UFU urges producers to remove BVD positives early this Spring

Friday, 5 April, 2019

Commodity Watch, By Policy Officer, Dr Geoff Thompson

As we approach the annual peak calving period, the UFU is urging producers to take action to remove any newly identified BVD positive animals early. Recent trends in the BVD eradication scheme have been very positive with the 12 month rolling animal prevalence data showing a 25.7% decrease and herd level prevalence showing a 37.2% decrease in disease levels. As of the 1st of April, there was only 490 BVD persistently infected animals retained on farm for more than 5 weeks in a total of 317 herds. Given the relatively low number of animals, a robust and concerted effort this Spring by producers to remove any BVD PI animals would go a long way towards stamping out this disease. In light of this, the UFU is throwing down a challenge to producers to actively work together to encourage the prompt removal of all infected animals.

It’s worth noting that had local Government been functioning, the UFU has already been mandated by our members to lobby politicians for the introduction of more robust legislation and disease control measures to encourage the prompt removal of this limited number of remaining infected animals. However, in the absence of a local government, the UFU has been mandated to explore other avenues to encourage the early removal of BVD PIs such as including it as a standard within quality assurance schemes. Whilst these conversations are at an early stage, it is important that producers have a clear understanding of the current direction of travel. As an industry, we are now trying to mop up the tail end of this disease and control measures are only likely to tighten until eradication has been reached. As such, we would encourage producers to take prudent and responsible action now to remove these animals before more robust controls are in place.