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Bovine Virus Diarrhoea (BVD) control strategy

The Department of Environment Food and Agriculture is bringing forward a Bovine Viral Diarrhoea Order (BVD Order) to control the prevalence of BVD infection, with the aim of eradicating the disease in the medium term. 

BVD is a commonly occurring disease, which has serious financial implications for cattle producers and dairy herds. Calculations by the Department have indicated that total direct and indirect losses due to this disease amount to ~£750,000/per year within the Isle of Man National herd. With the average Dairy herd losing £13,500/year and the average Beef herd losing £4600/year. 

In response to such large losses within the Industry, the Department developed a cost-effective strategy to allow detection and removal of Persistently Infected (PI) animals. This scheme was voluntary in 2013, but now becomes compulsory from January 2014. 

Jan 2014 Update: 

  • 66% of holdings that breed cattle have joined the voluntary tagging scheme (138 of 208 holdings)
  • 7150 calves have been officially registered and tested
  • 80.2% of all calves born this year have been tested for BVD using the special tags
  • Only 55 persistently infected (PI) calves (0.76% of calves tested) have been identified so far on 14 different holdings (as at 31 December 2013) 

Basics of the legislation:

  • All calves, including dead and stillborn must be tested using the official tags;
  • Animals born after January 2014 can only be moved once a negative result is received (unless official permission is given by Animal Heath);
  • Dams of unknown PI status who have a PI positive calf will be served with a Notice to Test;
  • Breeding bulls can only be moved once a negative result is received;
  • PI animals cannot move to another holding - their only permissible movement isdirectto slaughter as last pick-up only or to be culled. 

There are a number of strategies that will assist in controlling disease: 

  • maintaining good biosecurity;
  • advice from your own veterinary surgeon on the suitability of vaccination,
  • purchasing animals of known BVD status, and
  • a Health Plan strategy for all bought in cattle. 

Please see the BVD FAQ (downloadable document on the right) for much more information and discuss your particular farm’s requirements with your veterinary surgeon. 

How much is it going to cost me?

The Department will provide tags as usual, a new set of taggers (free) and 40% of the lab test for 2014 – 2015 calf crop, and 20% for 2015 – 2016 calf crop. This means you will be paying £1.95/test for the 2014 calf crop. Payment will be deducted from your CCS payment in April of each year.

What happens next?

You will be able to be shown how to use the TST when you collect your tag supply from DEFA HQ.

You will also be provided with lab submission forms and envelopes. Please remember to add the correct postage and post them weekly. Further forms are available on the BVD page of our website. Additional envelopes are available from Animal Health. 

How will I receive my results?

Results will be sent direct to you, by e-mail or fax, and DEFA will receive a copy; all results will be recorded on the BIT system. If you do not have a fax or e-mail address – please supply your private vet e-mail address.LGC and DEFA are unable to post out results.

Why is the Department making it compulsory?

The results for the Voluntary Scheme in 2013 were very encouraging. This has moved the Island towards a goal of full control and eventual eradication. Working together we will improve the health status and productivity of the whole Island herd. The Legislation will ensure that PI animals are not sold, moved on Island, and that certain dams of PI calves, and breeding bulls will be tested. 

Agriculture Directorate

Thie Slieau Whallian

Foxdale Road

St John's


Telephone:+44 1624 685844

Email:Send Email

Laboratory Address:
LGC Limited

TSE/BVDV Department

Darwin House

Faraday Street

Birchwood Park




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