Growing number of cattle farms free of BVD
Bovine Viral Diarrhoea is one of the biggest issues faced by the cattle farming industry.

New figures show the continued success of voluntary database. 

The fight to eliminate Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) from all cattle in England is making progress, with a significant increase last year in the number of farms free of the disease.

The latest figures released by BVD Free England show that more than 350 additional farmers achieved BVD Free test status in 2022, taking the overall number to 1239. The voluntary scheme, launched in 2016, collects test data to provide a national database for the BVD status of individual animals and herds.

As the number of herds free of the disease grows, more farmers are joining the scheme. A total of 6659 holdings were registered with BVD Free England at the end of December 2022, an increase of 175 on the 6484 who were registered in July 2021. This means that 43.57 per cent of breeding cattle in England are now covered by the scheme.

Nicky Bowden, farm vet and a board member of both the BCVA and BVD Free England, said: “Combining the number of farmers using the BVD free database with those who are members of various CHECS schemes we can feel confident that we have quite a significant proportion of farmers managing the breeding cattle in England actively engaged, working towards BVD eradication.”

Tackling BVD is part of the Government’s Animal Health and Welfare Pathway, launched in 2022 to improve farm animal health and welfare. It is estimated that the disease costs the industry up to £36 million per year as well as increasing greenhouse gas emissions.  

Bill Mellor, chair of BVD Free England, said: “The English Animal Health and Welfare Pathway has recognised the importance of BVD control on farms by making it a priority disease for English cattle keepers and vets to engage with so it is important that we maintain momentum with the voluntary BVDFree scheme to demonstrate to the government that the industry is committed to BVD eradication.”