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39
OCTOBER 2018
www.irishfarmersmonthly.com
Herd Health Focus
With a new three-year plan in place up to the end of
2020, Animal Health Ireland has
a clear vision of its role in advancing the health status
of Irish livestock as outlined by AHI CEO David Graham:
"In addition to ensuring continued delivery against our
priority programmes and other work areas, the new plan
addresses funding; a re-running of the Delphi study to
identify other priority work areas for AHI in the dairy and
beef sectors; our role in contributing to the Irish National
Action Plan (iNAP) on antimicrobial resistance; the
involvement of AHI in farmed animal species in addition to
cattle and optimising our communications strategy."
A year of progress
2017 saw the launch of Phase One the voluntary Irish
Johne's Control Programme (IJCP), building on AHI's
pilot programme that preceded it, with Phase Two being
initiated in 2019. The longer-term aim is to have the IJCP
expand to a sustainable national programme.
One of the most remarkable success stories around
AHI's work is in mastitis control and prevention. That
work continues to deliver as the head of AHI confirms:
"CellCheck, the national mastitis programme, has
continued to make progress towards its target of 75 per
cent of the national milk volume having a somatic cell
count of 200,000 or below by the end of 2020, with
a figure of 71 per cent achieved for 2017, reflecting a
further reduction of 11,000 in the national annual SCC to
175,000."
Planning the control of IBR
Infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR), a viral disease, has
been identified by AHI as a highly contagious, infectious
respiratory disease that requires the introduction of a
control programme reflecting best international practices.
David Graham and his colleagues in AHI have taken the
first steps in that regard: "2018 has also seen the start of a
small-scale pilot on control of IBR delivered through the
herds in the BETTER Farm beef programme, which will
provide opportunities to evaluate strategies for a national
programme.
BVD programme reaps financial dividend
The national BVD eradication programme has continued
to make progress in 2018, as David confirms: "The
national prevalence of calves born persistently infected
reduced by 50 per cent relative to 2017 to just 0.05 per
cent of all births. In parallel with this, the proportion of the
84,000 breeding herds that have achieved negative herd
status (NHS) has increased to 88 per cent. This represents
significant progress since 2013, when the prevalence was
0.66 per cent, and is estimated to have provided a net
benefit to industry of 85m this year, after allowing for
programme costs. Eradication by the end of 2020 remains
the programme objective, and the BVD Implementation
Group (BVD IG) is currently discussing recommendations
to further enhance the programme in 2019 to achieve this
goal."
Rounding up the strays
One area of current activity is resolving the status of the
small number (less than 0.6 per cent) of the national herd
that are untested: "The BVD IG has recently issued text
messages to those with herds containing animals born
prior to 2013 (and, therefore, outside the current scope
of the BVD legislation) that do not have a negative status
on the programme database to encourage their testing,
either by blood sample or by supplementary tissue tag.
In addition, letters from the DAFM have been sent to
herdowners with animals born since 2013 that do not
have a valid result recorded on the database, as required
Planning ahead at AHI
David Graham discusses his current priorities and herd health planning
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