Is BVD affecting your production?

Is BVD affecting your production?
Bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) is an infectious cattle disease that costs New Zealand's 25,000 beef farmers and 12,000 dairy farmers more than $150 million per year in direct production losses or about $4,000 per farm. Approximately 60% of our cattle and 80% of our herds have been exposed to the virus.

Due to the subtle and large range of symptoms we cannot see the true effect of this disease.
Persistently infected animals (PIs’) were infected in-utero and excrete the virus throughout their lives. These animals may not show any outwards clinical signs, but 50% will die before 2 years old. Some survive a lot longer and continue to infect other animals throughout their lives. Testing by blood, milk or ear notch is the only way to confirm.

Transiently infected animals (TI’s) become infected (usually from contact with a PI or their bodily fluids) and shed virus for a short time before mounting an immune response, clearing the virus and becoming immune for a few years, after which they can become re-infected.

Transiently infected breeding animals can become temporarily infertile, suffer abortions, produce deformed or small, slow growing calves, or create persistent animals. Infected animals have a reduction in immunity so are more likely to get infections such as mastitis or lameness. Youngstock can show signs such as decreased appetite, scours, rough coats, ill thrift, slow weight gain, and ulcers in the mouth.

Control of the disease consists of testing and removing of PI animals, and then prevention of re-infection. A step-wise approach can be used- just testing animals coming on farm and replacements will eventually result in a BVD free herd. Vaccination to protect animals from infection will prevent growth losses and creation of PIs.

For more information on the attempt to eradicate this expensive but silent disease have a look at or . We will also be holding a question and answer session at our upcoming Sheep and Beef Farmer Meetings in July., bring your questions along - more details at,nz/events

Date Added: Wednesday, 5th June 2019