News & Advice

Why Ear-notch Your Calves for BVD?

Jul 7, 2017 | Biosecurity, Dairy, Dairy Animal Health & Welfare

Have you had BVD on your farm this year? Have your neighbours had it? Did your bulk milk BVD antibody level rise after mating? Have you bought in any stock? If you answered yes to any of the above, you could have persistently infected (PI) calves born on your farm this season.

What damage does having a BVD PI on your farm do? 

  • Young stock - growth rates depressed by 20% and stock are more likely to get sick e.g. pneumonia, Rotavirus, Yersinia. 
  • Milking cows - 5% drop in production and cows that are more likely to get sick e.g. mastitis. 
  • Reproduction - conception failure, early embryonic loss, abortions, mummified foetuses, stillbirths, birth defects, and creation of a new generation of PIs. 
  • Your wallet – a local Waikato farm with 210 cows had one PI on their farm last season and it cost them over $56,000 in losses.
    To control BVD you need to control the PIs. The best time to catch a PI is before it has had the chance to do any damage. If you wait until she’s in the herd you will have spent two years rearing her just to cull her before she can pay you back, plus she will have done thousands of dollars of damage to your other stock in the meantime.
    Disbudding is one of the earliest procedures carried out on replacement calves, so this is the ideal time to also do a BVD test to find any PIs. Even if they all test negative, the good news is that this gives them a lifetime result. Once PI negative, always PI negative 

About our Anexa FVC BVD ear-notching service: 

  • The test is done by our Technicians or Vets at disbudding time so is done as early as possible, but can be done at any time to fit your schedule/management. 
  • It is a newly developed test that allows PIs to be found at any age. Previously they had to be over 35 days old. 
  • Special Anexa FVC member only pricing; it is cheaper and easier than doing it yourself. You’re busy enough anyway. 
  • Just tick the box on the disbudding booking form and we’ll take care of the rest. 

A few things you need to know: 

  • Calves must be tagged so they can be individually identified. 
  • If you want the information uploaded to MINDA, then the lab testing will cost more and the calves will need to be over 35 days old. 
  • If you are DNA testing, then it may be more practical to run the BVD test on the same notch taken for DNA. 

Any Questions? Talk to your local Anexa FVC Vet.

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