England’s largest ever BVD scheme launches today – but what’s involved?

A £5.7million funding package to help farmers across England tackle the highly contagious disease Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) has been announced by Farming Minister George Eustice announced today.

BVD costs UK farmers an estimated £60 million a year. It impacts animal welfare within affected herds and reduces farm productivity and profitability.

The funding will be available in England for three years through the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE).

It will enable farmers to apply for one-to-one farm advisory visits by a veterinary practitioner. The vets will work with keepers of breeding cattle to tackle BVD on their farms.

The programme will also pull together new ‘clusters’ of cattle keepers to work together against BVD, by sharing best practice and tackle this disease as a group of like-minded individuals who share the goal of eradicating BVD from their herds.

‘A fantastic opportunity’

Eustice, who made the announcement today at the Lincolnshire Show, said: “This is a damaging disease that has a real impact on productivity, cattle health and welfare.

This funding presents an opportunity for farmers to get help in tackling BVD, improving cattle performance and reducing cost and antimicrobial use.

Christine Middlemiss, UK chief veterinary officer added: “This new scheme will include support for farm visits, screening cattle for disease, vet training, and the formation of local cluster groups. I encourage farmers and vets to sign up to this fantastic opportunity.”

The project is being delivered by SAC Consulting, part of Scotland’s Rural College, under the title ‘Stamp out BVD’.

The team will recruit local vets to offer the programme on the ground. It is larger than any previous BVD project in England in terms of both funding and scope, and offers a comprehensive package to farmers.

The project also includes some funding for testing, enabling farmers to improve business output while also reducing levels of the disease nationally.

SAC Consulting previously delivered a similar programme in Scotland.