ICSA says farmers should not have to bear full cost of BVD elimination

12th November, 2012

The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association says the cost of eradicating BVD shouldn’t be borne solely by farmers.  

The eradication programme, being run by Animal Health Ireland, was launched on a voluntary basis earlier this year, and the compulsory phase will commence at the start of 2013.  While a limited compensation package was available for the voluntary phase, none has been agreed for the compulsory stage.  

Chair of the ICSA National Suckler Committee, Dermot Kelleher, has called on the Department of Agriculture to make a compensation package available to lessen the burden on farmers in the drive to eradicate the disease.  “I would emphasise that we are firmly behind the target to eliminate BVD from the herd; however, as it stands now, farmers will carry the full financial burden in the case of a positive result from the tissue sample and I’m very concerned about that.”

Mr. Kelleher said, “Suckler farmers in particular will find this very difficult, as it costs €50 to dispose of a calf to the knackery, on top of the economic cost of the cow being effectively unproductive for the year.  The slaughter of a calf due to a positive BVD test represents the loss of 100% of the income from the dam for that year.”

“I’m fully aware that if it’s successful in the long run, the eradication scheme will reduce costs for farmers.  However, it is just too much of a financial burden to place on farmers while the programme is running.  There needs to be a fair compensation scheme set out that will realistically address the losses farmers will incur as a result of the testing regime,” Mr. Kelleher concluded.