Welsh BVD Eradication Programme 

What is BVD?

BVD is a disease caused by a virus that produces immunosuppression and reproductive failure in cattle.  This makes cases of pneumonia, diarrhoea and other diseases much worse. It also makes it difficult for cattle, particularly heifers, to become pregnant. Overall, this results in significant financial and welfare problems on the farm.  A major way the virus spreads is by persistently infected (PI) cattle being present in herds.  

What is a PI?

BVD is maintained and mostly spread by the presence of PI animals. These are congenitally infected by BVD virus during pregnancy and they never get rid of the virus spreading it every day of their lives. They can live for many years dragging the whole herd down.
The best option is to remove these animals as soon as they are found.

Why are you dealing with this disease?

BVD costs the industry a huge amount of money and other countries in Europe are forging ahead with removing this disease from their national herds. If we are to retain the ability to trade freely, we need to cooperate and tackle this disease as an industry.

Is it possible to remove the disease from my farm?

Yes – with appropriate testing and management of the farm it is possible to get rid of this disease, in fact many farmers in Wales are already free from this disease and trading with the recognition of freedom from this disease. If you get involved in the project early you have a very good chance of being free from this disease by the end.

How much will it cost?

The young stock bleed will be at no cost to the farmer and subsequent testing to identify PI animals will be supported to a maximum of £1000.  Farmers involved in the scheme will be expected to support the scheme through paying for any testing above the £1000 limit during the PI hunt, removing the PI and any costs associated with protecting the farm from reinfection.



What will I have to do?

At your next TB test or vet visit, you will have the opportunity to have your herd tested by your vet. They will take 5 blood samples from each group of animals 9 – 18 months old and they will send to a lab agreed between you and your vet. The results will be with you by the reading of the TB test and you can discuss with your vet what the next steps will be. The Gwaredu BVD young stock screening will end on 31st December 2022.

I vaccinate, why should I get involved?

Long experience in the field has shown that vaccination alone will not get rid of this disease. The Programme will allow you to do so and vaccination can be used to protect from reintroduction alongside other preventative measures.

What will happen if I have the disease?

You and your vet will be able to apply for financial support to conduct the appropriate tests in order to identify the PI animals on your farm. Once identified it is advised that these are removed to slaughter as soon as possible.

What should I do if I do not have the disease?

Your vet will have appropriate advice for you so that you can protect your herd.

Will my vet know about the disease?

BVD is an important part of the training of vets in vet school.  Training opportunities will be provided by the Programme to allow vets to learn more. Contact your vet or the Gwaredu BVD Programme team for more information.

Will this be compulsory?

This is a purely voluntary Programme and we hope that everyone will take the opportunity to improve the health of their cattle and most can get rid of PI animals during the Programme. It is the intention of the industry as a whole to see a legacy from this project and that may require legislation after the voluntary phase.