Farmers have to see benefits of reaching BVD targets – IFA

IFA Animal Health Chairman TJ Maher said farmers have invested directly over €100 million in the BVD programme since it commenced voluntarily in 2012, before becoming compulsory in 2013.

He said the actions of suckler and dairy farmers and their investments in the BVD programme have achieved this significant milestone in having the programme approved by the Commission under the EU Animal Health Law.

“However, targets have to be met by the end of this year, which the programme is very much on track to achieve.  There will then be an acceptance process from the EU’s perspective which will likely run to a number of months before official free status is granted,” he added.

The IFA Animal Health Chairman said the substantive issue is the type of testing programme that will apply in 2023 in the first instance. It’s likely the majority of calves will be born before free status is granted, if the targets are met by the end of this year.

“There is also the issue of vaccination being prohibited and only allowed in exceptional circumstances when free status is granted, which means the proof of freedom testing approach that will come into play must also provide an effective case detection tool,” he said.

He said failure to conclude the BVD programme in a satisfactory way for farmers will have long term reputational damage for AHI with farmers and it is important this is avoided.