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17 December 2012
A campaign spearheaded by the EBLEX and DairyCo divisions of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) to combat Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) and Sheep Scab is due to start next month.
The 15-month knowledge transfer campaign will kick-off with a series of train the trainer events for vets and briefings for other livestock advisers. 'Train the trainer' events will raise awareness of the diseases, with a particular emphasis on best practice in terms of diagnosis, prevalence and treatment. ADAS will deliver the Sheep Scab part of the project while XLVets will take the lead on BVD.
Vets will subsequently work with farmers on local disease control programmes and discuss how appropriate control strategies, including diagnostics and treatments, could be implemented to benefit all farmers in a specific area.
The £567,000 funding for the project came via a successful bid by AHDB under the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) Skills and Knowledge Transfer Framework which is jointly funded by Defra and the European Union. The diseases have been identified as industry priorities by the Cattle and Sheep Health and Welfare Groups (CHAWG and SHAWG), with estimates suggesting that BVD costs the UK beef and dairy industries around £40 million a year, while the cost of Scab to the British sheep industry is £8.3 million.
Clive Brown, EBLEX northern senior regional manager, said:
“This is a great opportunity to tackle both of these diseases which have a debilitating effect on not only the livestock themselves, but the overall profitability of the industry.
“We want to work with vets across England to help make this campaign as successful as possible and will be working closely with ADAS to deliver the project on Sheep Scab and XLVets on the BVD side. The ultimate aim of this collaborative approach is to promote positive changes to on-farm practices in how we tackle BVD and Scab.”
Ray Keatinge, DairyCo head of research and development, said:
“A number of local and regional BVD control initiatives have already been taking place in England. The aim of this project is to draw from existing and previous work to provide more national coverage.”