IFA Animal Health Chairman Pat Farrell has strongly criticised the Department of Agriculture’s approach to the BVD programme.
He said the lack of clear and concise relevant information in the enhanced programme for 2021 to farmers who identify PIs has added unnecessary stress and frustration on these farms.
“Farms where PIs are identified are restricted, but allowed move animals under permit. These movements are allowed to non-breeding outlets and include sales for export and to calf rearing farms that are non-breeding. In addition, movements out for contract rearing are also permitted. Movements to slaughter are not affected by the restriction,” he said.
The IFA Chairman said these outward sales and movements significantly reduces the impact of the restriction, but this vital information has not been provided clearly and concisely by the Department of Agriculture in their communications with effected herdowners.
Pat Farrell said the enhanced BVD programme is to ensure we can achieve BVD Free Status and finally finish Tissue Tag testing at the end of next year.
“The requirement for a whole herd test before the restriction is lifted in the programme is a major requirement for farmers at a particularly busy time of year. With cows on the point of calving, it’s not ideal. IFA has raised this issue with AHI,” he said.
The latest figures show 49 herds have identified PI calves this year and have received these restriction notices. AHI predict there will be 250 herds this year with PI births in total.
Pat Farrell said the objective must be to finally bring to an end the BVD programme. Tighter controls are a part of this, but better interaction and communication from the Department of Agriculture is urgently needed, including a rewording of the heavy handed and unnecessary tone in the herd restriction letters.