Farmers Guardian
Topics
How to spot BSE and what farmers can do to prevent it

How to spot BSE and what farmers can do to prevent it

DataHub

DataHub

Dairy Farmer Magazine

Dairy Farmer Magazine

Auction Finder

Auction Finder

British Farming Awards

British Farming Awards

CropTec

CropTec

LAMMA 2020

LAMMA 2020

You are viewing your 1 free article

Register now to receive 2 free articles every 7 days or subscribe for unlimited access.

Subscribe | Register

Some British farmers unsure if they have, or have had, BVD in their herd

The fourth annual BVD survey saw a record number of 1,243 farmers respond.

 

Hannah Noble takes a look at the recently released results, which give a flavour of how the disease is being handled across the UK.

TwitterFacebook
Share This

Some British farmers unsure if they have, or have had, BVD in their herd

Results from the BVD survey suggest while there is an increased awareness of the disease, there is still a proportion of farmers who are unsure if they have, or have had, BVD in their herd.


Read More

Farmer Fraser Jones has reduced his antibiotic use by 30% through BVD controlFarmer Fraser Jones has reduced his antibiotic use by 30% through BVD control
'We can greatly reduce this disease' - Welsh progress on BVD eradication'We can greatly reduce this disease' - Welsh progress on BVD eradication
'We need to think about health and welfare' - zero tolerance approach to BVD'We need to think about health and welfare' - zero tolerance approach to BVD

Matt Yarnall, of Boehringer Ingleheim, organiser of the survey, says only one-fifth of farmers surveyed knew if they had an active infection.

 

CLOSED HERDS

 

Mr Yarnall says in the UK there seems to be a problem with the perception of what defines a closed herd.

 

Of the 62 per cent of English farmers surveyed who said they ran a closed herd, 19 per cent bought-in bulls, 2 per cent reared calves away from the farm, 1 per cent purchased stock to fatten and 2 per cent bought-in heifers or cows.

 

This was a similar picture in Wales too, which has a similar programme of eradication to England, with 65 per cent of farmers claiming to have closed herds, but in fact 12 per cent still brought bulls onto the farm.

 

In Northern Ireland, 60 per cent classed themselves as closed herds, but 20 per cent brought bulls onto the unit.

 

In Scotland, where there is also a mandatory eradication scheme in place, there were also some inconsistencies with cattle entering closed herds.

 

Vulnerability

 

Mr Yarnall says: “Obviously, this means they are not truly a closed herd. Add to this the fact that 10 per cent of these herds do not vaccinate against the BVD virus and it is clear to see how vulnerable they are.”

Matt Yarnall
Matt Yarnall

TESTING

 

OVER the four years of the survey, there has been an increase in popularity of the tag and test method of BVD identification; in Scotland 44 per cent of producers were opting for this method.

 

This allows PI animals to be quickly removed from the herd, but it requires the tagging of all calves born in the herd, including dead and aborted calves, and the survey revealed 56 per cent of producers only tag live calves.

 

In England, the proportion of farmers using tag and test has risen from 27 per cent in 2018 to 33 per cent, and only 42 per cent were tagging all animals born dead or alive. Blood testing was found to be the favoured method in Wales.

 

Mr Yarnall says: “Without a belt and braces approach to testing, surveillance, biosecurity practice and vaccination, herds will not be fully protected.”

PIs

THE survey also highlighted too many farmers were knowingly keeping persistently infected (PI) cattle in the herd.

 

Of the respondents, 44 per cent of farmers in Wales had identified a PI in their herd and 42 per cent of them did not cull them immediately.

 

Instead they were retained, spreading virus around the herd.

 

This was similar in Northern Ireland, where 26 producers said they had retained a confirmed PI animal. But Mr Yarnall says the data revealed 20 of these animals had to be put down before reaching adulthood or had to be treated for other health conditions.

 

This was due to many reasons, including genetic merit or the genetic line of the animal, a healthy appearance, being doubtful of the result, or historically having successfully managed to raise a PI to slaughter age.

Eradication programme

Eradication programme

THE survey revealed that of the 491 English producers who contributed, only 216 of them were aware the ‘Stamp it Out’ initiative offers free BVD testing and veterinary support and were planning to make use of it.

 

Voluntary

 

However, in Wales, an estimated 20 per cent of herds are infected with BVD and the rollout of the voluntary Welsh BVD eradication scheme in July 2017 has seen 50 per cent of Welsh herds tested, according to Gwaredu BVD.

TwitterFacebook
Post a Comment
To see comments and join in the conversation please log in.

Most Recent

Facebook
Twitter
RSS
Facebook
Twitter
RSS