Mandatory tissue tagging of newborn calves to test for the presence of bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) looks certain to enter its twelfth year in 2024.

This is regardless of whether or not Ireland secures BVD freedom status at the end of this year.

While no official confirmation has been given that tissue tag testing will continue, tag manufacturers were notified of the situation earlier this year to facilitate the ordering of supplies for the 2024 season.

The Irish Farmers Journal understands that a meeting of the BVD Implementation Group took place earlier this week to discuss the future of the BVD National Eradication Programme.

High on the agenda was establishing how the programme will operate in the coming years.

Farm organisations state that farmers have contributed a significant financial cost to BVD testing to date and must not be expected to bear the costs of any future testing.

They comment that the Department of Agriculture’s current level of subsidisation (€2/tag set for calves registered between 1 August 2022 and 31 July 2023 up to a maximum of €50/herd) is not sufficient and needs to account for the full costs of testing.

IFA animal health chair TJ Maher said: “Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue, and his senior officials must progress the proposal put forward unanimously by the BVD Implementation Group to conclude the direct farmer costs in the BVD programme.”