THE Ulster Farmers’ Union is warning that new Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) status requirements will have to be met next year when exporting cattle to the Republic of Ireland.
Under the new Export Health Certificates (EHCs) that came into effect in October 2021, BVD status at both herd and individual animal level will determine eligibility for exporting to Member States that either have an EU approved BVD Eradication Programme or have achieved BVD Free status.
UFU deputy president William Irvine said: “Farmers who intend to sell cattle across the border need to be aware of the moving goalposts as ROI works towards BVD freedom.
“In a few months’ time, when approval is granted before ROI gain complete BVD freedom, new requirements will have to be met.
“This would include quarantine as well as additional blood testing of animals to be sold, but there would be fewer additional requirements if herds in Northern Ireland had the ability to be assigned a herd level BVD status.
“DAERA must deliver on this ask in order to lessen the financial burden for our members, they cannot be expected to fork out for additional costs and comply with multiple new processes.
“To do anything less would create a major trade barrier which is not an option.
“When ROI is declared as being completely BVD free, which looks to be in 2023, ROI farmers will not be able to purchase any animal which has been vaccinated against BVD.
“Those NI farmers who currently sell cattle to ROI or intend to in the future, need to take note of this new requirement.
“Before making any decisions about ceasing vaccination, we encourage farmers to carefully discuss this decision and any unintended consequences with their veterinary practitioner.
“ROI have arrived at a position where they can apply for BVD freedom after several years of stern measures.
“We’re continuing to lobby DAERA for further restrictions on any herds which retain BVD PI animals, including herd restrictions and neighbour notifications.
“So far, the NI farming industry has been leading on BVD eradication with DAERA facilitating some of our requests.
“It’s disappointing that NI are not yet in a place to apply for BVD freedom and have to consider the implications of BVD trading requirements as an issue.”