The establishment of Animal Health Ireland (AHI) over 15 years ago and the subsequent set up of the BVD programme revolutionised herd health – especially true for a disease like BVD that was causing untold financial damage on farms all over Ireland.

The calf deaths, the scour, the cost of treatment, and the workload at a critical part of the year was costing thousands.

Since then, the joined-up thinking and shared BVD workload has benefited farmers and the industry.


For a not-for-profit organisation like AHI, Department, farmer and industry funding is the lifeblood of the organisation. Yes, farmers are rightly frustrated that BVD is still costing money.

At this point, AHI suggests that tissue tag testing will continue for 2024 and more than likely for 2025 also.

While there were only 240 affected BVD herds in 2023, the AHI grouping feels tissue testing is still necessary.

They advised the Department earlier in the year that more money was needed and with 250,000 calves born in January, we still don’t know where the funding pot is.

Surely some more long-term strategy of funding and better communication of such plans is necessary so AHI and farmers know where they stand before samples start to move.