Additional BVD subsidy of €2 per calf announced by Minister

The Agriculture Secretary has announced additional funding for BVD testing for farmers next year, which will help Ireland achieve BVD-free status by the end of next year.

Agriculture, Food and Marine Secretary Charlie McConalogue has announced an additional €2.25 million to support the continuation of BVD tag testing for 2023.

Funding, he said, will be targeted at breeding herds, and particularly smaller breeding herds, where the relative costs are greatest.

The support granted takes the form of a payment of €2 per calf directly to farmers based on the number of calves registered, up to a maximum of 25 calves per herd.

“I am pleased to announce additional funding of €2.25 million to support the continuation of BVD labeling testing for 2023. These will target breeding herds and particularly smaller breeding herds where the relative costs are greatest.”

Secretary McConalogue commended the significant efforts made by farmers over the past decade which has resulted in a 0.66 per cent reduction in the incidence of BVD positive animals. Ireland has not had a confirmed BVD positive since May 2021 and he said that by maintaining the current focus on BVD eradication, Ireland should be able to apply for BVD-free status by the end of 2023.

In 2022 Ireland’s BVD scheme was aligned with the European Animal Health Act (AHL) and official recognition of the scheme was granted. Ireland has now met two of the three conditions for BVD-free status: animal level prevalence and absence of a confirmed BVD case for 18 months.

However, he said it is critical that the ultimate goal of a nationwide herd-level prevalence of 99.8 percent of all BVD-free herds is met.

“The BVD eradication program has brought Ireland close to the goal of BVD freedom. This reduction in BVD prevalence has brought benefits to all cattle herds, including better animal health and improved fertility, which in turn has helped reduce antibiotic use and contribute to a more sustainable livestock sector.

“The success of the program is due to the continued hard work and determination of the farmers in working with my department to achieve BVD freedom. Despite this tremendous achievement, it is vital that everyone continues to do their part to achieve BVD freedom. Excellent progress has been made in recent years and we must intensify our efforts to ensure success.”

BVD started out costing Irish ranchers in the region €102m each year and those costs would have lasted forever if the scheme hadn’t been implemented, he said.

“At this critical juncture, as we approach achieving BVD freedom, my department will continue to provide a range of supports to BVD test positive flocks to ensure that the risk of future disease outbreaks is reduced and risk to other flocks is reduced. This will continue to bring benefits to farmers by controlling and eradicating this disease.”

The minister also confirmed that the Targeted Advisory Service on Animal Health (TASAH), a mandatory herd epidemiological investigation, will continue following the discovery of a BVD positive or inconclusive animal. Additional BVD subsidy of €2 per calf announced by Minister

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