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BVD Eradication Case Study - Peterhead Beef

Farmers Details
  • Name Peter Robertson

    "You cannot just vaccinate, you need to eradicate PIs first."

  • Location Aberdeenshire

  • Herd 153 Angus Beef
BVD Eradication Story

Peter Robertson said:

“Our BVD eradication started when I was told 'every £1 you spend on BVD eradication, you get back £19 in savings', in a talk by Alastair Stott (SAC).

"I joined a Hi Health Scheme in 2000, and they confirmed we were Johne’s free, but there was antibody evidence of BVD. We blood tested all young calves and found one Persistently Infected (PI) calf. We shot it on farm and disposed of it. As the herd was green we decided not to vaccinate. But then in 2004 we had a breakdown, we’re not sure how it occurred, but we found another PI. In 2007 we became BVD free again, since then we’ve been vaccinating and blood testing.

“It’s been quite straight forward to eradicate. It hasn’t really affected our time, as we coordinated BVD testing with testing for TB, Johne’s, and Brucella.

CowThe main benefits of eradicating BVD have been welfare of the cattle, achieving premium prices, and health has improved. It makes the job more satisfying for myself and staff. We don’t have to control for pneumonia or scours anymore. It’s much cheaper now we don’t buy expensive drugs, only vaccines.

“We sell all steer calves to one buyer now, who wants BVD accredited stock. It’s better for us, because we get the Aberdeen sale average, but have no haulage or market costs, saving 12p per kilo."

Peter advises:

“You cannot just vaccinate, you need to eradicate PIs first. Once accredited, start vaccinating. By eradicating BVD, the overall heard health is improved, with less scours and pneumonia, because BVD supresses the immune system.”


Benefits of BVD eradication
  • Decreased calf mortality
  • Improved herd health
  • Calving percentage improved, from 85% to 94%
  • Calving interval improved
  • Decreased veterinary bills
  • Decreased medicine bills
  • Healthy and thriving better
Biosecurity measures taken to eradicate BVD
  • Herd antibody test
  • Buying in accredited BVD free animals
  • Isolate new cattle
  • Operate closed herd
  • 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 and Lab Fees (per animal)

£7.54 £7.54

Number of blood tests (per herd)

150 x 2


Total cost of blood tests (per herd)



Vaccine per beast



Number of vaccines

150 x 2


Total vaccine cost



Loss in value of cull cow



Total removing two PIs



Health Scheme


Farmers time



Cost for eradicating BVD (per animal)



Total cost for eradicating BVD (per herd)

*150 cattle