First PI calf identified by BVD testing programme Caitriona Murphy
Animal Health Ireland's (AHI) fledgling BVD eradication scheme has identified its first persistently infected (PI) animal, just days into the new year.
The PI animal is believed to be an autumn-born calf owned by a farmer who was one of the first to take part in the voluntary scheme.
While no further details about the animal have been released, AHI chief executive Joe O'Flaherty has promised that regular reports will be made public about all PI animals identified through the scheme.
Sales of tissue sample button tags for the scheme have surpassed expectations, with more than 180,000 tags ordered by farmers so far.
Two major publicity campaigns running this week are also expected to boost uptake in the scheme.
Tag orders in the region of 200,000 would represent 10pc of the total annual calf registration and Mr O'Flaherty said AHI was confident that tag orders would exceed this level "comfortably".
"We are very encouraged by the level of uptake so far," he said. "Although we did not have a defined target to meet."
Some 200 tissue samples have been analysed by laboratories participating in the scheme so far.