Major changes have been announced for farms where calves test positive or inconclusive for BVD.
Agriculture Minister Michael Creed has announced increased financial support in 2017 for early removal of PI (persistently infected) calves, including dairy crosses and dairy bulls for the first time.
Farmers will get €150 if female dairy and dairy cross PI calves are removed within 21 days of the first positive or inconclusive test; or €35 if removed between day 22 and 35.
It is proposed to offer €30 towards disposal of dairy bull PIs through the abattoir or knackery within 21 days.
Farmers will get €185 per beef calf removed within 21 days, or €60 if removed between days 22 and 35.
Also new (expected by January 31) is automatic movement restriction of herds retaining PIs, from five weeks after the original positive or inconclusive test.
This is designed to provide a window for animal retesting, if required.
Automatic de-restriction will follow PI removal.
Automatic bio-security notification of contiguous herds, where necessary, is also being put in place.
In 2017, confirmatory testing will be done through blood sampling rather than repeat tissue tagging.
The Department of Agriculture will fund calf and dam blood sampling for a private veterinary practitioner (PVP) visit, sampling, and test.
A trained PVP will conduct a mandatory farm herd investigation within three months of a PI being disclosed.
Mr Creed said: “I believe that these modifications to the existing BVD arrangements will give a major push toward the eradication of the disease.”
While welcoming increased financial supports, IFA animal health chairman Bert Stewart said the shorter window to claim the higher compensation effectively rules out retesting, which is a fundamental change, with over 10% of retested animals testing negative.
Mr Stewart said BVD eradication is costing farmers up to €9m annually.
However, Mr Creed pointed out that the incidence of PIs falling 75% since 2013 saves farmers €66m per year.
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