Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) costs the UK agriculture industry £39.6m a year in losses – equivalent to £37 a cow.
This figure led to a pilot control programme involving 40 farms across the Coquet Valley, Northumberland, in 2011.
It was organised by Alnwick-based Alnorthumbria Veterinary Group, which piloted a new system to control BVD.
All farms taking part received a free herd health planning visit including free BVD blood screening, collection of on-farm production data and a written BVD action plan.
Leading the project on behalf of Alnorthumbria was Jenny Hall, who will talk on the subject at the NBA Beef Expo seminarsn in Hexham tomorrow.
In addition to heading up the programme, Jenny is also on the independent vets group XLVETS’ national BVD steering group, which is looking at the future and national control of the virus.
She said: “When we started out with the BVD scheme we covered 20 farms and this has grown to more than 85 farms in Northumberland.
“What was unique about our approach was the collaboration we had and the openness among the farmers involved.
“We looked at farms on a farm-by-farm basis to look at their boundaries with neighbours as most don’t have boundaries in terms of disease control. Our scheme is the only one like it in the UK.
“It is fantastic that XLVETS have secured further funding to continue the scheme, as I really feel that England is being left behind.
“So many countries already have national schemes in place such as Scotland, Ireland, Germany and Sweden.”
Knowing the health status of your herd is essential and cannot be left for granted, as Jenny will discuss in her talk.
She will also touch on the need for a national eradication scheme and legislation.