Clear Understanding of Schmallenberg Virus Needed – IFA

Animal Health

IFA President John Bryan said as calving and lambing gets underway in more herds and flocks throughout the country, an increase in positive cases of the Schmallenberg virus are being identified.

The IFA President said while the information available from both Germany and the UK suggest the number of cases on affected farms ranges from 2% – 5%, there have been farms with much higher levels of problems and losses.

“This is consistent with what Irish farmers are now experiencing causing financial loss, which in some cases is significant, and high levels of anxiety for all farmers who are struggling to come to terms with what was up until recently an unknown virus.”

The IFA President said it is vital the Department of Agriculture develop a clear understanding of the Schmallenberg virus and how it is likely to evolve in order to ensure losses are kept to a minimum for farmers. Information gathered from countries experiencing their second season of this virus will be important in this regard and must be used for the benefit of Irish farmers.

He said, “It is critically important in advance of this next breeding season that farmers are equipped with the best and most up-to-date advice on how to protect their animals and guard against further losses from this virus.”

The IFA President said the Department of Agriculture has confirmed no trade restrictions are applied to affected farms as this is a non-notifiable disease with no human health implications.

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