Thursday, November 14, 2019

Biosecurity remains key issue on farms

June 4, 2019 by  
Filed under Livestock

Concern over biosecurity remains a key issue on livestock farms, suggests the fourth annual bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD survey, which attracted a record 1243 responses.

“Biosecurity is a hugely complex issue involving neighbouring farms, visitors to the home farm, where stock is reared and kept, in addition to stock purchasing policy,” said survey organiser Matt Yarnall, of animal health company Boehringer Ingelheim.

Equally significant was the issue of testing and herd surveillance, which was variable across Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England. Mr Yarnall said: “Uptake is, generally, much below where it should be for this disease to be effectively controlled.”

Overall, the survey attracted responses from 686 beef farmers (58%) and 492 dairy farmers (42%). When asked about the financial impact of BVD, the average response was £44 per cow per year, although some respondents selected £100 per cow per year.

Of 62% of English producers who stated they ran a closed herd, 2% said their reared calves away from the main farm. Some 19% bring bulls in, 2% buy in heifers or cows and 1% purchase fattening stock.

“Obviously, this means they are not truly a closed herd,” said Mr Yarnell. Some 10% of these herds did not vaccinate so would not be protected against the BVD virus, he added. “It is clear to see how vulnerable they are.”

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