NI BVD Eradication Programme

Part of: Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD)

Area of Expertise:

Information about the Northern Ireland BVD eradication programme

BVD Eradication Programme for Northern Ireland

Animal Health and Welfare Northern Ireland (AHWNI) was launched in 2012 as a not-for-profit organisation to promote and co-ordinate the control of unregulated diseases in the cattle sector in Northern Ireland that impact on trade and competitiveness and that are not subject to national control programmes.

It operates in a manner similar to, and in close cooperation with, Animal Health Ireland (AHI), an analogous body established in the South of Ireland in 2009.

The compulsory phase of the BVD eradication programme implemented by AHWNI started on 1st March 2016.  The voluntary phase has previously been in place since 1st January 2013.

A programme for Johne’s disease is currently under development.

For more Information on the Programme:
Telephone : +44(0)28 8778 9126

How does the programme work?

The programme requires the compulsory testing of all calves born for the initial 3 years. 
The guidelines for 2016 are:

  1. Tag calves at the earliest opportunity but not later than 7 days after birth. Early sampling of calves reduces the risk of their being transiently infected (TI) at the time of sampling and giving a positive virus result, even though they are not persistently infected (PI).
  2. Test all calves born into the herd, including stillbirths and abortions, using a tissue sample-enabled tag purchased from a designated tag supplier. This is necessary to ensure that virus-positive calves are not missed and that infection, if present, is identified and dealt with as quickly as possible. Approximately 5% of foetuses submitted to AFBI test positive for BVD virus.
  3. Samples should be returned to the designated laboratory at the earliest opportunity but not later than 7 days after sampling.
  4. Carry out all necessary follow up testing following the discovery of a PI animal, which at minimum includes the testing of the dam of the positive calf, and if found positive the other offspring of the dam that are still on the far.
  5. A PI animal must not be moved off farm and should be isolated from other cattle until it is culled or slaughtered.

Testing at AFBI

Tags will be sold as a “tag and test” combination, with packaging for submission of samples also supplied. AFBI is one of the designated laboratories and works with a number of tag suppliers for providing this service.
AFBI works with the following designated tag suppliers:

Fane Valley Stores

9 Cecil Street,
Portadown BT62 3AT
Co. Armagh,
Northern Ireland

Tel: +44(0)28 3839 4900
Fax: +44(0)28 3835 0139


7a Churchfield Road,
Ballycastle BT54 6PJ,
Co. Antrim,
Northern Ireland 

Tel: +44(0)28 2076 8696
Fax: +44(0)28 2076 8699

Countryside services

Countryside Services Ltd.,
97 Moy Road,
Dungannon BT71 7HA,
Co. Tyrone

Tel: +44(0)28 8778 9770
Fax: +44(0)28 8778 8200


Fearby Road,
Ripon HG4 4ES,
North Yorkshire,

Tel: +44(0)17 6568 9541

Holden Agriculture

Holden Agriculture Ltd,
27 Art Road,
Strabane BT82 0LR,
Co Tyrone

Tel: +44(0)28 7138 2283
Fax: +44(0)28 7138 2090

How will the programme affect the BVD testing within AFBI Cattle Health Scheme?

Herds which are BVD accredited or vaccinated monitored free will be recognised in the NI BVD eradication programme as a higher status herds.

The status will be recorded in the programme database and it will be displayed when issuing a declaration of negative results. At the same time, all herds participating in the NI BVD eradication programme will have to test all calves born in the herd with tissue tags, including AFBI Cattle Health Scheme herds.

The new CHeCS technical document which was updated July 2015, introduced the calf virus test as a new alternative to the check test for achieving or maintaining accreditation. This must test all calves born into the herd over the previous 12 months for BVD virus.

A positive result for any animal in the calf virus test is a fail. If every animal is virus negative the result is a pass.  This means that results for samples taken for the BVD voluntary programme can also be used to achieve or maintain your accreditation.

In addition, you will get a result for every one of your calves and, indirectly, for their dams.

How long will it take for the samples to be tested?

Results will be available in 7-10 working days after receipt of the samples.

How will I get the results?

Results will be reported to the AHWNI cattle health database and a text will be sent to your mobile phone. Results will also be sent to your nominated vet.

How do we handle your personal information?

Read our Privacy Notice - Disease Surveillance and Investigation Branch to learn how we handle your personal information in relation to the scheme. This also contains a link to the AHWNI Privacy Notice to tell you how that organisation manages your personal data.