The IFA has said a lack of clear and concise information in the enhanced BVD programme for 2021 to farmers who identify persistently infected calves (PIs) has added unnecessary stress and frustration on these farms.

IFA animal health chair Pat Farrell said: “Outward sales and movements significantly reduces the impact of the restriction, but this vital information has not been provided clearly and concisely by the Department of Agriculture.”

Farms where PIs are identified are restricted, but allowed move animals under permit.

These movements are allowed to non-breeding outlets and include sales for export and to calf rearing farms that are non-breeding.

Movements out for contract-rearing are also permitted. Movements to slaughter are not affected by the restriction.

Better communication

The enhanced BVD programme is aimed at ensuring Ireland can achieve BVD-free status and finish tissue tag testing at the end of next year.

“The requirement for a whole herd test before the restriction is lifted in the programme is a major requirement for farmers at a particularly busy time of year. With cows on the point of calving, it’s not ideal,” Farrell continued.


“Tighter controls are a part of this, but better interaction and communication from the Department of Agriculture is urgently needed, including a rewording of the heavy-handed and unnecessary tone in the herd restriction letters.”

The latest figures show 49 herds have identified PI calves this year and have received these restriction notices.

The AHI predicts there will be 250 herds this year with PI births in total.