About The Scheme

The first step of the BVDFree Scheme is for farmers to sign up to the scheme. The next step is to set up a BVDFree plan on farm using the ‘ADAM’ principles below. By working with your vet and following this guidance, your herd can become and stay free from BVD.

When submitting BVD samples for use in the scheme, samples must be sent to a BVDFree designated laboratory with a completed BVDFree submission form. Each type of test and company has different requirements for send in times and storage, please consult with the provider.

The designated laboratories will upload your results to the BVDFree database. Individual animal status can then be searched by entering the animal’s UK number into the searchbox. Herd BVD status can also be searched by entering the CPH on the homepage. This allows BVD status to be easily accessible when buying and selling cattle.

ADAM (the process of BVD control on-farm)

The key to the elimination of BVD is through the identification and removal of persistently infected (PI) animals. 

Bulk Milk Testing

In herds that are actively controlling BVD it is still recommended to use bulk milk antibody tests to monitor status where appropriate. However, due to the complexity of interpreting an antibody response in the presence of vaccine use and historic infection, the test is not included in the BVDFree testing choices. Bulk milk testing can still be a valuable tool to monitor status with careful veterinary interpretation on a case by case basis.

How to Establish BVD Status

Testing

All samples must be sent to a lab designated by BVDFree.

A herd status will be assigned after two years of testing for BVD under the scheme.

Virus = Antigen/PCR
(Ab) = Antibody

Please speak to your vet to discuss specific testing options for your herd.

Keep it Out

A detailed on-farm review carried out by the veterinary surgeon in partnership with the farmer should be completed to identify aspects of management that could predispose to the introduction and spread of infection within the farm and provide recommendations for the reduction of these risks.

Frequently Asked Questions

We’re always here to help if you have any questions. Please view some of our FAQs below. Additional FAQs can be accessed by visiting our knowledge base or contacting us.

A list of BVDFree designated laboratories is available here.

Dairy (you can download a flow chart with more details from the web page ‘The Scheme’)

  • Youngstock – Tag and test all calves at birth for BVD virus OR blood sample 5 – 10 calves, aged 9 – 18 months for BVD antibody (minimum 5 per separately managed group)
  • Milking herd – Bulk milk BVD antibody and/or first lactation pooled milk BVD antibody and/or bulk milk BVD antigen test for virus

Beef (you can download a flow chart with more details from the web page ‘The Scheme’)

  • Youngstock –Tag and test all calves at birth for BVD virus OR blood sample 5 – 10 calves, aged 9 – 18 months for BVD antibody (minimum 5 per separately managed group)
  • As calves are closely mixed with their dams, it is optional to test breeding cows in beef suckler herds. Testing breeding bulls before mixing with the herd is recommended.

All calves born in other types of herd must be tested shortly after birth (eg finishing units)

PI animals are highly infectious and should be culled as soon as they are identified. PI animals should not be traded. Members of BVDFree agree not to move Persistently Infected (PI) animals other than directly to slaughter (or through a dedicated red slaughter market). Other cattle in your herd may be transiently infected, although can be traded if not identified as a PI. Spreading the BVD virus through movement of the animal puts other herds at risk and undermines the national effort to eliminate BVD virus from England. Knowingly selling an infected animal may also be in breach of the Sale of Goods Act.

We are currently working on how results will be displayed for herds from 2017. One proposal is to display along the following lines:

12/345/6789 – from 01 July 2016 to date

10 of 11 tissue antigen (virus) results negative
7 of 10 blood antibody results negative
0 of 1 bulk milk antibody results negative
0 of 0 bulk milk antigen (virus) results negative

After July 1 2016 this would default to test results available for the last rolling 12 months.

If the calf is positive on test for BVD virus it is strongly recommended to test the dam as she may also be a PI. If a cow is PI then all of its offspring will also be born persistently infected with BVD virus. If testing shows the dam to be PI then all offspring and descendants of that animal are considered to be PI and may not be sold (except directly to slaughter or through a slaughter-only market) without a negative test result.

Your laboratory will send you a copy of all your test results. If you have joined BVDFree you will have agreed to report all BVD testing results from your herd to the national database. Your laboratory will upload your results to the BVDFree database.

The test results and the herd status and individual animal statuses are openly accessible through the BVDFree database – see home page (without any specific details of farm name or keeper shown). All farmers can check if their results are on the database by searching by ear tag number or CPH number.

It is important that your veterinary practice has access to your test results to ensure that you get the best possible advice and assistance for your herd. As well as alerting your veterinary practice when you first join the scheme, your veterinary practice can check if their results are on the database by searching by ear tag number or CPH number.

  • BVD Virus Test Negative – cattle are not pregnant and are either: from a BVD accredited-free herd through a CHeCS cattle health scheme OR individually tested BVD virus-free
  • BVD Low Risk – from a herd with a ‘negative’ BVD herd status through animal screening OR pregnant cattle that would otherwise be in the above category
  • BVD Status Unknown – all cattle not in the above two categories (including from ‘not negative’ herds)
  • BVD Virus Test Positive – all cattle for which the most recent BVD antigen test is positive. Animals subsequently retested as BVD antigen negative can be reclassified as BVD Virus Test Negative.