Jul 052016

27.11.15 Pictured during the ICMSA AGM is Pat McCormack, ICMSA deputy president. Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association AGM. Southcourt Hotel, Limerick. Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene/Fusionshooters 

The latest figures from the on-going BVD programme show that good progress is being made towards the eradication of this virus but more progress could be made if the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine allocated more resources to the programme and really concentrated on the issue of ‘neighbour notification’ according to Pat McCormack, Deputy President of the ICMSA.  Calling on the Department to redouble efforts Mr McCormack said that since the 2015 rollout of on-farm restrictions on those farmers who retain persistently infected animals (PIs), the rate of retention has reduced dramatically. He said that credit was due to the Department on this but he was critical of the statistics that showed that neighbouring farms were notified in only 50% of the cases where restrictions had been applied. He made the point that peer pressure was a very significant factor in this kind of situation and the Department had committed some time ago to a policy of informing neighbouring farms of retention of persistently infected animals. The facts were abundantly clear: “If less PIs are held on farms, the infection rate for the following year should reduce as the virus passes while the cow in calf. On that basis, ICMSA is calling on the Minister to allocate the human recourses and personnel necessary to the make sure that all restrictions are up-to-date as we are currently in the middle of breeding season and, therefore, the optimal time for the virus to catch hold. This programme has to involve notification of neighbouring farms and the stats on this aspect are just not good enough”, he said

“Given the success of the on-farm restrictions in making those farmers who had previously retained PIs get rid of them, it makes complete sense to continue ensuring that anyone holding a PI longer than 7 weeks is restricted. The longer these PIs are retained the longer the programme will continue with farmers losing money through increased testing costs and overall herd health suffering also. Allocating the resources that will give us a faster removal will lead to faster eradication; it’s a ‘win-win’ situation for all involved in the programme – farmers, Department and wider industry alike”, said the ICMSA Deputy President.

Ends    5 July 2016.

Pat McCormack, 087-7608958

Deputy President, ICMSA.


Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758

ICMSA Press Office