1,000 herds now signed up to BVDFree

The BVDFree England scheme has reached a significant milestone with 1,000 herds now registered to take part in the nationwide eradication scheme, as at 10 May.

In total 25,000 individual animal BVD (bovine viral diarrhoea) statuses are searchable on the BVDFree database.

This has been achieved with support from 100 vet practices, which are actively supporting the scheme and working with farmers to help improve performance.

See also: Dairy herd improves fertility by eradicating BVD

BVD is a highly contagious viral disease of cattle. In herds with a chronic infection it costs approximately £37 per cow every year, whereas a proactive approach to eliminate BVD, such as tag testing calves, costs around £3.30 per calf.

Therefore, it is much more cost effective for farmers to use their vet’s expertise to improve animal health across the herd.

The scheme provides a framework for farmers to work towards a BVDFree herd status, which includes assessing the risks of bringing BVD onto the farm and testing to find out if the disease is circulating in the herd.

Once a herd is signed up to the scheme and begins testing, it must continue to test annually – either by completing a youngstock check test for each management group or by tag testing all calves born.

Rapid improvement

“Knowing a herd’s BVD status and understanding farm-specific risk factors is now an essential part of herd health planning,” said Emyr Rowlands of Willows Farm Animal Veterinary Practice, Cheshire.

“As a predominantly dairy practice, our aim is to know the BVD status of 90 percent of our dairy farms by the end of 2017 by engaging clients through general meetings and small group discussions. 

“Farms that have removed BVD persistently infected animals notice a rapid improvement in calf health and fertility, and, for those confirmed free of BVD, it has highlighted the importance of biosecurity and an effective vaccination protocol.

“Registering with BVDFree England provides a framework for those selling stock and gives buyers confidence in the BVD status of the purchased animals. No farm can afford not to be free from BVD.”

To kick start the process of eliminating BVD on farm, visit bvdfree.org.uk and join the scheme.