The bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) national eradication programme is entering its 12th year.

It is now clear that mandatory BVD tissue tagging is rolling over to 2024 with Animal Health Ireland (AHI) stating that tissue tagging will also more than likely continue for 2025.

There are growing questions among farmers concerning whether a support package will be available in 2024 and whether Ireland is on track to acquire BVD-free status and bring an end to tissue tagging.

AHI reports that earlier this year the BVD technical working group developed options for the national eradication programme for 2024 and 2025, including associated costs.

This was presented to the BVD implementation group (IG) with AHI stating: “A key consideration of the IG was the detection of new cases with tissue tag testing being recognised as the most effective in this regard. In parallel, the BVD IG has requested that the Department provides a higher level of support to farmers toward test costs, beyond the €2.25m paid in 2022, with this still under consideration.”


As can be seen in Table 1, huge gains have been made over the last decade to reduce the incidence of BVD. AHI explains that the low number of herds (240 to date in 2023) returning positive or inconclusive tests have often been located in close proximity to herds, which had positive results in 2022.

This highlights the importance of a “neighbourhood” risk and of effective biosecurity measures to prevent local transmission.

With regards Ireland’s application for BVD-free status, AHI states “a decision on Ireland’s eligibility to apply for BVD-free status, and the timing of this application, is ultimately for the Department as the competent authority, in consultation with the BVD IG.

“An important element of this consideration is that one of the requirements for freedom is that routine vaccination is prohibited”.