2015-06-05   facebook twitter rss

Could IBR be Reducing Performance and Fertility in Your Herd?

A new AgriSearch co-funded study is about to examine this very issue, and the research team are seeking to recruit 10 dairy farmers to participate in this timely piece of research.

Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis (IBR) is a highly contagious disease of cattle caused by Bovine herpes virus 1 (BoHV-1). It is one of a number of infectious agents that reduce the competitiveness and sustainability of the dairy sector in Northern Ireland.

Dairy Cows

When animals are infected with this virus, coughing, fever and discharge from the nose and eyes are the most commonly observed clinical signs. This can be accompanied by pneumonia, decreased milk yield, abortions and deaths in young calves. However, it is also recognised that in herds with endemic infection the disease can be sub-clinical, but nevertheless still be associated with a reduction in milk yield and negative reproductive outcomes.

After infection, animals remain infected for life. At times of stress, the virus can start multiplying again and may be re-excreted and infect other susceptible animals.

Through a DARD Research Challenge Fund project, AgriSearch, the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, Animal Health Ireland and United Dairy Farmers are working together on a new project that will seek to estimate the costs of IBR infection in dairy farms in Northern Ireland by investigating the impact of this disease on milk yield and reproductive performance.

In addition, the project will examine the impact of infection on the carbon footprint of milk production systems, and the potential savings in greenhouse gas emissions associated with of improved control of IBR at herd, regional or national level.

The project aims to recruit ten dairy herds in the study. The herds have to be currently milk recording with United Dairy farmers and not vaccinating against BoHV.


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