The more information available when selling cattle through livestock markets the more value that can be added: LAA

Encouraging UK farmers to enrol on schemes such as BVD free England for example, allows individual animal health information to be openly disclosed before committing to purchase, said Chris Dodds, executive secretary of the Livestock Auctioneers Association.

“We believe that the more animal health information we can display in the sale ring at the time of sale the better informed prospective purchasers will be when making that decision to bid, giving them greater confidence and therefore better value,” he added. “By announcing at the point of sale in auction markets the disease status of potentially every animal again demonstrates the strength of selling through livestock markets which highlights the growing importance of participating in such schemes, which is very often rewarded by improved prices.”

“We will continue to promote best practice in the industry which is the cornerstone to scheme participation and help add value to both the vendor and the purchaser by helping them articulate as much information on animals as possible,” he added, reiterating that in doing so it boosts overall confidence in our selling method.

“With a Bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV) animal for example it is the Persistent Infected (PI) animal in the herd that needs identifying, so that purchasers do not bring them back to farms to infect the rest of the herd,” explained Mr Dodds. “There is already evidence of cattle selling at a premium price if they are confirmed to have been tested BVD free and there are clear economic implications of removing PI animals off farms across the industry.”

“We need everyone’s participation in this eradication scheme for the true benefits to be seen and we need an effective database so that the correct health status information can be electronically displayed within auction market sale rings, for everyone to see.

“We are of course waiting for some of the finer points of the scheme to be concluded, but there is a vital role for markets to play in helping buyers and sellers recognise the value of identification of health status in cattle and reward them by not just getting potentially improved prices but by having a healthier herd at home too, until the database is in place we are relying on manual checking,” he concluded.

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