Fund to stamp out BVD - Thorne Widgery

Farming Minister George Eustice has announced a £5.7 million funding package to help farmers tackle the highly infectious cattle disease Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD), which costs UK farmers around £60 million a year.

The disease impacts animal welfare within affected herds and recues fertility, and it reduces farm productivity and profitability. It is considered one of the most significant infectious diseases in the livestock industry worldwide due to its high prevalence, persistence and clinical consequences.

The funding will enable farmers to apply for one-to-one farm advisory visits by a veterinary practitioner, who will work with keepers of breeding cattle to tackle BVD on their farms.

The programme will also pull new ‘clusters’ of cattle keepers together to work against BVD and it is hoped that those involved will share best practice tips for tackling their issues.

As Mr Eustice commented, the funding will present an opportunity for farmers to get help in tackling BVD, improving cattle performance and reducing cost and anti-microbial use.

The funding will be available in England for three years through the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) and it will include support for farm visits, screening cattle for the disease, vet training and the formation of local cluster groups.

The project, named ‘Stamp out BVD’, will recruit local vets to offer the programme to farmers on the ground. It is larger than any previous BVD project in England in terms of funding, scope and offers a comprehensive package to farmers.

As a spokesman from SAC Consulting, who are leading delivery of the project, commented, the initiative offers a great opportunity for cattle farmers across England to get support, improve business output and reduce BVD nationally.