Moredun sets up BVD blitz briefing

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CONTROLLING BVD will be the subject of a free farmers’ meeting at The Lodge, Carfraemill, on Wednesday (November 14).

Bovine viral diarrhoea can cause abortion, infertility, poor performance and suppressed immune systems in calves, which can lead to death.

Experts agree small numbers of animals which are persistently infected by the virus act as a reservoir, passing it on.

A spokesperson for Moredun Research Institute, which has organised the meeting, said: “BVD is a serious welfare and economic problem for cattle farmers. Worryingly, it is present in over 90 per cent of UK dairy and beef herds, presenting a serious threat to the health and productivity of cattle.”

The institute’s Dr Kim Willoughby will talk about the main signs of BVD and how it spreads before describing control and prevention options, including vaccination and cattle health schemes.

Stow livestock farmer and NFU Scotland president Nigel Miller, who is a vet, will talk about the Scottish Government’s new BVD eradication scheme to which the union and other organisations contributed.

He said: “This eradication scheme is a genuine opportunity for Scotland to rid its cattle herds of the scourge of BVD. I firmly believe that we are well on the way to helping all Scotland’s cattle producers tackle the threat posed by BVD and reap the economic benefits that eradication will deliver.”

The Scottish Government subsidised screening of around 4,000 herds between September 2010 and April 2011. The second phase of its attempts to clear the disease will see cattle farmers required to screen their herds for BVD by February 1 next year and annually thereafter.

From next month, the government plans a ban on knowingly selling persistently-infected cattle, a requirement to declare a herd’s BVD status before a sale and movement restrictions on those herds that have BVD.

The Scottish Government’s Emma Patterson will explain what is required of farmers in terms of testing as part of the BVD eradication plan, and provide details of the measures being introduced to help farmers get and stay BVD-free in Scotland.

The meeting, which is open to all and is funded by Novartis Animal Health and Quality Meat Scotland, begins at 7.30pm.