Is BVD hiding in your backyard?

Author: Carolyn Gates

Heifer that was stunted from BVD exposure before birth hiding amongst normal herdmates

Protecting your herd against the significant health impacts of bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVD) starts with knowing your BVD status and then taking appropriate steps to get and keep BVD out of your farm boundaries.

Two of the key research questions we have been tackling at BVD Free New Zealand over the past few months is finding out where the BVD virus is currently hiding in the country and what farmers are currently doing to diagnose disease in their herds. To do this, we partnered with the four commercial veterinary diagnostic laboratories to analyze anonymized data on all BVD testing requests (accessions) in New Zealand over the past three years.

The dairy industry is leading the way with the number of bulk milk samples submitted for BVD diagnostic testing and there has been a clear downward trend in the % of samples that are positive for antibodies and virus over the past three years.  About 10% of all accessions with blood samples submitted for virus testing came back with at least one positive animal. 


Bulk Milk Samples     2015 2016 2017
Antibodies Total number of accessions 20,193 20,065 18,962
  % positive 54.7% 43.2% 38.8%
Virus Total number of accessions 13,977 13,794 13,022
  % positive 7.6% 6.5% 5.9%
Blood Samples     2015 2016 2017
Antibodies Total number of accessions 1,573 1,698 1,594
  % positive 49.9% 47.9% 44.7%
Virus Total number of accessions 8,221 7,998 7,544
  % positive 11.6% 10.2% 10.2%


Unfortunately, it is difficult to use this data to estimate how commonly the disease occurs on beef and dairy farms across New Zealand because the samples are often submitted without a unique herd identification number or animal breed.  This means we can't accurately tell how many farms are represented in the testing database or whether they are beef or dairy farms.  Help us build a better picture of BVD in New Zealand by having your veterinarian attach a BVD Free sticker to the front of the laboratory submission forms.

All data shared with the project will be kept strictly confidential.


There's no excuse not to get tested....

As part of the national campaign running from July 15th 2018 to May 15th 2019, be one of the first 500 beef and dairy farmers to register on the BVD Free website and you may be eligible to receive a free BVD youngstock screening test for their herds. Talk to your veterinarian about getting tested and then work through the online tools to develop a BVD management plan for your herd.

Join the battle for BVD Free