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Stackyard News Jul 2011

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Taking the Initiative with BVD Control

With BVD (Bovine Viral Diarrhoea) widespread in British cattle herds, and costing agriculture money, Harrison & Hetherington have taken the pro-active step of holding a meeting to discuss the disease.

David Pritchard

David Pritchard

The meeting on Monday August 8th at Borderway, Carlisle is specifically for those who sell breeding stock. With advice being given by two of Scotland’s leading experts, the aim of this event is to try and reduce the perception of disease risk and encourage the market trade of livestock into Scotland. BVD is well understood and is recognised as the most important viral disease of cattle in the UK. And now that Scotland is adopting BVD eradication, it is vital to ensure that cattle from the rest of the UK and Northern England in particular, are able to meet the new standards.

A considerable number of cattle sold at Carlisle head North of the Border and Harrison and Hetherington want to ensure that this trade is maintained for farmers. The meeting is designed to help farmers in these areas to understand what they should be doing and why. Chair of the meeting David Pritchard Operations Director at Harrison & Hetherington Limited explains this further:

“There is so much hype about BVD that we want to ensure that those farmers selling livestock through Harrison and Hetherington have the correct information and the facts and figures. In order to avoid adverse effects on trade we feel that we should encourage consignors at sales to test their sale animals for BVD and vaccinate to retain all Scottish interest from purchasers.  Our speakers will look at the effects of BVD, the method of spread and the method for testing in cattle herds so that the status can be declared at the time of sale”

During their presentation George Caldow, Veterinary Consultant, SAC Veterinary Services and Ian Pritchard, Health Scheme Commercial Manager, SAC Veterinary Services who both have extensive experience of BVD control in Scotland will cover the following issues:

  • The current situation and knowledge of BVD
  • The effects of BVD in a herd
  • The health management programme that can be put in place to maximise sales potential
  • The opportunities for English breeders to sell their cattle in Scotland
  • What the breeder needs to do, to market into the Scottish Market

Ian Pritchard gives some background, “This is a health and welfare issue that is not going to go away. BVD is probably the most important endemic cattle disease in Europe. We already have 1000 farmers in England and Wales in health scheme testing. Many of the pure bred cattle that have been through the main spring sales had to be tested to show that they are free from the BVD virus and they were vaccinated. This gives assurance to the vendor that he is offering healthy cattle for sale and to the purchaser that they are not a BVD virus carrier and that they are declared as being vaccinated. We really want to make breeders aware of what has happened over the Border so that they can look at the opportunities for future sales. What is happening in Scotland should be seen as an opportunity for producers in the North of England and further afield and not a threat.”

David reiterates why it is important for farmers to attend: “From the end of the year, all dairy and beef breeding herds in Scotland will be tested on an annual basis and all Persistently Infected (“PI”) infected animals will be culled.  Scottish farmers have been strongly encouraged by the Scottish Government to only buy individual animals that are certified BVD free or to purchase from herds that are in an accredited free scheme and therefore, as approximately 20% of cattle are marketed to Scotland from Carlisle, we must roll out the scheme into Northern England to encourage buyers confidence and retain Scottish interest.”

“Starting from September Border & Lakeland Club in conjunction with the auctioneers have announced that at the annual Dairy Bull Sale, all consignments must be tested for BVD and vaccinated. Testing for BVD will remain voluntary but my advice is that it is advisable to ensure that returns are maximised.”

Sponsored by MSD Animal Health and Novartis Animal Health the evening begins at 7.30pm and for catering purposes those attending should Tel. 01228 406232 or email to register.

link Solway Vets Initiative to Improve Farm Animal Health and Welfare
link Livestock Farmers Regain Bluetongue Free Status
link Vets to Take On International Animal Welfare Issues

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