A new programme is being piloted in North Yorkshire which aims to train farmers in effective BVD (bovine viral diarrhoea) control.

A new programme is being piloted in North Yorkshire which aims to train farmers in effective BVD (bovine virus diarrhoea) control.

It is estimated that more than 90% of the UK dairy and beef herd have had exposure to BVD.According to organisers, the pilot project will improve returns to 10 beef and 10 dairy farmers in the Nidderdale area through knowledge transfer activities and targeted herd screening for the virus.

Once learning has been taken from the small sample group, the team aims to expand its findings across North Yorkshire and further afield to help all UK farmers manage BVD effectively.

It is estimated that more than 90% of the UK dairy and beef herd have had exposure to BVD, costing the average UK dairy farmer around a 15-50% reduction in farm income if left uncontrolled, and losing the average beef farmer around £37/cow/year.

Vet and project leader Jonathan Statham said: “By working together as a community, testing for BVD, assessing what impact the virus might have had to date and discussing with each other what steps can be taken, we can help stem these losses, improve animal health and welfare and hopefully increase profits too.”

The project (delivered by EBLEX and DairyCo in partnership with RAFT Solutions Ltd) will run throughout 2011 and will three phases:

  1. Disease mapping,
  2. Measuring BVD impact on herd reproductive and youngstock performance, and
  3. Developing herd specific BVD control plans, with a series of demonstration events and specialist BVD workshops.

Steve Dunkley, regional manager for EBLEX in the north east added: “There are various steps that can be taken to control BVD – but this project is the first of its kind to explain all the different factors to farmers in detail, and to use their understanding to help spread the word to others in their situation. It’s a positive project to be involved in.”

The project is supported by the Yorkshire Veterinary Society, the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, NFU, Yorkshire Forward and LANTRA.

     

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