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BVD Eradication Case Study - Dumfires & Galloway Beef

Farmers Details

"Buying in a PI can lose me £500 if they’re not gaining weight."

  • Name Robin Spence
  • Location Lockerbie
  • Herd 120 breeding beef, 900 finishing herd beef
BVD Eradication Story

Robin decided to eradicate BVD from a business point of view, after finding BVD antibodies in his breeding herd. He sold 40 poor-dooers for improvement. Since then, annual tests have found no BVD.

Robin said:

“It takes 20 hours testing a year, not a big thing in the scheme of things, especially if you do it alongside other tests. If you know it’s BVD then you don’t waste time doing other tests”.

CowRobin also vaccinates annually, “not vaccinating against BVD is like not insuring your house. If there is a breakdown, it would be maximum cost to a naïve herd. The risk is too big.”

Robin has also been keeping BVD out of his finishing herd, after finding five PIs.

He said: “Some PIs looked normal and some were weaker. We took them straight to slaughter, unless they had just been wormed or had pneumonia medication, in that case we had to keep them isolated for a few weeks to be able to enter the food chain. After eradicating BVD there is less health problems, and more value.

"Buying in a PI can lose me £500 if they’re not gaining weight. At sale, if I know its BVD free its more desirable. If you don’t know it’s free – you’ve got to assume it’s not. People free of BVD should advertise it.”

Robin advises other farmers dealing with BVD to: "Do it all at once, otherwise it is a running sore. Rather than minimal testing, test everything. The sooner you eradicate BVD the better.”


Biosecurity measures taken to eradicate BVD
  • 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


Annual costs to eradicate BVD
Measures to eradicate BVD Year 1 Year 2 onwards

Blood tests (per animal)



Number of blood tests (per herd)



Lab fees



Total blood tests (per herd)



Vaccine per beast



Number of vaccines

120 x 2


Total vaccine cost



Farmers time £200 £200

Health Scheme membership



Cost for eradicating BVD (per animal)



Total cost for eradicating BVD (per herd)

*120 breeding herd