Under 100 herds with PI cattle for first time
For the first time since the introduction of mandatory BVD testing on 1 March 2016, the number of NI herds retaining PI cattle has fallen below 100.
According to data published by Animal Health and Welfare NI (AHWNI), the body tasked with overseeing the eradication programme, just 83 herds held 118 persistently infected (PI) cattle on farm as of 1 December.
The latest figures are a marked decrease on those from January 2020, when 264 herds retained 381 PI animals on NI farms.
A key factor in reducing the number of PI cattle has been the introduction of a non-conformation under the Farm Quality Assurance Scheme for herds holding PI animals for a period longer than five weeks from a positive test.
To build on the progress made this year, industry stakeholders continue to lobby DAERA to introduce movement restrictions on non-compliant herds, and to facilitate notifications to neighbours when PI animals are retained.
Milk price indicator rises
The latest milk price indicator (MPI) published by the UFU has recorded its first increase since early October, rising by 0.47p/l to 28.55p/l.
The upward price move reflects a strengthening in buying demand on commodities markets at the bi-monthly GDT and weekly Dutch Dairy Board auctions.
In the Republic of Ireland, the Ornua purchasing price index (PPI) also strengthened for the second month in a row. It currently stands at 104.3, which converts to a farmgate price in the region of 31.4c/l excluding VAT or a sterling equivalent of 28.26p/l.