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BVD Eradication Scheme Details Announced

23 December 2011
Irish Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Food

IRELAND - The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, has announced details of the support available in 2012 towards an eradication programme for BVD which he had outlined in the recent Budget.

The Minister said that as part of the budgetary process he had made funding available for those farmers participating in the voluntary phase of the BVD (Bovine Viral Diarrohea) eradication programme and he was now in a position to give further details.

There would be a one off €100 welfare payment for any suckler cow whose offspring is removed under the Programme. Payments will only be made to those farmers who comply fully with the BVD Eradication Programme and, in particular that PI (persistently infected) calves are not traded.

In addition, a €15 subsidy would apply in respect of the knackery charges associated with the removal of each PI calf. This would be an incentive to farmers to ensure the speedy disposal of infected animals.

In order to qualify for these payments, PI offspring would have to be disposed off in a timely fashion and the dam subjected to a test for BVD to establish whether she herself is a PI animal. These requirements are to ensure that the farmer takes appropriate measures to minimise the spread of virus within the farm.

"I want to reduce to the minimum the amount of red tape to the operation of this scheme and I have asked my Department to take this into account in finalising the payment arrangements." Continuing, the Minister said "by introducing the BVD Eradication Programme I am determined to give farmers a good start in their efforts to further improve Ireland’s animal disease status and to improve the performance in their own herds as a direct consequence. The payback period to profitability is extremely short and I would strongly encourage as many farmers as possible to enter the voluntary phase of this programme in 2012. In this regard I am delighted to hear that over 100,000 button tags had already been ordered by farmers, displaying a strong buy-in on their part."

The Minister said he looked forward to increased output under the initiative at farm level which would further boost our agri-food exports and farmer profitability in the year to come. Details of application procedures will be announced in January.

Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) suckler chairman, Dermot Kelleher, welcomed the announcement.

“ICSA supports the effort to eradicate this damaging disease from the national herd and we encourage all farmers to test their calves in 2012. This will give farmers a head start on 2013 when the testing will be compulsory. The key reason for testing is that it is in the farmer’s own interest because the knock-on effects of BVD can be truly horrendous in terms of cattle having low immunity to other diseases, fertility issues etc and the cost of BVD in a herd can run into thousands," Mr Kelleher stated.

“I would also like to highlight the €100 welfare payment for any suckler cow whose offspring is removed during the programme. This is not sufficient, it costs at least €500 a year to keep a suckler so the welfare payment should reflect that,” Mr Kelleher concluded.

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