AHI boss demanding national push on BVD
Ireland is being left behind in the European race to eradicate Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD), last week's Irish Grassland Association beef open day and grassland meeting was told.
Animal Health Ireland's (AHI) Joe O'Flaherty said that many countries in northern and central Europe have practically eliminated this damaging virus.
Scotland is embarking on an eradication programme and it will be made illegal to sell an animal persistently infected with the BVD virus. He warned that a situation could develop where Irish breeding heifers would be banned from Scotland if not from the whole of the UK.
BVD damages the immune system and has been implicated in scour, infertility and pneumonia on Irish farms. Farmers that have tackled and got rid of the disease from their herd have seen a huge benefit in herd health.
However, the AHI boss warned that experience in other countries showed that BVD eradication had to be done on a national or regional basis.
AHI is shortly to make a recommendation on a BVD eradication programme. The preference is for a 32-county programme. Northern Ireland BVD expert David Graham will shortly take up a role in AHI.
Meanwhile, while the grassland visitors admired the suckler cows, excellent weanlings and John Duggan's tidy and well laid out farm at Portlaw, Co Waterford, they equally appreciated how he could shoot from the hip.
"A few years ago you were nobody unless you had apartments in Spain or Bulgaria," Mr Duggan told the visiting crowd. "We had belly dancers in a big dome at the National Ploughing Championships attracting farmers to make foolish investments abroad. I love farming, I like nothing better than to come up with my wife on a summer's evening and admire the scenery and the stock. Any profit we made from the farm was reinvested in the farm to help us do a better job."