The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) has said it has “ongoing concerns” regarding the support available for a successful rollout of the recently announced bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) legislation.

Earlier this month, the Welsh government announced that, from July 1, 2024, cattle keepers in Wales will be required to screen their herds for BVD by testing a small number of cattle annually.

Cattle keepers will have until July 1, 2025, to complete the first annual BVD test on their herd.

The Welsh government also announced that keepers will be required to isolate persistently infected (PI) animals from the rest of the herd for the remainder of their lives.

FUW policy officer Elin Jenkins said: “With the estimated annual costs of BVD for a 100 cow beef herd of £4,500, and upwards of £15,000 for a 130 cow dairy herd, it was anticipated that an immediate introduction of this legislation would have stamped out the remaining pockets of BVD following the success of the voluntary Gwaredu BVD screening programme.

“However, 18 months have passed since the funding provided by the Welsh government for Gwaredu BVD ended which has resulted in a reported 83% less submissions for BVD testing by the Wales Veterinary Science Centre.”

Jenkins said the legislation is a step in the right direction towards eradicating BVD in Wales, but that there are ongoing concerns regarding the support available for a successful rollout of the legislation.

“We now call on the Welsh government to continue supporting the industry and its ambitions to improve the health and welfare of cattle.

“The eradication of BVD would not only benefit the health and welfare of Welsh cattle leading to improved farm efficiencies and reduction of carbon footprint, it would extend to promoting Welsh producers in current and future trade negotiations bringing Wales in line with many other countries that already have a BVD-free disease status.”