06 Jun 2017

National BVD Survey 2017 shows progress but also areas of concern

Around 75% of farmers participating in the 2017 National BVD Survey said that the benefit of being free from BVD is between £10-40 per cow, writes Boehringer Ingelheim’s Matt Yarnall who led the survey.

In excess of 600 beef and dairy herds from around the UK were represented in the survey which also revealed that half of respondents said they had a current BVD problem or had seen it in the past.

“That said, almost a fifth of farmers were not aware of the BVD status of their herd,” says Mr Yarnall. 

“The fact that so many respondents were unaware of the BVD status of their herd is of concern, particularly when there are BVD eradication schemes running throughout the UK, including compulsory schemes in Scotland and Northern Ireland. However, the findings are broadly the same as a previous survey we have conducted in 2016 and confirmed that BVD is still an issue on many farms across the UK.”

Survey respondents also seem to be failing to use vaccines correctly in a significant number of cases.  Nearly three quarters of farmers were using some vaccines inappropriately and failing to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. 

“It seems farmers either aren’t reading the instructions or are failing to follow them. Some vaccines require six monthly boosters when used on a whole herd basis in all-year-round calving herds, which was the commonest calving pattern reported, but this survey found that 71% of farmers using this type of vaccine were only vaccinating their herds once a year.

“Not only does this mean the vaccine will not provide the protection expected, but also that farmers are wasting their time and money unless it is given according to the stated vaccination interval,” explains Mr Yarnall.

Those farmers wanting to only vaccinate their herds once a year should ensure they are using a vaccine which offers a full 12 months’ protection from a single dose, such as Bovela®.

One of the other main findings was that a number of farmers are failing to tag calves correctly, only tagging live calves and not dead or aborted ones.

“Not tagging dead or stillborn calves means you cannot have an accurate picture of virus prevalence,” says Matt Yarnall.  “And of course, in some areas such as Northern Ireland it is a legal requirement to tissue sample all calves, live and dead.”


Graph 1 – Benefit of BVD control and eradication

Graph 2 – Ear tag testing habits

Boehringer Ingelheim is a supporter of the BVDFree England scheme.
Advice on the use of Bovela or other therapies should be sought from your veterinary surgeon. Bovela lyophilisate and solvent for suspension for injection for cattle contains modified live BVDV-1, non-cytopathic parent strain KE-9: 104.0–106.0 TCID50, Modified live BVDV-2, non-cytopathic parent strain NY-93: 104.0–106.0 TCID50. UK: POM-V. Further information available in the SPC or from Boehringer Ingelheim Limited, Vetmedica, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG12 8YS, UK. Tel: +44 (0)1344 746959 (sales & marketing enquiries) or +44 (0)1344 746957 (technical enquiries). Email: Date of preparation: Mar 2017. AHD 9805. 
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