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Stackyard News May 2010

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North East Demonstrates New BVD Technology

A North East livestock producer has provided the platform to demonstrate to farmers, vets, auctioneers and animal health officials the latest technology available to tackle the economic threat posed to Scottish cattle production by Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD).


dairy cattle

North East Regional Chairman, Tom Johnston from Cottown Farm, Drumdollo near Huntly provided a batch 15 bulling heifers to be tested for the presence of the BVD virus. The latest innovation in disease testing saw an ear notch being removed from each animal by Tom’s vet and the tissue immediately tested for the presence of virus. With the testing being carried out on the farm, it allows the results to be examined and decisions made while the animals are still in the holding pen.

Tom is part of the Cattle Health Improvement Plan Scotland (CHIPS) looking to tackle the incidence on BVD in the area. In addition, a Scottish Government consultation on a national eradication programme for BVD expected shortly.

The CHIPS steering group chair, Charlie Adam, from Braeside, Cushnie, Alford said:

“BVD is a disease that we know can hit cattle health and profitability hard. Scotland and the North East’s reputation for quality beef production is second to none and tackling BVD in a positive manner is an important step to protecting that hard-won reputation.

“Since our formation a year ago, CHIPS has continued to encourage all cattle producers in the North East to work with their local vet to identify if BVD is a problem on their farm, and then, if necessary, put a plan in place to control the disease.

“Those who have tackled BVD head on with their vets are seeing better herd health, improved animal performance and greater productivity. For those who sell stock either for breeding or finishing, they have increased the marketability of their animals as more and more buyers are demanding cattle of known BVD status.

NFU Scotland Vice President Nigel Miller, who attended the demonstration said:

“This ear notch test is another tool for farmers and vets to deal with BVD in a more effective manner. The prompt identification of animals carrying the virus allows decisions to be taken then and there. As well as offering an option to those looking to eradicate BVD from their herds, it also presents a route to testing breeding or finishing cattle of an unknown BVD status before they are allowed to join a herd.”

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