Clear-out needed of PI calves
An animal health expert has warned the country is being held to "ransom" by around 600 herds retaining cattle persistently infected (PI) with BVD virus.
Riona Sayers, a dairy herd health researcher with Teagasc, said farmers should be made aware if there are PI animals being held on a next door farm.
Dr Sayers said experts have been calling for those in the vicinity of a farm with infected animals to be informed.
"While PIs remain we have sort of generated a nightmare scenario now where we are generating naive herds and also retaining a source of the virus through retained PIs," said Dr Sayers who was speaking at the Yara Irish Grassland Association dairy conference.
"I can't understand why there hasn't just been a clear-out of retained animals at this point in time.
"For over 900 young animals to hold the country to ransom for one particular disease where we've got 5.5 million to 6 million cattle - it is crazy."
The latest figures from Animal Health Ireland from December last show there were over 4,600 identified as positive herds. There were over 2.1 million calves tested last year, with only 0.33pc testing positive.
Dr Sayers said a portion of those testing positive are calves that have just not worked out of the system from 2015 yet.