The Irish Farmers Journal understands that no resolution has been reached yet regarding a bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) support payment for all farmers under the 2024 support programme, and that discussions are ongoing between the Department of Agriculture and relevant stakeholders.

An additional sum of €2.25m was allocated under the 2023 BVD national eradication programme to subsidise the cost of testing calves. The payment of €2/head was payable on the first 25 calves born in a herd, equating to a maximum payment of €50/herd.

The BVD implementation group has recommended that this payment be expanded in the 2024 scheme, with farm organisations maintaining that any support payment must cover all calves born in 2024.

A spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture told the Irish Farmers Journal that the Department is “in the process of finalising its overall comprehensive support package, including funding, towards the BVD eradication programme for 2024”.

Financial support

While there is no decision on the support payment for all farmers, the Department confirmed that “it will continue to provide an extensive range of critical supports for BVD test positive herds this year, to ensure that the risk of future disease breakdown is lowered and the risk to other herds is reduced”.

It is not guaranteed, but it is likely that payments will follow a similar pattern to recent years, with the payments achieving good success from offering higher compensation for quicker removal of BVD test-positive calves.

The payments for each eligible beef calf removed to a knackery, abattoir or meat plant and recorded on the AIM system was as follows:

  • €220 if the animal is removed within 10 days of the first positive or inconclusive test.
  • Or €30 if the animal is removed between days 11 and 21 of the first positive or inconclusive test.
  • In the case of dairy calves the payment was as follows:

  • €160 if the dairy female or dairy-cross animal is removed within 10 days of positive or inconclusive BVD test.
  • Or €30 if the dairy female or dairy cross animal is removed between day 11 and 21 of the first positive or inconclusive BVD test.
  • Or €30 if the dairy bull is removed within 14 days of the positive or inconclusive BVD test.
  • 2024 results

    Farmers with BVD test positive calves are recommended to follow the guidelines with regard to swift removal of calves in 2024.

    The latest BVD programme results published by Animal Health Ireland (AHI) show just five calves testing positive for BVD in 2024, compared to 18 calves for the corresponding period in 2023.

    These calves were located in four herds compared to 12 herds in 2023.

    The number of calves tested in 2024 stands at 46,805 calves, significantly lower than the 72,040 tested for the first five weeks in 2023.

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