UFU and NIMEA request amendments to FQAS to speed up BVD eradication

Friday, 6 September, 2019

The Ulster Farmers’ Union and Northern Ireland Meat Export Association (NIMEA), have submitted a request for two amendments to the Farm Quality Assurance Scheme (FQAS) for beef and lamb to speed up efforts to eradicate bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) from Northern Ireland.

UFU deputy president David Brown said, “At the beginning of September, the UFU met with NIMEA to discuss our proposals. We reached agreement to request that the NI Beef and Lamb Farm Quality Assured Scheme include requirements to appropriately isolate BVD positive (BVDP) animals and for BVDP animals to be retested with negative results or removed within 35 days of the farmer receiving the initial positive test result. If our requests are approved by the FQAS board, this will be another significant step towards the eradication of BVD in NI.”

The industry has already made significant progress to reduce BVDP animal numbers and retention. In the last 12 months, herds with BVDP animals have fallen by 39 per cent and retained animals with the disease are down 43 per cent.

“Many farmers are tackling the issue head-on. However, some are still holding on to BVDP animals. Adding the requirement to isolate and remove a BVDP animal within 35 days of a positive test into the NIFQAS, will help to substantially reduce the number of infectious animals in the country. Ultimately, this action will minimise the risk to disease free herds, reduce antibiotic usage and improve the health and welfare of the Northern Ireland cattle herd. All are positive steps moving us towards our goal of BVD eradication faster.”

The UFU acknowledge the work that NIMEA has been doing to eradicate BVD from Northern Ireland which costs millions of pounds of inefficiency within the NI beef and lamb sector.