Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Questions (321, 322, 323)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

321. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the amount spent on the examination of tissue samples as part of the BVD screening programme in each of the years 2013 to 2018, in tabular form. [30384/19]

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Thomas Pringle

Question:

322. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of tissue samples examined as part of the BVD screening programme in each of the years 2013 to 2018, in tabular form. [30385/19]

View answer

Thomas Pringle

Question:

323. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of laboratories contracted or approved by his Department to carry out analysis of tissue samples as part of the BVD screening programme in each of the years 2013 to 2018, in tabular form; and the number of these laboratories that carry out tissue sample analysis operations here and outside of the State, respectively. [30386/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 321, 322 and 323 together.

The BVD Eradication programme is an Animal Health Ireland-led collaborative programme with representation from various industry stakeholders. BVD testing is compulsory for all cattle born on or after 1st January 2013.

The primary method of BVD testing is through the detection of BVD viral antigen on ear notch samples collected by the animal keeper during calf tagging. The tissue sample is submitted to a designated laboratory of their choice.

The programme results indicate very significant progress has been made in reducing the prevalence of this disease – with the Persistently Infected (PI) birth rate falling from 0.66% in 2013 (the first year of the Compulsory Programme) to 0.06% in 2018. Indeed, the number of positive herds has reduced considerably from 11.27% (9,485) of breeding herds in 2013 to 1.11% (839) herds in 2018 . The programme benefits to farmers amounted to approx €85 million in 2018.

My Department do not have information on the costs of these tests as that is a commercial matter for the herd owners and the laboratories concerned.

The table below reports the number of calves tested for BVD for each year of the programme and the number of laboratories engaged in testing

Year

Number of Calves Tested

Number of Laboratories engaged in testing

Number of Laboratories within the State

Number of Laboratories outside the State

2013

2,095, 951

11

8

3

2014

2,132, 051

13

9

4

2015

2,265,032

13

9

4

2016

2,325,310

13

9

4

2017

2,347,253

13

9

4

2018

2,342,904

13

9

4