28 February 2015 | Online since 2003



Defra warns of 2013 Schmallenberg return


The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has warned the animal health sector that the Schmallenberg virus could return by 2013.

Reports from Europe about the effects of the disease in its second year has led the National Sheep Association (NSA) to look for ways in which the UK could better equip itself to deal with the midge-borne virus.

"Anecdotal reports from France and other areas of Europe suggest Schmallenberg may be causing more problems in its second year than expected, possibly because livestock does not develop the level of immunity anticipated" said Phil Stocker, NSA Chief Executive.

"The lack of statistical evidence means we cannot predict if we will have an on-going problem, but the industry as a whole should be very concerned by the absence of data we have and what has been seen in some early lambing flocks."

The virus, which causes deformities in lambs and calves, was found on a farm in Hertfordshire in June.

Government agencies are only collecting data on the distance the disease has spread and do not gather any additional information once the disease has been confirmed in a county.

There is a lack of data on the level and scale of the problem - a situation that is unlikely to change because of financial constraints from the government spending review.

The Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency would be forced to collect the data if Schmallenberg was a notifiable disease, but NSA believes this would not be in the interest of the industry, due to the implications it would have on trade between UK and other countries, both in the EU and further afield.

"It would be great if the Government could collect this data, so we better understood the situation and how to implement control strategies, including vaccination programmes once a vaccine is available" Stocker said.

"However, given the reality of the situation, NSA feels very strongly that industry should pull together and ensure a solution is found."

"AHVLA has expressed a willingness to advise on what information to seek from farmers, and NSA believes it and other organisations should take up this offer and offer a reporting service for sheep, beef and dairy farmers in the hope of collecting enough data to create a clearer picture."

Farmers face the loss of lambs and calves despite likely immunity in previously affected areas. The protectiveness of this remains unknown.

"We must be watchful for new cases in the currently infected areas" said Carl Padgett, President of the British Veterinary Association (BVA).

There have been around 300 new cases of the virus and Devon remains the most infected area.

Data released by the AHVLA highlight the number of current infections as 715 in cattle and sheep.

Download



Comments


No comments posted yet. Be the first to post a comment

To post comment without approval login or register

Display name

Please enter your name

Email (optional)
Comment

Please enter your comment

Post Comment

Your comment submitted successfully.Please wait for admin approval.

Some error on your process.Please try one more time.



Jobs


17 February 2015
Commercial Property Solicitor
Although the role is within the Agriculture Team, no prior experience of agricultural matters is required, and the role would...

19 February 2015
LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT
LVIA projects range from wind and solar farms, overhead line work, to assessment of light rail and large scale mixed use deve...

20 February 2015
Product Development Specialist
It is also desirable for the successful candidate to have a good working knowledge of farm operating procedures along with th...

20 February 2015
Senior Support Officer
It comprises Barnet Hospital, Chase Farm Hospital, the Royal Free Hospital and more than 30 services in the community....

22 February 2015
Agriculture Apprentice
Manor Farm House. Family run Dairy Farm. Milking and helping to manage the dairy herd....




Top stories you may have missed
2 February 2015 | Arable
Is EU membership damaging UK farming?

Is EU membership damaging UK farming?

Membership of the EU is damaging the British farming industry, according to...


29 January 2015 | Machinery and Equipment
Drones 'rapidly changing' agriculture

Drones 'rapidly changing' agriculture

BASIS has launched an accreditation for pilots of Unmanned Aerial Systems (...


23 January 2015 | Arable
UK wheat yields have potential to double

UK wheat yields have potential to double

UK wheat yields have theoretical potential to more than double over the nex...


23 January 2015 | Machinery and Equipment
Crowds flock to LAMMA 2015

Crowds flock to LAMMA 2015

Britain’s farmers flocked to Peterborough for the first day of LAMMA’15 to ...


22 January 2015 | Cattle
Don't blame supermarkets for milk crisis...

Don't blame supermarkets for milk crisis...

The crisis in the dairy industry is not the fault of supermarkets, accordin...


16 January 2015 | CLA
Families affected by HS2 face 'major wor...

Families affected by HS2 face 'major wor...

Transport Minister Baroness Kramer visited three rural businesses in Cheshi...


16 January 2015 | Machinery and Equipment
John Deere unveil new 6R tractor range

John Deere unveil new 6R tractor range

Spearheading the John Deere range of mid-size tractors from Mannheim, the n...


14 January 2015 | Animal Health
Monthly TB checks more effective than ba...

Monthly TB checks more effective than ba...

Regular testing for bovine TB could significantly reduce the number of infe...


12 January 2015 | News
Government regulations hampering UK agri...

Government regulations hampering UK agri...

Single-issue policy-making threatens to hamper, not help, the progress of U...


8 January 2015 | Cattle
2015: The year ahead for the beef market

2015: The year ahead for the beef market

2014 has been a “rocky old year” for the beef industry but better prices ar...