Baf­fling surge in ‘empty’ BVD sam­ples

Irish Independent - Farming - - NEWS - MARTIN RYAN

A MA­JOR surge in the ‘fail­ure’ rate of BVD ear tag tis­sue sam­ples in lab­o­ra­tory test­ing in 2017 has left farm­ers and in­dus­try sources baff led.

The IFA has asked the De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture for an in­ves­ti­ga­tion to de­ter­mine the cause of the prob­lem which it claims is “go­ing to add a huge cost” to farm­ers.

A spokesper­son for the Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture, Michael Creed con­firmed that 21,074 tag tis­sue sam­ples sub­mit­ted by farm­ers for BVD test­ing in 2017 were found to be “empty” — mean­ing no tis­sue was avail­able for anal­y­sis.

This rep­re­sents a 60pc in­crease on the fail rate in 2016 which had been on a down­ward slide.

In­ves­ti­ga­tion

The fail rate for 2016 was 13,000 tags con­tin­u­ing the down­ward pat­tern of prior years.

To­mas Bourke, ex­ec­u­tive sec­re­tary of IFA An­i­mal Health Com­mit­tee said “some­thing went wrong and it is not the farm­ers’ fault so we have asked for an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the de­part­ment”.

A spokesper­son for the min­is­ter dis­missed the re­quest how­ever, de­scrib­ing the fail rate as “not sig­nif­i­cant”.

Euro­tags, the largest sup­plier, con­firmed there was no change in the tags sup­plied, while Cor­mac Tag­ging said the empty tags is­sue was un­ex­plain­able be­cause “the tis­sue sam­ple is clearly vis­i­ble within the cap­sule” of the tags which it sup­plied.

Mean­while, the De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture has con­firmed the in­ci­dence of BVD in calves tested in 2017 was “down to 0.1pc”.

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