Free testing – how it works and how to get it

19th Mar 2019

Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) is a disease caused by a virus that produces immunosuppression and reproductive failure in cattle. At present, testing your herd for BVD is not a legal requirement, but that doesn’t mean to say it’s not important. Eradicating BVD is a priority of the Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework Group, and is funded by the Welsh Government Rural Development programme.

Owning a herd affected with BVD can cause huge welfare and financial consequences to you and your farm; with approximate costs per year of £15,000 for dairy herds and £4,500 for beef herds as a result of poor fertility, reduced milk yields, low daily live weight, fever, diarrhoea and respiratory problems. These costs can be damaging, which is why the Gwaredu BVD scheme offers testing for free until August 2020. If BVD is found present within your cattle, you and your vet can apply for funding of up to £500 to identify PI animals in your herd. It is likely testing for BVD disease will become legislative sooner rather than later, which is why we urge farmers to use the Gwaredu BVD programme before it’s too late.

So, just how simple is testing for BVD?

We understand time is money, which is why the process of testing for BVD is quick, easy, and won’t intrude on your busy, daily routines on the farm.

  1. The BVD testing will be done alongside TB testing on the annual visit from your vet
  2. Blood samples will be taken from five animals aged between 9-18 months old
  3. Results will be given 3 days from the day of testing

The Gwaredu BVD programme is industry-led, meaning a whole array of experts had their say in how testing should be carried out, controlled, and maintained. Gwaredu BVD promises to be a fresh, innovative approach to eradicating the disease. Not only will herds be tested at no additional costs, but you’ll be educated by your vet in the importance of testing, and the next steps if needed.

Christine Glossop, Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales wasn’t shy in expressing her excitement for the programme at the recent Winter Fair in Builth Wells;

“This is about the industry coming together, focusing on a common problem that is causing hardship to farmers, affecting the bottom-line farms. It’s a disease that’s totally possible to eradicate, and this is a great collaborative effort, so I think it’s really important – not just for the sake of eradicating BVD, but as a working model going forward to focus on other diseases.”

Already the programme has seen an impressive 7,000 herds tested for the disease – with success partly down to the receptiveness of farmers who have already got involved. Wales joins Scotland, England and Ireland in the movement, standing together to beat BVD.

There may be uncertainty in farming with the upcoming results in Brexit, but there’s one thing we are sure about - today, there’s a free opportunity to test your herd for BVD – so why waste it?

Ask your vet today or get in touch with us for more information: email gwaredubvd@colegsirgar.ac.uk or call us on 01554 748576.