Northern Irish farmers urged to submit BVD claims before 30 Sept deadline

The UFU believes that the BVD scheme should be viewed as a ‘successful pilot’
The UFU believes that the BVD scheme should be viewed as a ‘successful pilot’

Northern Irish farmers will be 'disappointed' that the BVD incentivisation scheme is closing on 30 September, as a farming union urges farmers to submit their claim forms.

The Bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) incentivisation scheme aims to remove persistently infected animals from herds and was pushed for by the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU).

“We wanted schemes that would ensure the EU Exceptional Adjustment Aid (EAA) funding was used strategically and delivered benefits across our livestock sectors,” Ulster Farmers’ Union deputy president Victor Chestnutt explained.

“We wanted to see the aid package used in a way that provided genuine and lasting benefits to the industry.

“The BVD, pig health and the soil sampling schemes, all delivered under the EAA, are excellent examples of what industry and government can achieve when we work together.”

'Positive impact'

During the first seven months of the scheme, over 1,070 claims for PI calves were submitted. Mr Chestnutt said that the scheme has had a positive impact on the ground.

“Persistently infected animals are being removed earlier and the scheme has helped farmers cope with the costs.”

However, figures from the scheme indicate that a small number of farmers are holding on to persistently infected calves. The UFU said it is possible that more awareness raising needs to be done about the financial and welfare risks associated with BVD.

“Research shows that retaining a single PI animal doubles the risk of having further PIs the following year. Less than 20% of PIs make it to a productive age,” Mr Chesnutt explained.

“Given this, it is highly recommended that any BVD PI animal is removed as quickly as possible, with or without an incentive scheme.

“The UFU has supported calls for herd restrictions for farmers who retain PI animals. Ultimately, we want to see this preventable disease eradicated as quickly as possible.”