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Dairymen to Drive Schmallenberg Monitoring

25 February 2013

SCOTLAND – Partnership efforts between Biobest, Scotland’s Rural College and NFU Scotland are boosting schmallenberg virus monitoring by launching a milk testing programme.

Regular bulk tank sampling will test for schmallenberg virus (SBV) antibodies. Results are to be released on three dates still to be confirmed

NFU Scotland has said that a service to all livestock farmers will be provided by the dairy sector through regular milk screening. Any instances of the infection will be able to be mapped out, tracking virus activity across Scotland.

Now recorded in every county of England and Wales, the northwards spread of the midge borne SVB has caught the attention of Scottish authorities.

“SBV is not a notifiable disease but experience in England and other parts of Europe has shown the devastating impact the disease can have on lambs and calves,” said NFU Scotland President, Nigel Miller.

“Working with SRUC and Biobest, we will analyse those samples, circulate the results and map out the pattern of virus activity in Scotland. Repeated milk testing will track any movement of the virus across the country.”

Vaccination is hoped to soon become an option for farmers. However, farmers are being advised to delay the introduction of bulls and rams to minimise risk of foetal infection.

The scheme, Mr Miller added, is designed so farms can volunteer or be approached by the three partners to be involved.

Contributing farms will be required to submit three samples at three month intervals.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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