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08 Jun

Phase four of the BVD Eradication Scheme introduced

Posted by admin

Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) is a disease of cattle which reduces productivity and increases death loss. As it currently stands there is no medication or antivirus to cure the debilitating disease, the only options are to breed it out or start a vaccination program to protect against it.

BVD has been identified as an industry priority given its potentially significant financial cost to the dairy and beef sectors. A study from SAC in 2009 demonstrated that up to 40% of dairy and beef herds in Scotland had been exposed to BVD. The introduction of the BVD Eradication Scheme in September 2010 showed a commitment between the Scottish government and the livestock industry to eradicate the problem from Scotland.

Last week (June 1st 2015) phase four of the scheme began, the final phase in a four part scheme. Now, in addition to the current annual screening and restrictions on BVD infected animals, there are movement restrictions on ‘not negative’ herds:

  • No animals allowed to leave holding, unlessholding has a negative status, the animal is individually tested with a negative result or is going direct to slaughter
  • If an animal enters a breeding herd from an untested herd, without an official BVD status, the status of the receiving holding will be suspended until the animal has been tested and found free from the BVD virus. This could include animals from a store cattle herd within Scotland (Store herds do not require a BVD status), or imported animals
  • Whilst the status of the receiving herd is suspended the herd will face the same restrictions as a “not negative” herd and be unable to move animals off the holding, other than direct to slaughter unless they have been individually tested virus free.

For a negative status to be maintained, annual testing must be carried out. The test period must not extend more than 13 months apart or the status will change to suspended and movement restrictions will apply. BVD Eradication Scheme approved testing includes:

Check test (antibody)

  • For negative herds only
  • A minimum of five animals per management group within nine and eighteen months, or ten animals per group if they are between six and eighteen months, using the antibody test.
  • For dairy herds this must be done twice annually using ten animals per management group, identifying the five oldest and five youngest within the nine to eighteen month age group. This takes account the yearly calving cycle within a dairy herd.

Calf screen

  • Test all calves born. This can be done using a tissue tag.

All animals

  • Test all animals within the herd. This can be done using a tissue tag.

It is no longer satisfactory to use bulk milk sample tests. The decision has been made that they are too sensitive and can react with historic infection and vaccination giving misleading results.

McCaskie Agriculture can provide you with BVD tissue test tags for your herd. When purchasing the tags we offer the option of tag and test. In this you receive relevant paperwork and directions for sending tissue samples direct to a lab for testing, all included in one cost. Alternatively you can buy the tags and send the samples to an approved laboratory of your choice.  For more information on our service email or call one of our specialist team members at agriculture@mccaskie.co.uk or 01786 474 481.

Alternatively, you can view the Scottish Government phase four farmer’s guidance brochure here.