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Scotland’s cattle keepers have been working to eradicate BVD (Bovine Viral Diarrhoea) since 2013, when participating in the BVD eradication scheme became a legal requirement. Effort put in by farmers and vets is paying off: more than 90% of breeding herds in Scotland are BVD Negative. Of the Not Negative herds, some are waiting for test results to show that they are Negative, others are Positive i.e. they have found PI (persistently infected) animals and are dealing with them. There is a small number of herds that are BVD Not Negative because of inadequate testing, these are being targeted by Trading Standards
Farmers who manage to eradicate BVD from their herds see better fertility, greater calf survival and lower vet bills than infected herds. These benefits align with wider society targets, too. Increased productivity means less greenhouse gas produced per litre of milk/kg of meat; reduced antibiotic use means less chance of antibiotic resistance. The farm assurance sector has also recognised the advantages of BVD eradication, with Red Tractor being the most recent assurance body to require compliance with national BVD eradication programmes.
A BVD negative herd is a valuable asset and worth protecting. Buy replacement and store cattle carefully: if they are not BVD Negative, get them tested before they mix with your herd. If you buy in-calf females, test the calf as soon after birth as possible. Protect your cattle from over-the-fence contact with neighbouring herds: BVD spreads quickly and easily from infected animals. Your vet can advise on how to keep BVD out of your herd. Most importantly, breeding herds must keep up with annual testing so that they can renew the BVD herd status every year. Get advice on Scotland’s BVD eradication scheme from the ScotEID Helpline: 01466 794323.