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Are you geared up for the new BVD testing arrangements?

in BVD 1st March 2016

BVD testing became mandatory in Northern Ireland on Tuesday March 1st. Earlier this week, Farming life’s Richard Halleron called in with Countryside Services Ltd’s customer service and production manager, Ruth Potter, to find out what exactly will be required of farmers, once the new scheme goes green.

Q: Is BVD testing now compulsory?
A: Yes the legislation states ‘all bovines born from the 01/03/16 must have a tissue sample taken for BVD testing’.

Q: What makes BVD tags unique?
A: One of the tags has been specifically designed to collect a tissue sample when tagging the calf. The matching tag can be applied using the same applicator, without the need to change pins.

Q: Can you explain the process for BVD tag and test?
A: The farmer contacts Countryside to order the Caisley BVD tag and is taken through the BVD permission form to sign up to the programme. The cost of each tag includes the cost of testing the tissue sample. Upon ordering your tags you will be supplied with pre-addressed envelopes for submitting samples to the testing laboratory with your tag delivery.

Q: Is it possible to have a demonstration on how to use the new tags?
A: Yes this was the concept behind the BVD Free NI initiative, which enables farmers to contact their local veterinary practice, local Ai Services technicians, or by calling into Countryside in Dungannon to order their tags and a have a demonstration of the new tagging method. An online demonstration is also available at www.bvdfreeni.com.

Q: How soon do I need to tag the calf?
A: Tag all calves at the earliest opportunity but no later than 7 days after birth. Make sure the calf is dry before tagging and that the right calf is matched up with its mother.

Q: Do I need a different applicator?
A: Yes new taggers are required in order to collect the tissue sample. One applicator can be used to apply both tags. To assist farmers Countryside are providing a free applicator on all orders over 30 tags.

Q: What happens the tissue samples once collected?
A: Samples should be stored in a cool place and posted within 7 days of taking the tissue sample. Place the sample vials into the clear plastic bags and pre-addressed envelopes provided by Countryside and make sure and put a large first class stamp on the envelope.

Q: I’m signed up to a herd health scheme, do I still need to BVD tag and test?
A: Yes the legislation states ‘all bovines born from the 01/03/16 must have a tissue sample taken for BVD testing’.

Q: What happens after I send the samples off for testing?
A: You will receive a text or letter advising you of the outcome of the test. In the event of a positive test, an empty sample or an inconclusive you will receive a letter.

Q: What happens if I have an empty sample?
A: Call Countryside Services Ltd with the animals ear tag number and we will arrange to send you a button tag to collect the sample, for retesting.

Q: After posting the sample to the designated laboratory for testing, how soon will I receive the results?
A: You should receive your results within 5-7 days. In 2015, during the voluntary phase 99.85% of Countryside customers received their results within 7 days.

Q: Is there a way of using my existing stock of tags and what are the benefits?
A: Yes Countryside can supply you with supplementary tag buttons that enables you to take a tissue sample, this will save you money as you don’t need to dispose of your existing tags. Just phone us with the numbers of the existing tags and we will take you through the process.

Q: What action should I take in the case of a positive or inconclusive result?
A: You should isolate the calf and its mother and arrange for your vet to carry out a blood sample of the animal to determine if they are Persistently Infected (PI).

Q: What do I do with a persistently infected (PI) animal?
A: If the follow up blood test confirms a further positive result, it is recommended that PI animals are culled or slaughtered as soon as possible and strictly isolated until this is done. Farmers are prohibited from selling PI animals.

Q: What do I do when I’m selling calves?
A: The farmer must provide evidence that the animals for sale have a negative BVD test result.

For animals born on or after 1st March 2016 evidence must be provided that the animals for sale have a valid negative BVD test. Animal test declarations can be downloaded and printed from the AHWNI website (animalhealthni.com)

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