BVD outbreak costs farmer over £4,000

An outbreak of BVD on a suckler farm in NI has cost the farmer over £4,000, according to Animal Health and Welfare NI.

More than a dozen suckler calves had to be put down in the herd after BVD positive results were returned from tissue tag tests.

The costs include re-testing, vet callouts and fallen stock disposal. Each suckler calf was worth around £300, although the long-term financial hit is significantly greater once future calf sales are considered.

The farmer, who wants to remain anonymous, also had to deal with the emotional strain of putting down calves and dealing with suckler cows that are no longer rearing a calf.

Egg shortage at UK supermarkets

Several supermarket chains in the UK have introduced measures to ration eggs due to supply shortages.

Asda is limiting egg purchases to two boxes per person, while Lidl has capped customers at three boxes each.

Outbreaks of avian influenza in poultry units, as well as rising costs for egg producers, are being blamed for the shortages.

“We have been warning for months that failing to pay farmers a price which allows them to make a profit would result in mass de-stocking or, worse still, an exodus from the industry,” said Robert Gooch from the British Free Range Egg Producers Association.

AgriSearch seminar on clover

An AgriSearch seminar under the theme “Capitalising on Clover” is to take place at 7.30pm in the Glenavon House Hotel, Cookstown on Thursday 1 December.

Speakers include Dr James Humphreys from Teagasc and Dr Liz Genever, an independent beef and sheep consultant from England. There will also be a panel discussion involving AFBI researcher Dr David Patterson.

According to AgriSearch general manager Jason Rankin, the aim of the seminar is to inform farmers of the key steps needed to successfully establish and manage a clover sward. “If farmers wish to establish clover next year they need to start planning now,” he said.

Registration is encouraged, but not essential, and can be done via the AgriSearch website.

Weekly cattle kill over 12,000 head

The total number of weekly cattle slaughtered in NI has gone above 12,000 head for the first time.

The data published by DAERA, which dates back to 2001, shows that 12,032 cattle were processed at NI factories in the week ending 12 November 2022. In three of the last four weeks record kills have been set. Last week also saw a new high point for cow slaughterings, with 3,307 head processed.

US grants access for UK sheep genetics

The UK sheep industry has been granted approval to export genetics in the form of embryos to the US under a trade agreement potentially worth £750,000 in its first year.

The agreement is now possible after a new ovine embryo export health certificate came into effect this week, ending a 26-year period when UK breeders were excluded from the US market. Since 2016 it has been possible to export sheep semen to the US.