Programme Requirements

1. You must tag calves born on or after 01/03/16 using official tissue enabled ID tags from a designated supplier. Tag all calves at the earliest opportunity.


Early testing of calves reduces the risk of their becoming transiently infected (TI) and giving a positive virus result, even though they are not persistently infected (PI). Avoiding TI animals will reduce the need for confirmatory re-testing. It also allows for key on farm management decisions to be made at the earliest opportunity. It will also help ensure that each calf is correctly matched to its dam. This is vitally important to the success of the programme, because if the calf is not persistently infected (PI), the dam cannot be PI either. In this way, the programme provides a two-for-one test. If the calf is PI the dam may also be PI, and would need to be tested (see 4 below).


 2. Test ALL calves born into the herd, including dead calves, aborted calves and stillbirths, 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. Remember BVD can cause a range of reproductive problems, including abortion.


3. Samples should be returned to the designated laboratory of choice at the earliest opportunity but not later than 7 days after sampling.


This ensures that the samples submitted are suitable for testing when received in the laboratory and that the information necessary to make key management decisions on the farm is available at the earliest opportunity. Store samples in a cool, dark place (ideally in a non-domestic fridge) prior to posting.


4.Carry out all necessary follow up testing following a positive or inconclusive result, which at minimum includes the testing of the dam of the positive calf, and if found positive the other offspring of the dam. 


This is necessary in order to identify and remove all PI animals from your herd as quickly as possible. This must be done using a blood sample collected by your veterinary surgeon. Re-tests should be carried out 3-4 weeks after the initial sample was collected.


5. A PI animal must not be moved off farm (Sold) and should be isolated from other cattle until it is culled or slaughtered. This also applies to animals requiring follow up testing (see 4 above).


PI animals are the main source of infection for cattle in their own and neighbouring herds. For the purpose of the programme an animal is considered to be PI if the initial test result is positive or inconclusive, or if the result of the retest gives a further positive or inconclusive result. It is illegal to sell a PI animal. It is recommended that PI animals are culled or slaughtered as soon as possible, and strictly isolated until this is done.


6. Do NOT sell or move from your herd any animal born on or after 01/03/16 unless you have a negative BVD test result for it from AHWNI.


Laboratories will report results electronically to the AHWNI database (95% within 7 working days, average 5 days) which will in turn notify you within 24 hours each time new results are received. Wherever possible, herd-owners should provide a mobile number for reporting results. All animals must be registered with NIFAIS in order to avoid delays in receiving results.


Contact us

Animal Health and Welfare NI (AHWNI) was formally launched in 2012. It is an industry-led, not-for-profit partnership between livestock producers, processors, animal health advisers and government.


Unit 49
Dungannon Enterprise Centre
2 Coalisland Rd
Co. Tyrone
BT71 6JT