Estimates put annual losses for dairy farmers at around $127 million with losses of $70,000 annually for each average-sized infected herd.
What is BVD?
BVD is a serious and widespread disease in New Zealand that around 80% of New Zealand’s dairy and beef herds have been exposed to. It causes reproductive losses, an increase in general disease, reduced growth rates and lowered milk production. BVD is a hidden disease preventing full production in a number of ways, often without attracting the attention of the farmer or veterinarian.
The disease is maintained in the herd and spread to other herds by persistently infected (PI) animals.
PI animals excrete large amounts of virus throughout their lives. PI animals occur when an early pregnant (fetus less than four months old) naïve cow gets infected with BVD. The resulting calf is born a PI. The cow may not have shown any obvious signs of BVD infection at the time.
To control BVD the formation of PI calves must be prevented by making sure early pregnant cows do not become infected with the virus.
There are a number of things that can be done to control BVD:
- testing animals and culling PIs
- monitoring the BVD status of the herd
- managing the health status of animals coming onto the farm, and
The good news is that implementing just some of the above will make a difference.
Control is a four-step process:
- Define if BVD is in the herd
- Assess the level of risk for the farm
- Action a control plan to mitigate these risks
- Monitor to make sure it is working
Ask your veterinarian to work through this process with you as they have tools to assist.