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West Coast Initative Highlights Healthy Stock

26 October 2009

UK - The West Coast of Scotland’s reputation for high quality beef calves and breeding stock has been further enhanced after a pilot study into the presence of the devastating cattle disease Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) gave participating farmers a clean bill of health.

The pilot was co-ordinated and part-funded by National Farmers' Union (NFU) Scotland, part-sponsored by animal health firm Intervet Schering-Plough and involving the veterinary practices on Mull and around Oban. Ahead of this year’s calf and breeding sales, vets blood tested groups of calves from participating herds as part of the NFUS initiative. No active disease was found.

With a number of herds already involved in BVD accreditation schemes and others actively screening for the disease, buyers at the autumn sales have a wider range of animals to buy from safe in the knowledge that the stock are free from this disease.

The Mull calf sale has already taken place with the Oban sale, conducted by Caledonian Marts, taking place on Tuesday, 27th October. At the event, NFUS will sponsor the prizes for the best pen of heifers accredited or screened free of BVD with the judging carried out by NFUS LFA Committee chairman Sandy Tulloch.

NFUS is now looking at rolling the trial out to farmers and crofters on Tiree.

NFU Scotland Vice-President, Nigel Miller said: “If BVD enters a herd, it has the potential to ruin the fertility of animals, lower growth rates and seriously undermine the viability and performance of the stock. It is in the interest of every cattle breeder that measures are taken to control and eradicate BVD from their herds."

He continued: “This NFUS-sponsored testing has shown that, on the West Coast, those producing breeding heifers and beef calves have an excellent track record of low disease levels on which to build.

Those coming to Oban to buy calves can do so in the confidence that a wide range of stock will be available from herds where the risk of buying in BVD is extremely low, Mr Miller said. He felt that due to the success of NFUS-led initiatives on the West Coast and in Aberdeenshire, there was real potential for similar programmes to be started up around the country.

Further Reading

- Find out more information on BVD by clicking here.

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