NFUS and a number of associated industry groups met local farmers
at Kelso last week to roadtest a new Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD)
strategy, which they plan to launch this autumn.
BVD is the most severe virus that commonly affects the
Scottish cattle herd and infection from the virus can cause severely
reduced physical performance as well as a substantial financial
impact on farmers.
The NFUS-led strategy includes a code of BVD risk management for
use in both dairy and beef herds and could be the first step towards
controlling BVD in Scotland.
Messrs Bryce McCrirrick and Sons of Whitmuirhaugh Farm, Sprouston,
Kelso, kindly hosted the event where the following specialists
spoke about the elements that make up the strategy:
- Johnny McCrirrick shared his on-farm experience and control
strategy along with Robert Anderson of the Merlin Veterinary
- George Calder, SAC St Boswells vet explained the scientific
- Basil Lowman, SAC beef specialist spoke about BVD
production and cost impacts;
- Nigel Miller, NFUS vice-president
and vet spoke about a BVD- free certification scheme that the
group is developing.
Nigel Miller, NFUS vice-president said:
“A BVD virus outbreak can have a devastating impact on a
herd’s fertility and calf crop. Scotland has a reasonably
good record on BVD control but it can be difficult to identify
the virus and the sellers of breeding cattle may be unaware that
they are putting their clients at risk.
“That is why the group is putting together a checklist for
vets and farmers of ways to minimise BVD. The strategy is aimed
at commercial cattle breeders and provides a template for individual
animal, rather than whole-herd testing, as well as vaccination
for animals which are BVD-free. In due course, this will provide
a pool of animals, which are both free of and immune to the virus.
“The protocols have now been agreed by the groups involved
and now we are roadtesting them, with further events planned over
“The ultimate aim is to have the guidelines published this
autumn and to back these up with certificates which can be issued
by a vet to a farmer that an animal or herd are disease-free. The
certificates could then be held within the passport when selling
or buying an animal or group of animals.
“Raising awareness of the disease and working towards its
eradication can only be good news. We are grateful to all those
who are working together on the issue and look forward to seeing
the scheme progress successfully.”
- The group is made up of:
- Scottish Agricultural College (SAC)
- The Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland (IAAS)
- The National Beef Association
- The Premium Cattle Health Scheme (PCHS)
- The Scottish Beef Cattle Association
- The Scottish Cattle Industry Group
- And other veterinary and cattle breed societies
- The meeting was organised by Debbie Playfair, Scottish Borders Land Based Strategy Co-ordinator and Christine McNab, NFUS Lothian and Borders Regional Manager
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