Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) suckler chairman, Dermot Kelleher, has advised farmers to be extremely wary of disease risk before buying imported livestock.
“All farmers need to think very carefully about buying in imported stock. I am particularly concerned about the risks associated with increased calf imports and I believe that all farmers should immediately test imported animals for BVD and Johnes before they allow these animals out of isolation.
“We are just starting a national BVD eradication programme in Ireland and there is a determined mood among farmers to tackle the BVD issue. Widespread testing of home-bred calves will hopefully be a feature of 2012 and it will be compulsory in 2013. Therefore, it only makes sense that we should be testing all imported calves, especially as many of these calves are coming from EU states that don’t have a BVD control programme in place.
“Farmers who bring imported animals into their herds without being absolutely sure about their disease status are playing with fire. The potential economic loss from spreading disease completely outweighs any advantage that may be attributed to imported stock,” he warned.