2015-02-20   facebook twitter rss

NFU Scotland Warns Don't Let BVD Status Slip

NFU Scotland is reminding around 1,300 farmers, who have let their Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) status slip, to get prepared and prioritise testing as the introduction of the next phase of the scheme draws closer.

There are fears that some farmers across Scotland are ill-prepared and that BVD has fallen down the list of priorities.

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BVD testing is already an annual requirement for Scottish cattle keepers and it is illegal to knowingly sell any animal persistently infected (PI) with the disease. From summer 2015, movement restrictions will be placed on farms that do not have a valid ‘negative’ status for the disease.

Phase 4 of BVD eradication scheme in Scotland will be introduced in June this year and will bring restriction for any holdings with a ‘not negative’ status, or holdings that have no valid annual status recorded. The BVD herd screen is an annual requirement and herds that have not carried out a test in the last 12 months should contact their vet and do so now or face restrictions come June.

Figures show that around 83 per cent of holdings in Scotland currently have a negative BVD status which is very positive news for those holdings. However for the remaining 17 per cent that still have a not-negative status this means they have a limited window available to tackle the problem and achieve negative status before the June deadline when restrictions will apply.

NFU Scotland Vice President, Rob Livesey, who farms beef cattle in the Scottish Borders commented: “It is unacceptable that some 1,300 farmers have let their BVD status slip. The message is clear: be prepared ahead of calving starting.

“Having animals tested now will save a lot of hassle in the longer term. Cattle keepers must keep their status up to date. Some believe that having had a clear test in the past is enough – but it isn’t. You must screen your herd annually to maintain you status. It’s far easier to get this essential job done now before cattle go to the grass.

“If you do not have a BVD negative status, animals will need to be individually tested in order to be moved, other than direct to slaughter.

“If you delay testing, you may also be restricted in your testing options and be required to sample all calves. If this is the case, you should consider the need to switch to tissue tag testing your calves and making sure that you have appropriate tags ordered.

“As we move to the next phase, it is worth reminding all cattle keepers to work with their vets and keep their testing status up-to-date. Allowing annual checks to slip further than 13 months will also trigger movement restrictions until testing is carried out.

“NFU Scotland urges any herd that does not have a negative status recorded on the BVD database to contact their vet and discuss the options available to avoid phase 4 restrictions.”


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