The Farmers’ Union of Wales has welcomed the news that free BVD testing for cattle farmers in Wales has been extended until 31 March 2021.
The testing, which is provided through Gwaredu BVD, supports both youngstock testing and the hunt for persistently infected animals in order to help herds eliminate the disease and achieve BVD free status.
More than 8,300 herds in Wales are now part of the programme and financial support is available to hunt PIs until the end of 2022.
Dr Hazel Wright, FUW Senior Policy Officer, said: “The FUW, along with other industry bodies, continues to work towards those measures which will help Wales eliminate BVD. This extension allows more time for cattle herds to engage in this free testing programme in order to ensure that they have prepared their herds for the possibility of BVD legislation next year.”
The FUW was part of an industry group that submitted a paper to Welsh Government for consideration of BVD legislation following the voluntary Gwaredu BVD programme. A consultation is set to take place in the autumn and the FUW will consult with its membership on the proposals.
“The Union’s Animal Health and Welfare Committee have been fully engaged in both Gwardeu BVD and in discussing how future BVD legislation might work. We know that BVD is costly and estimates suggest that this disease can cost £4,500 per year for the average beef herd, and £15,000 for dairy herds through associated issues such as lowered milk yields, poor fertility, diarrhoea and respiratory problems.
“We continue to encourage our members to participate in Gwaredu BVD and we are urging members to take advantage of this additional funding in order to determine the status of their herd and to work towards eliminating the disease where any issues are found,” added Dr Wright.