result, Scottish farmers preparing to move spring-born suckled calves this autumn, either via market or into new housing groups, are advised to vaccinate against BVD and pneumonia.

“Most at risk are unvaccinated BVD-free cattle – often called BVD-naïve – that come into contact with one or more unidentified, persistently infected individuals, which are continually producing virus and increasing infection pressure on BVD-naïve animals.”

He said increased stress factors at sale or movement of cattle would contribute significantly to the risk of post-movement respiratory problems.

Pfizer vet William Sherrard echoed these concerns and advised farmers to vaccinate all spring-born suckler calves against BVD and the three main pneumonia viruses: RSV, PI3 and IBR.

Producers looking to sell cattle this spring can obtain health status certification as part of the SureCalf programme.