Farm Ireland

Saturday 24 February 2018

AHI boss demanding national push on BVD

John Shirley

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."

Also Read

David Quinn from Carnew mart valued the Duggan weanlings at €2.30 to €2.50/kg liveweight, with a couple of exceptional ones hitting the €3/kg.

He added that live weanling shippers have been active all of this summer with an extra 65,000 weanlings already shipped. He said that demand continued strong.

He hoped that the usual autumn bottleneck of weanling supply could be averted this year.

In other news from the conference, Teagasc nutritionist Siobhan Kavanagh advised farmers to pay more attention to energy and that barley remained the best value even at a price of about €200/t for the rolled product.

For cattle, barley was equally good as wheat. Compared to barley at €200/t she valued fodder beet at €36/t and good maize silage at €45/t. She warned that farm-to-farm traders needed to be licensed if dealing in mixes in order to meet cross compliance rules. Farmers faced Single Farm Payment losses on account of this.

Irish Independent