Farmers in the Republic of Ireland (ROI) are set to benefit from an extended financial support package under the bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) eradication programme in 2024.

While the level of funding is yet to be finalised, the Department of Agriculture in ROI states “it will continue to provide an extensive range of critical supports” for herds with positive cases of BVD.

Funding in 2023 totalled €2.25m with a €2/head subsidy up to a maximum of 25 calves to aid the costs associated with tissue tags and laboratory testing. Those fees cost farmers between €7 and €8 per calf and differ from NI where the cost of BVD testing is included within the purchase price of ear tags.

ROI farmers with BVD positive beef calves could also claim €220/head in 2023 for those removed from the herd within 10 days of the first positive test result.

Dairy calves were also eligible for support towards calf removal with €160 payable on heifers within 10 days of a positive test and €30 for dairy bulls.

Compulsory tissue tagging in ROI is now in its twelfth year and expected to continue until the country is officially granted BVD-free status by the European Commission.

NI cases fall

In NI, data recorded by Animal Health and Welfare NI shows that 1,154 calves came back as persistently infected with BVD across 562 herds during 2023, a 27% reduction from the 1,600 positive cases in 2022.

As of 2 January 2024, there were 15 herds that had retained 21 BVD positive animals for longer than four weeks.

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