A national programme to eradicate the Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) disease from Welsh herd is said to be “well on target” as more than half the farms have been screened.
It has been one year since the introduction of the Gwaredu (Welsh for ‘eradicate’) BVD programme and the campaign is set to be “ramped up” to get widespread adoption.
Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) is a viral disease in cattle that causes immunosuppression and reproductive failure. The disease can reduce fertility, increase incidences of abortion and cause pneumonia in affected stock resulting in personal and financial effects on affected farms.
Eradicating BVD is a priority of the Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework Group, and is funded by the Welsh Government’s Rural Development Programme. The Gwaredu BVD £10m three year voluntary screening programme is available to all 12,000 Welsh cattle farms, and is managed by Coleg Sir Gâr’s Agriculture Research Centre in partnership with the Royal Veterinary College. It involves BVD screening at the same time as TB testing.
John Griffiths, manager of the Agriculture Research Centre at Coleg Sir Gâr’s Gelli Aur campus, said: “We are hugely encouraged by the take-up of the screening programme so far from Welsh farmers, but we are under no illusions that the next two years will be a challenge if we want to eradicate the disease, as has happened in several European countries.
“BVD in cattle is widespread in Wales, and the costs are high, so we’ll be ramping up our activities to ensure farmers understand and realise the benefits of screening, and we make Wales BVD free.”
Dr Neil Paton, veterinary technical lead on the programme, added: “Tests show that more than a quarter of Welsh beef and dairy herds are infected with BVD, so we need to help livestock farmers across Wales to work with us to diagnose if their herd has been exposed to the virus, and to seek and remove any infected animals.”