Field Studies

Optimising BVD Control in Beef Herds

National Campaign

Building the National BVD Picture

Business Case

Evaluating National Eradication Options

Business Case

Building the business case for a BVD Free New Zealand

BVD is one of the few infectious cattle diseases that is both technically feasible and cost-effective to control.  This is mainly because we have good diagnostic tests to tell if an animal is persistently infected with BVD and other tools such as vaccination that can help break the BVD transmission cycle in infected herds. Several European countries have already implemented successful national BVD eradication programmes using a variety of different approaches including:

  • Voluntary Control: Creating a national BVD scheme where farmers can choose whether or not they want to participate
  • Phased Compulsory Control: Gradually phasing in stricter regulations around how farmers should monitor and control BVD in their herds.
  • Fast-Track Mandatory Control:  Investing more resources early on to decrease the number of infected animals and farms as quickly as possible.

There are still many knowledge gaps about what the best strategy would look like for New Zealand since pastoral farming systems have different opportunities and challenges.

Exploring options for national BVD control

Since we are unable to easily run experiments on this in the real world, we have been working to create a virtual copy of New Zealand cattle farms that we can use to predict what will happen to the prevalence of BVD and the performance of individual farms under  different possible national control scenarios.  The more information we have about individual farms, the more accurately we can build the simulation model and provide you with estimates of how it would affect your business.


As part of the  remaining research leading up to the business case presentation in July 2019, we are asking farmers to help validate the model  by telling us  how well it matches  their unique herd  situation and what they think about the impacts of different control scenarios on their business.

Earn 15 entries into the prize draw

Challenge 4: Review the Business Case

Open 1st June 2019 to 30th June 2019

Test our interactive BVD simulation model online to explore the economics of national eradication for your herd and tell us what you think.


Building the infrastructure to support national BVD control

Whether industry chooses to stick with the current voluntary approach or to implement a coordinated national control programme, there is infrastructure we can build to help support farmers and veterinarians in making the best BVD management decisions for their herds.  The final year of the project (Jul 2019 through Jul 2020) will be dedicated towards turning our research findings into action.   We have recently established a project working group with representatives from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), OSPRI, NAIT, DairyNZ, Beef&LambNZ, veterinary diagnostic laboratories, and National BVD Steering Committee to discuss options for creating and maintaining a national disease database.  We will also be working throughout the project lifespan on developing tools to facilitate better communication between farmers, veterinarians, and industry stakeholders around infectious disease management.