Defra has announced a six-month extension to a Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) project after Covid-19 lockdown measures caused delays.
The BVD Stamp It Out initiative England was launched in 2018 to tackle the disease, which costs cattle farms £61m in lost performance each year.
The aim was to enrol 8,000 farms by the original target end-date of December 2020. But the Covid-19 pandemic restricted vet visits to farms and left the programme with 5,500 herds signed up – 2,500 short of the target.
A new deadline of June 2021 has been set and industry leaders have urged any farmers not yet enrolled to sign up as soon as possible.
The project is run by SAC Consulting, part of Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC).
SAC Consulting’s Neil Carter, project manager, said: “We built momentum through 2019 and early 2020 and are well on the way to engaging the target 8,000 herds across England.
“This extension gives vet practices the chance to complete the process for those involved and engage another 2,500 farmers into the mix.”
How the project works
SAC Consulting has recruited 120 veterinary practices across England to administer the programme and provide advice on best practice direct to farmers.
As well as funded time with their vet, farmers can access £61.80 for preliminary testing work, and up to £440 when persistently infected animals are suspected.
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