Summer press round-up

Welcome to the first of our monthly news round-ups, looking at interesting bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) stories from around the globe. In summer, the cost-benefit economics of BVD control were yet again a hot topic, as more European countries prepare to launch compulsory control programmes.

An interesting piece in The Leaf-Chronicle discussed the reluctance of farmers to adopt new practices which could help them to improve production efficiency and profitability. Dr Griffith, livestock economist, reported that when changes are suggested, the first question is invariably ‘How much will it cost?’ rather than ‘How much will it cost if that change is not made?’ The take-home message is for farmers to by-pass this initial thought, work out how to implement the proposed change, and maximise their profits.

In England, this attitude appears to be changing with increasing numbers of farmers reported to be supporting the voluntary eradication scheme. According to British Farmer & Grower and Cumberland News, the industry is starting to unite as awareness increases of the financial gains associated with BVD control. Organisations such as the Moredun Research Institute are reported to be supporting BVD control by offering information and advice to farmers around the country. The meetings cover topics such as how BVD is introduced on to farms, how to detect whether your herd is infected, the health consequences of BVD and how to control disease.

Progress in Scotland is being closely monitored as the country has moved into the final ‘Phase 4’ of the Government’s BVD eradication programme. Several articles remind farmers of the routes of disease transmission and the risks posed by pregnant animals. While eliminating PIs removes the main source of virus shedding, Hugh Thompson, writing for Farm North-East, states that ‘herd BVD vaccination should always be considered key to control, particularly in breeding cattle’. BVD is reported to be most destructive in naïve (non-exposed and unvaccinated) cattle and while the herd status may be negative, the risk from neighbouring animals and borrowed bulls must be considered.

The final news was from mainland Europe where Nieuwe Oogst reports that the Netherlands have committed to begin a compulsory BVD eradication programme during 2017. Toon van Hoof, chairman of the IBR/BVD steering committee, explains that the committee is currently researching which methods are most efficient and cost-effective, and are looking at the knowledge gained by their neighbouring countries.

Printed references

Nieuwe Oogst (08/08/2015): Aanpak IBR en BVD vergt lange adem  & Uitwisselen van ziektestatus over het hele land uitrollen
 

Cumberland News (07/08/2015): Let’s act together now to eradicate costly virus
 

Farm North-East (01/08/2015): Phase 4 of Scotland BVD eradication program: vaccination to keep the costly disease at bay is a “no-brainer”

British farmer & Grower (01/08/2015): BVD control