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BVD Eradication Case Study - Caithness Beef

Farmers Details
  • Name Arnott Coghill

    "Once we eradicated BVD there was immediately less pneumonia, late calves, and poor-doers".

  • Location Caithness, Highlands
  • Herd 560 Simmental beef cattle, breeding/finishing
BVD Eradication Story

Arnott eradicated BVD 10 years ago, and has seen great economic and health benefits ever since.

Arnott explained:

“Once we eradicated BVD there was immediately less pneumonia, late calves, and poor-doers. We first noticed signs of BVD 12 years ago, with pneumonia and empty cows in the herd. Our vet suggested BVD testing, to look for PIs. After selling 35 old cows and blood testing all 430 cattle, we found 1 PI calf and all other cattle were green”, meaning there was past exposure to BVD."

The PI was slaughtered immediately to eradicate BVD.

Hereford cowArnott continued:

“Now, we isolate and test everything that comes in. It doesn’t take much time and only costs £4 per blood test, plus vet bills.”

They have had no further breakdowns, largely due to their vets advice to be aware of what you are buying.

Arnott said:

“It was much easier than we thought, and we have benefited from better response to antibiotics, better calving percentages, and have more cattle to sell.”


Benefits of BVD eradication
  • Calf mortality decreased
  • Fewer poor-dooers
  • Fewer baron heifers/ cows
  • Better calving percentage
  • 1/3 less veterinary charges per year
  • 1/3 less medicine charges per year
  • Slightly better sale value, but finishing herd


Biosecurity measures taken to eradicate BVD
  • Herd antibody test
  • Individual virus testing
  • Buying in accredited BVD free animals
  • Isolate new cattle
  • Blood check new animal before mixing
  • PI culling
  • Ensure breeding bull free of BVD
  • Fence maintenance
  • Double fencing


 Annual costs to eradicate BVD

Measures to eradicate BVD

Year 1

Year 2 onwards

Blood tests (per animal)



Number of blood tests (per herd)



Total cost of blood tests (per herd)

£1400 £80

Lab fees

£450 £120

Veterinary fees



Loss in value of cull cow



Farmers time



Cost for eradicating BVD (per animal)



Total cost for eradicating BVD (per herd)

*350 cattle Year 1, 220 cattle Year 2