BVD campaign launches across England

A national voluntary scheme to rid England of bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) launched today (1 July).

Farmers are urged to sign up to the industry-led scheme in the hope that 90% of holdings will enroll within 1,000 days (by 28 March 2019), at which point the scheme will be made compulsory.

BVDFree: You must agree

  • To actively engage in BVD control in order to eliminate the disease
  • To report your BVD testing results to a national database
  • Allow herd status/animal status to be openly accessible through the BVDFree database.
  • Not to move persistently infected (PI) animals other than directly to slaughter or through a dedicated red slaughter market.

It is estimated that more than half (52%) of English herds are infected with BVD, with the disease costing between £30-£40 a cow.

See also: Find out how to control BVD through our online academy

The campaign is backed by more than 80 industry organisations, including the various breed societies, Farmers Weekly, the National Farmers Union and supermarkets such as Waitrose and Tesco.

BVDFree is to follow the lead of similar BVD eradication schemes already having an effect in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The AHDB-driven scheme was launched last week (24 June) at Litton View Farm, Bakewell, Derbyshire, where David and Adrian Gregory have stepped up testing measures to control BVD.

The scheme demands farmers work with animal health advisers to assess, address and then monitor infection.

This requires sharing herd and animal BVD status on an “openly accessible” online database.

To find out more information about how to join the scheme visit the BVDFree website

Symptoms and how to test for the disease

  • Reproductive losses – early embryonic death, returns to service, abortions
  • Secondary disease – immune suppression increases the chances of pneumonia and scour in calves, lameness and mastitis in adults
  • Poor production – lower milk yield, poor growth rates, increased cull rates
  • Deaths – commonly through secondary infection
  • Bulk tank and blood antibody tests are available from about £3-£4 and ear tag tests for identifying young PI calves cost about £3.50 more than a standard eartag. PCR bulk milk tests cost about £25.