We had a number of calls from farmers this week, outlining their surprise that their herds were automatically placed under immediate movement restrictions once a Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) persistently infected (PI) calf was identified from tissue tag testing.
This new rule came into play on 1 January 2021, and what seemed to frustrate the farmers that called us was that any of their farm contacts, including their vet, the Department and milk processor representative, did not know anything about the new ‘lock-up’ rules.
We must vaccinate all breeding stock over 12 months of age and carry out an investigation as to where this PI came from
One frustrated farmer said: “There is no opportunity for retest, our herd is completely locked up now. We are only allowed to move stock once we blood test all stock at the earliest of three weeks from the removal of the last PI.
“We must vaccinate all breeding stock over 12 months of age and carry out an investigation as to where this PI came from, all funded by the Department.”
The frustration from farmers is evident, especially as two of the farmers had not experienced a BVD PI calf for the last four years and they were further frustrated as all this came out of the blue for them.
The Animal Health Ireland (AHI) notes confirm all the above measures, but on stock movement, it states: “While restricted, movements out of the herd to slaughter or to non-breeding herds may be granted on a case-by-case basis under permit by the Regional Veterinary Officer, provided that the animals move directly to their destination.”
AHI chief executive officer David Graham said they expect in the region of 250 herds to be restricted as a result of these new rules.
He envisages this will be split 50:50 between dairy and suckler herds, and said AHI were communicating with all stakeholders involved directly.
The Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine are operating a Financial Supports Programme again for 2021 to encourage the prompt removal of calves born in 2021 that are persistently infected with BVD virus. The payment terms are as follows.
The terms and conditions also state that “herds where positive/inconclusive BVD virus results are disclosed will be placed under immediate movement restrictions.
“Neighbouring herds will receive a biosecurity notification informing them of their increased risk, and on a monthly basis thereafter in the absence of removal of the suspect animal(s) with positive or inconclusive results.”