BVD Screening Hits 7,000 Target In Wales

10th Dec 2018


The Gwaredu BVD £10 million three year voluntary screening programme is available to all Welsh cattle farms, and is managed by Coleg Sir Gâr’s Agriculture Research Centre in partnership with the Royal Veterinary College. BVD screening is undertaken at the same time as TB testing to provide the necessary support and guidance to ensure farmers can correctly and quickly identify herds infected with BVD. Support will also be available to find the persistently infected (PI) animals from infected herds.


The programme was promoted to the large number of visitors to the Winter Fair, where John Griffiths, manager of the Agriculture Research Centre at Coleg Sir Gâr’s Gelli Aur campus said: “We’re announcing that 7,000 of the 11,000 cattle herds in Wales have now been screened, and we’re really proud of this achievement, as we aim to eradicate the disease from Wales. Farmers are now much more aware of the implications of the disease, and have discovered just how quick and easy it is to get screened. Working together with farmers and vets we can beat BVD.”

Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) is a viral disease in cattle that causes immunosuppression and reproductive failure. The disease can reduce fertility, increase incidences of abortion and cause pneumonia in affected stock, creating drastic, long-lasting personal and financial effects on all affected farms.

The welfare and financial consequences are significant, with an approximate cost of £4,500 per year for the average beef herd, and £15,000 for dairy herds as a result of poor fertility, reduced milk yields, low daily live weight gains, fever, diarrhoea and respiratory problems. Screening is free, and the programme also provides up to £500 for livestock farmers to work with their vet, but this funding will run out in 2020 when testing is likely to be compulsory, so a new campaign is being launched to reach all farmers in the country and get them to act now to stop the disease spreading.


Christianne Glossop is Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, and visited the Gwaredu BVD stand at the Winter Fair. Christianne said: “Getting to 7,000 herds is amazing. I’m really excited, as this is about the industry coming together in a great collaborative effort, focusing on a common problem that’s causing hardship and affecting the bottom line of farms. It’s an ideal programme to get behind, it’s totally possible to eradicate BVD, and provides a working model for dealing with other diseases in the future.  The vets are primed and ready, and the challenge is now on for those farmers who aren’t yet on the programme not to get left behind.”


Eradicating BVD is a priority of the Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework Group, and is funded by the Welsh Government’s Rural Development Programme.