Fane Valley Staff Impressed by BVD Testing Laboratory at AFBI

Date published: 30 August 2017

Area of Expertise:

The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) recently hosted a visit to AFBI’s Veterinary Science Division (VSD) for Fane Valley Store Managers.

Fane Valley Store Managers who recently visited AFBI Veterinary Sciences Division

The wide range of work carried out in AFBI’s VSD was highlighted by VSD Director, Dr Stanley McDowell, who commented ‘VSD supports the local agri-food industry by providing a world class animal disease surveillance service and carrying out research on endemic diseases which affect the productivity and efficiency of livestock on local farms. We are delighted to host this visit by Fane Valley staff, as they are one of our largest local customers.’

Dr Maria Guelbenzu (Head of Disease Surveillance and Investigation Branch) highlighted the important work carried out at AFBI in regard to Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD). ‘Results from studies carried out at AFBI, supported by AgriSearch and DAERA’s Research Challenge Fund, were essential in informing decisions on the best programme design for our local industry through the cross-industry BVD Implementation Group set up by Animal Health and Welfare NI (AHWNI). AFBI research demonstrated that a direct approach, involving testing of calves for BVD virus, was the most appropriate programme for the disease situation in Northern Ireland and, with the start of the BVD eradication programme for NI, this is the model that was taken forward.’

AFBI’s longstanding experience in BVD diagnostics was put into practice in developing its internationally accredited BVD testing laboratory. The AFBI lab uses the latest molecular technologies to provide reliable, efficient and rapid tests in support of the BVD eradication programme in Northern Ireland. During last year alone, over 300,000 samples were tested and the majority of results in 2017 were released within 24 hours of arriving to the laboratory, even during the calving peak.

Commenting on their visit to the BVD laboratory, Patrick Donnelly (Livestock Identification Manager) said ‘this was a really useful and informative visit for Fane Valley staff. As one of the main ear tag providers in Northern Ireland, we are delighted to partner with AFBI as the only local laboratory with internationally recognised expertise in BVD testing.  We were most impressed by the facilities and staff expertise within AFBI and we now have a much better understanding of current procedures for processing and testing the tissue samples collected for the BVD programme’.

‘One of the key issues we want to highlight following our visit is that using the correct postage and filling in a submission form with the details of all the samples submitted is of great help to ensure quick processing and dealing with any issues’.

If you require further information on Fane Valley tags or wish to place an order call their dedicated tag team on 028 9261 0490 or email

Notes to editors: 

AFBI carries out high quality technology research and development, statutory, analytical, and diagnostic testing functions for DAERA and other Government departments, public bodies and commercial companies.

AFBI's Vision “Advancing the Local and Global Agri-Food Sectors Through Scientific Excellence”.

All media enquiries to AFBI Press Office

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