BVD compensation scheme on the cards - Chestnutt

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Ulster Farmers’ Union deputy president Victor Chestnutt has given a broad hint that DAERA is considering a BVD compensation measure to further facilitate the eradication of the disease.

Speaking at a Union roadshow meeting in Limavady on Monday evening of this week, he said that the initiative would be used to get Persistently Infected (PI) animals off farm as quickly as possible.

He added: “We are in discussion with the Department on this matter. And further details will follow.”

Mr Chestnutt also confirmed that ‘apology’ letters would be sent out by DAERA to those farmers who had previously been written to by the Department regarding the BVD test status of calves.

“The reality is that many of these animals had actually been tested prior to their movement,” he said.

“But the actual test results were not showing up on the APHIS data base quickly enough.”

Mr Chestnutt acknowledged that the current scheme must be tweaked to make it more workable and relevant from the point of view of all stakeholders.

Meanwhile, large numbers of farmers have contacted Farming Life, angry at receiving letters from DAERA, which claimed they had moved calves on without having them tested for BVD. All claimed they had followed the BVD testing protocols to the letter.

One particular farmer related a case of having sold calves on November 11th last, for which BVD test results had been received from AHWNI three days earlier. Yet DAERA subsequently wrote out to the producer in question, claiming that the calves had not been tested prior to their movement off the farm.

Many of the farmers contacting Farming Life also complained bitterly about the lack of clear information and advice they had received from DAERA and AHWNI when both organisations were contacted on the BVD testing issue.

On a related matter, National Milk Records (NMR) has confirmed that it provides a guaranteed postage service on all envelopes used to submit tissue samples for BVD testing purposes, courtesy of its current tagging scheme.