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HomeBeefA suckler farmer’s £4,000 battle with BVD
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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A suckler farmer’s £4,000 battle with BVD

A BVD outbreak has cost a suckler farmer in Northern Ireland more than £4,000.

The farmer, who has requested anonymity, has spoken out about the “horrendous” cost that the infection has brought to his enterprise, having suffered the loss of more than a dozen calves.

It is understood that the most likely source of infection is a neighbouring herd.

According to a spokesperson for Animal Health and Welfare said that the costs have been high, with veterinary call-outs, resampling and disposal standing at £32 per calf.

This is in addition to the loss of calves worth possibly in the region of £250-£300/head, shall they not have become infected by BVD.

With the total outbreak costing over £4,000, the loss is “much greater” when the potential value of weaned stock – as opposed to calves – is factored in.

The farmer has also decided to vaccinate their herd, an animal health action which has cost in excess of £1,000.


“Financial costs are not the only toll in this type of situation. There is farmer time involved which is not always counted, and the quandary over how to deal with suckler cows that no longer have a calf.”

“Not only that, but the loss of income from these cows for the year and having to witness calves being put down on-farm is emotionally draining for the farmer, spokespersons and the wider family.”

“Currently, DAERA does not inform farmers of BVD infection in neighbouring herds, as new legislation is required to all this.”

“Industry, through the BVD Implementation Group, has been calling for legislation to incorporate biosecurity notifications, in addition to other measures that would accelerate progress towards the eradication of BVD,” the spokesperson added.

Previous farming news article: The ins and outs of new BVD rules in NI: What you need to know

ROI measures

Meanwhile, in the ROI, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine will restrict movements both in and out of the herd with the positive or inconclusive result, while neighbouring herds will immediately receive a biosecurity notification.

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