National Milk Laboratories (NML) has worked closely with vets to develop a surveillance scheme for bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) virus control.

BVD is estimated to cost the UK livestock industry £40 million per year.

The new BVD HerdCheck scheme, which is accredited by Cattle Health Certification Standards – the the self-regulatory body for cattle health schemes in the UK and Ireland – will be launched at this year’s Livestock Event at the NEC in Birmingham on July 2 and 3.

For the dairy sector, BVD HerdCheck includes two quarterly bulk milk sample tests – an antibody ELISA test and a BVD virus test using PCR technology – and enables producers and their vets to more accurately assess the BVD status of the herd.

Milk samples are drawn from those already collected and stored by NML for payment purposes. This includes samples from 99% of UK dairy herds, so this means no further sampling is required.

BVD HerdCheck for dairy herds also includes a youngstock antibody blood screen from 10 unvaccinated animals aged from nine to 18 months.

Dairy herds using BVD HerdCheck will be assigned a risk level depending on their results.

For beef herds, the new scheme provides a youngstock blood test screen for all calves from nine to 18 months old and advocates the use of Tag and Test in young calves soon after birth.

NML has worked closely with vets in developing the surveillance scheme and recommends farmers collaborate closely with their vet in interpreting the results. As part of the service, vets can draw on the added support of the NML veterinary team.

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