The objective of the Beef Environmental Efficiency Programme for Sucklers (BEEP-S) is to further increase economic and environmental efficiency in the suckler herd though improvement in the quantity and quality of performance data that is collected. The deadline for applicants is Monday 26th April 2021. Register here on the DAFM webpage. See figure 1 below for an overview of the 2021 programme.
One of the voluntary measures under Action 2 of the BEEP-S scheme is vaccination. The objective of this action is for farmers to implement a vaccination programme to reduce the incidence of bovine respiratory disease (BRD) caused by certain viruses and bacteria otherwise known as pathogens. Bovine Respiratory Disease or BRD as it is also known, refers to diseases that affect the respiratory system of cattle. The best-known example of BRD in cattle is pneumonia. We would encourage farmers to opt for vaccination as part of option 2 of the scheme and to talk to your vet about vaccination protocols suitable for your weanlings at weaning.
Purpose of Action 2 – vaccination
If you select vaccination as part of Action 2 of the programme you will need to familiarise yourself with the disease pathogens you are trying to protect your cattle against, the vaccines suitable for the programme and their protocols. Let’s start with the disease pathogens. The vaccination pillar of the programme aims at reducing the disease incidence caused by BRD which is illustrated in figure 2:
For the purpose of this programme, Teagasc are advocating the importance of vaccinating calves against all four pathogens listed in figure 2 where possible. If inspected, you must provide receipts to show proof of purchase and a record of vaccine administration dates in order to satisfy Action 2 of the programme.
Applicants must choose one of the following vaccination protocols to qualify for payment:
Option 1. (if there is adequate time before risk period or a broader coverage including bacteria is required)
First subcutaneous injection of RSV, PI3 and Mannhaemia haemolytica dead vaccine, six to eight weeks before weaning/housing/sale
Second subcutaneous injection of RSV, PI3 and Mannhaemia haemolytica dead vaccine, two to four weeks before weaning/housing/sale
At the same time as the second injection, a single IBR live intra-muscular, two to four weeks before weaning/housing/sale
Option 2. (if there is a short time before risk period or if cattle can only be handled once)
Single RSV and Pi3 Intranasal two to four weeks before weaning/housing/sale
At the same time, a single (or two dose programme) IBR live intra-muscular injection (two to four weeks before weaning/housing/sale)
Which vaccines can farmers use to qualify for the scheme?
MSD Animal Health has the full portfolio of BRD vaccines to provide protection against the four pathogens listed in figure 2. Figure 3 below displays the disease pathogen each product provides protection against and the specific vaccination protocol.
MSD Animal Health are advising all farmers to implement a vaccination protocol using Bovipast RSP and Bovilis IBR Marker Live. Benefits of this programme:
Combination of these vaccines will provide protection against all four pathogens
The two vaccines are licenced to be administered on the same day
Bovipast RSP provides the BROADEST cover against Mannhaemia haemolytica that’s available on the market
Bovilis IBR Marker Live provides the FASTEST onset of immunity compared to competitor product
Provides protection against RSV, PI3 and the BROADEST protection against Mannhaemia ((Pasteurella) haemolytica
Inactivated or dead vaccine
Two shot primary course given four weeks apart. One shot is 5ml
The second shot must be given no later that two weeks prior to weaning, sale or housing
1st shot six weeks prior to risk
2nd shot two weeks prior to risk
Subcutaneous injection (under the skin)
Bovilis IBR Marker Live
Provides the FASTEST onset of immunity against IBR
Single 2ml shot given at least two weeks prior to weaning, sale or housing
Intranasal (up the nose) or intramuscular (into the muscle) injection
Both intranasal and intramuscular administration will give 6 months protection when given to stock over 3 months old.
Bovilis INtranasal RSP Live
Provides the FASTEST onset of immunity against RSV and Pi3
Single 2ml shot given at least one week prior to weaning, sale or housing
Provides 12 weeks protection against RSV & PI3
Why is vaccination part of this programme?
A correctly timed vaccination programme in conjunction with correct animal management can have both an economic and labour-saving result for the farmer.
Vaccination programmes can:
Improve the welfare of the animals. Vaccines can reduce the risk of an animal becoming infected by certain disease pathogens
Reduce the risk of animals becoming ill which reduces the need for antibiotic treatment
Protect animals during risk periods. Examples are weaning, housing, mixing of groups, transport, mart trade etc.
Reduce sick days for animals while also maintaining thrive, allowing animals to reach key target weights
Studies show beef cattle with obvious signs of pneumonia can take over 59 days longer to finish than healthy animals. Even animals showing little or no sickness can be suffering from subclinical respiratory disease which will increase finishing times to slaughter. See figure 4 below:
MSD Animal Health are advising all farmers to consult with their attending veterinary practitioner prior to implementing a vaccination protocol.
If inspected, you must provide receipts to show proof of purchase and a record of vaccine administration dates in order to satisfy Action 2 of the programme.
References Bareille et al. 2008. Impact technique et économique des troubles respiratoires des jeunes bovins lors de l’engraissement. Rencontres autour des recherches sur les ruminants: 77-80.
The incidence of BVD among Irish herds has declined dramatically since the introduction of the eradication programme in 2013. In 2013, there was 16,194 cattle identified as positive for BVD. In 2020, there was 804 cattle identified positive for BVD. As of week 9 2021 there has been 159 animals identified as positive for BVD in comparison to 168 for the same period in 2020. While these results indicate great progress has been achieved in eradicating this disease, these figures show that the virus still circulates in our national herd. To ensure this disease is eradicated we must continue our approach, as outlined below, at farm level since the introduction of the eradication programme.
This mainly occurs by nose-to-nose contact between infected cattle within the herd. Introduction of infected animals (either transiently or persistently) to the herd provides the greatest risk. Contact with infected animals from neighbouring farms, at marts or shows and during transport facilitates spread of disease. Animals can be infected by exposure to contaminated equipment, other species including sheep or by visitors to the farm.
What is a transiently infected (TI) animal?
Acute or transient infection occurs when an animal becomes infected for the first time at any point in its life after it is born. The animal may scour and occasionally it can result in death of the affected individual but often this infection is not associated with any obvious signs. When animals are transiently infected with BVD their immune system recognises the disease and responds by producing antibodies to protect against the effects of BVD. Transiently infected (TI) animals test virus positive at the time of infection but become virus negative within 3 weeks after infection. Once TI animals become clear of BVD virus they are no longer a threat to the rest of the herd. The majority of PI animals are born to cows which were transiently infected in the first 4 months of pregnancy.
Why do I need to vaccinate if I am testing all calves and removing PI’s?
Removal of PI animals will decrease the amount of virus circulating within the herd. However, if cows are not protected during pregnancy, transient infection during the first 4 months of pregnancy can result in the birth of future PI calves. The most effective approach to BVD control within the herd is to test and eradicate PI carriers, vaccinate to protect pregnant cows and be vigilant regarding biosecurity. On-going monitoring to ensure the herd control measures are working, form the last critical aspect of a comprehensive control plan.
Take tissue tag samples from all calves as soon as possible after birth.
Submit samples to a designated laboratory.
Tissue tag and test all calves born including still births.
Carry out all necessary follow up testing once a PI is identified e.g. test dam of PI. If the dam is also positive all her other offspring must be tested. Where a decision is taken, based on veterinary advice, to re-test the calf, this must be done by means of a blood sample only (this also applies to testing of dams). DAFM will meet the costs of the visit by the herd’s veterinary practitioner and of testing the calf (and dam if sampled at the same time).
A PI animal should not be sold but should be isolated and culled at the earliest opportunity. DAFM will automatically restrict movements into and out of herds that retain PI animals for more than 21 days after the date of the initial test (in the absence of a recorded date of death on AIM). DAFM supports for removal of PI calves remain at the following rates: BEEF HERDS: i. €220 for beef breed animals removed with a registered date of death on AIM within 10 days of the initial test, reducing to €30 if removed between 11 and 21 days after the initial test. DAIRY HERDS: i. Dairy heifers and dairy cross calves: €160 if removed within 10 days of the initial test, reducing to €30 if removed between 11 and 21 days after the initial test. ii. €30 for removal of bull calves within 14 days of the initial test. It is anticipated that from 1st April 2020, there will be a legal requirement to test pre-2013 born animals.
Vaccinate all breeding animals before service each year to protect against infection.
Maintain high level biosecurity and continue monitoring to ensure freedom from disease.
To find out more about BVD vaccination, please contact your veterinary practice.
Use Medicines Responsibly Bovilis® BVD Suspension for injection for cattle vaccine contains inactivated antigen of cytopathogenic BVD virus strain C-86. Legal categories: ROI: POM (E) . NI: POM-V . Withdrawal period: zero days. For further information please contact your vetinary practioner or MSD Animal Health Technical Team, MSD Animal Health, Red Oak North, South County Business Park, Leopardstown, Dublin 18, Ireland. Tel: +353(1) 2970220. E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.msd-animal-health.ie
As part of the Green Acres program, Agriland have constructed a Calf Health and Management series. As part of that series, Suzanne Naughton from MSD Animal Health discussed some of the key challenges when purchasing calves and the role of vaccination throughout the rearing period.
While calf purchase price and the genetics of the calf are foremost in terms of making a profit on calf-to-beef systems, calf health is also a pillar which deserves significant consideration. Focusing on hygiene and vaccination is the best policy to ensuring this happens. Pneumonia and scour are the two major illnesses that compromise calf health and reduce lifetime performance.
Prevention is always better and cheaper than the cure and a health plan should be implemented on-farm. It should be noted that no amount of vaccination can overcome a lack of quality colostrum administered to the calf at birth and the bacterial and viral challenges calves face when the environment they are reared in is not up to scratch.