Up-to-date Information Necessary on Schmallenberg

Animal Health

Following a meeting with senior Department of Agriculture officials on Schmallenberg IFA Animal Health Chairman John Waters said the lack of information and guidance for farmers is disappointing.

The IFA Chairman said farmers have a lot of concerns and questions that must be answered by the Department in order to ensure the impact of Schmallenberg is minimised in the coming years. This information is available in a number of countries that have experience of two seasons of the virus. The Dept of Agriculture must compile this information and make it available to all farmers.

John Waters said the breeding season has commenced for herds calving in the Autumn and these animals are now at the critical stage for Schmallenberg, based on the existing evidence.

“It is important that these farmers are equipped with the latest advice, guidance and the necessary tools to protect their animals.”

IFA National Sheep Chairman James Murphy said a vaccine for Schmallenberg virus is currently undergoing the licencing process in the UK. He said while vaccination may not be deemed necessary or appropriate in all the cases, the product must be made available to farmers if they want this option.

In this regard, he said it was vital that the Department of Agriculture facilitates the early availability of the vaccine to Irish farmers.

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