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Coveney Commits Further Supports Towards the BVD Eradication Programme for Another Year

The Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, T.D., today announced that he has decided to extend and re-focus support arrangements for farmers faced with the removal of persistently infected BVD calves born from their herds in 2015.

Minister Coveney said that his decision was being made in the context of the compulsory phase of the Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) Eradication Programme now reaching its critical third year and follows on from consultations with the BVD Implementation Group (BVDIG), (chaired by Animal Health Ireland), which is the industry body promoting and managing this industry-led eradication programme.

Stressing the importance of the BVD eradication programme, Minister Coveney said “whilst good progress continues to be made under this industry-led Programme, there are some critical issues remaining to be dealt with by the BVD Implementation Group if the programme is to be brought to a speedy and successful conclusion”. In particular, the Minister identified a small number of non-participating herds and another relatively small number of farms on which a number of Persistently Infected (PI) animals are being retained as posing a significant risk to the timeline for a successful conclusion of the programme. He stated that it is his view that these require urgent direct interventions to mitigate the risks. He identified two further specific issues which also require urgent action: firstly the need for a better flow of information on the position of these specific risk herds to neighbouring farmers and service providers, including veterinary practitioners, so that those at most immediate risk may take risk mitigating measures. The second issue relates to the risk arising from animals, in particular pregnant animals from these farms, being sold in the market place. In the context of confirming the supports for 2015, the Minister has forwarded proposals as to how these matters can be addressed to the BVD Implementation Group.

The Minister went on to say that ”further delays in dealing with these issues will only prolong and add to the cost of eradication and put at risk the investment already made by farmers, who have invested some €9m on testing each year, and by the State through its financial and other supports to the programme”.

In the context of the anticipated commitment by the BVD Implementation Group towards more rapid progress in the programme in 2015, the Minister said that he was glad to be in a position to re-focus and further enhance the support provided by his Department to assist in the process of rapid disposal of PI calves in 2015. The supports provided for 2015 are as follows:-

Beef Herds

  • A payment of €140 for each beef breed PI born in a suckler herd that is shown to be disposed of to a knackery within 5 weeks of the first test.
  • A reduced payment of €90 will apply in respect of such calves disposed of to a knackery within 7 weeks of the first test.

Dairy Herds

  • A payment of €100 for each dairy breed PI heifer calf born in a dairy herd that is shown to be disposed to a knackery within 5 weeks of the first test.
  • A reduced payment of €50 will apply in respect of such calves disposed of to a knackery within 7 weeks of the first test.

The Minister further clarified that these supports will only be available to those herdowners who are compliant with the 2015 testing requirements and where all 2015 born PI’s are removed within 7 weeks of the first test.  In addition it is a requirement that all PI animals born in 2012, 2013 and 2014 are disposed of prior to 1 March 2015.

In addition, to be eligible for both the BVD support arrangements and to participate in the proposed Beef Data Genomics Programme and successor programmes, it will be a stipulation that no PI animals are present in the herd, with the exception of those recently born and within 7 weeks of the first test.

The Minister confirmed that his expectation is that some movement restrictions, geared towards protecting the vast majority of ‘clear’ herds will apply to non-participating herds and to those herds continuing to retain PI animals in the course of 2015.

Minister Coveney added that his Department would continue to provide, free of charge, a blood based test to confirm the persistently infected (PI) status of those calves that give a positive test result on tag testing. The Department is also providing a blood test for the dams of those calves and any progeny of PI cows.

The Minister thanked the Implementation Group for their solid contribution to the development and management of this eradication programme which is of great significance to the farming community.

Application forms will issue directly to the farmers concerned from the BVD Supports Section, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Government Offices, Portlaoise, Co Laois.

Note for Editors

BVD is a notifiable disease since 1 January 2013 coinciding with the start of the compulsory phase of the BVD eradication programme.

The BVD eradication programme is directed and managed by the BVD Implementation Group, comprising industry representatives and chaired by Animal Health Ireland.

Under the programme, all calves born on or after 1 January 2013 must be tested for BVD before they attain the age of 20 days and cannot be moved unless a negative test result is available in respect of the animal.

Notifications to test other suspect animals, such as suspect dams or other progeny, are issued where appropriate.  Those animals must be tested and may not move until a negative test result is available.

It has been estimated that the annual on-farm losses resulting from the disease are of the order of €102m euro. The objective of the BVD Eradication programme is to eliminate these losses, thereby increasing farm income by an equivalent amount.

A BVD helpline is operational on 076-1064590 to assist farmers who have queries in relation to the programme.

View this Press Release as a PDF: DAFMPR 11/2015 (pdf 127Kb) 




Date Released: 28 January 2015