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BVD Eradication Case Study - Aberdeenshire Beef

Farmers Details

"It didn’t take long to eradicate in the end, only 10 hours per year."

  • Name David Smith

  • Location Aberdeenshire
  • Herd 150 Beef
BVD Eradication Story

David’s herd was naïve to BVD, until a stray bull broke into his summer grazing field. The next year, weaning calves started dying. In six days, six calves died. There was scouring, passive blood, they stopped eating and pined away, getting weaker until they couldn’t get up.

David said:

"We tried lots of different things, but unfortunately our local vets were not fully aware of the disease at the time. We were warned about the risks of BVD through the NFUS. Finally we took the bodies to SAC research lab, and they confirmed the underlying cause was BVD. We returned this uncastrated male to his owner several times, but he kept returning. Finally we decided to take him to be slaughtered, but this was no easy matter, as he was unaccustomed to being handled.

cattle “After we confirmed there were no more PIs in the herd, I started vaccinating, and have had no problems with BVD since. I would never go back to not vaccinating.”

To maintain his BVD free status, David screens the herd with blood tests every year, has stopped summer grazing, only buys in bulls from BVD free herds, disinfects the premises every year, and doesn’t buy in calves anymore.

David said: "It didn’t take long to eradicate in the end, only 10 hours per year. There are enough other things to die of without BVD as well. The health of the herd has improved.”


Benefits of BVD eradication
  • Better turn around, now they are one month faster to finishing weight
  • Calf mortality decreased
  • Number of abortions decreased
  • Peace of mind


Biosecurity measures taken to eradicate BVD
  • Disinfects premises annually 
  • Herd antibody test
  • Individual virus testing
  • Buying in accredited BVD free animals
  • Operate closed herd
  • PI culling
  • Vaccination
  • Ensure breeding bull free of BVD
  • Fence Maintenance
 Annual costs to Eradicate BVD
Measures to eradicate BVD

Annual Costs

Blood tests (per animal)


Number of blood tests (per herd)


Total cost of blood tests (per herd) £100

Veterinary fees


Number of cattle (vaccinated)


Total vaccine cost


Farmers time


Cost for eradicating BVD (per animal)


Total cost for eradicating BVD (per herd)

*150 cattle