Animal health meeting for Larne farmers

A MEETING organised by Larne Ulster Farmers’ Union is to highlight how local dairy farmers can help prevent costly animal health problems such as bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV).

An AgriSearch co-funded study recently undertaken by AFBI, Veterinary Sciences Division has revealed wide-spread exposure to BVDV in Northern Ireland dairy herds.

BVD is one of the most economically important endemic diseases of cattle with a recent study for Animal Health Ireland, a joint government and industry organisation in the RoI, showing that BVD is costing the Republic’s agricultural industry at least €102 million per year. Not surprising given that possible outcomes of infection in susceptible cattle include failure to conceive, abortions, malformed foetuses, stillbirths and the birth of PI carrier calves.

A spokesperson for the UFU have stated: “BVD is a particular problem here in Northern Ireland and is very costly to farmers. By eradicating it from their herds dairy farmers could save an enormous £15,800 per year and beef farmers could save approximately £2,400 per year.”

A meeting to address this and other animal health problems will take place on Tuesday, February 7 at 8pm in the Wellington Rec Football Club, Millbrook.

Colin Smith from the UFU will discuss the work of the Cattle Health Steering group which is currently developing a BVD Eradication Strategy for Northern Ireland in both beef and dairy herds. He will be joined by Michael Woodside from Clare Veterinary Group who will discuss the practical implications of BVD and other animal health diseases and infections that can infect herds in Northern Ireland.

Refreshments will be provided after the meeting