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BVD Eradication Case Study - Borders Beef

Farmers Details
  • Name William Barrie

    "If you had experienced BVD you would want to get rid of it."

  • Location Borders
  • Herd 200+ Beef
BVD Eradication Story

William Barrie knew there was a major problem when he found seven dead calves in 2006 and twenty seven dead calves in 2007.

BVD spread after he bought in three heifers, William explained: “two of them looked fine, but they didn’t calve well. Calves were getting ill one day from birth. One day, four calves aged 2-5 days died of pneumonia and meningitis. The cows weren’t looking well, they were losing fitness and weight. We couldn’t understand why. A vet found the underlying problem was BVD. Both heifers were PIs and the source of the outbreak. We sent them straight to slaughter.

Ear Tags Cattle“After that our policy was to blood test everything brought in. The main benefit has been less mortality in the calves for sure, and needing less pneumonia medicine.

“Unfortunately that wasn’t the end of our BVD problems. We bought in a store bullock in October 2009. It turned out to be a PI, so we culled it. Then in 2011 we bought in two heifers, we didn’t know they were already pregnant. When they calved we took them into the shed, and kept them isolated for a month before testing. One of the calves was a PI, so we culled it straight away. BVD has been a nightmare, it will use up your time when you get it.

“Eradicating BVD has not been a big deal, only the time to take blood tests. We would much rather test than get another outbreak. If you’d experienced BVD you would want to get rid of it. BVD is very simple to eradicate if you follow the rules. You can vaccinate until you’re blue in the face, but you’ll still get BVD if you have a PI. Test everything that’s bought in, and keep them isolated the best you can. If you find a PI – cull it immediately, just get rid of it."


Benefits of BVD eradication
  • Better calving percentage
  • Calf mortality dropped more than 1/3
  • Decreased veterinary bills
  • Decreased medicine bills
  • Less time treating ill calves
  • Slight increase in time for calves to reach finishing weight


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
  • Vaccination
  • Ensure breeding bull free of BVD
  • Fence Maintenance
  • Double fencing