Cattle in a field

Negative Herd Status

Whilst at the start of the programme the focus was on results at the individual animal level, the next step in the programme for herds is to achieve Negative Herd Status (NHS). This status is an important programme milestone for any herd which also brings economic benefit, as it allows herds to avail of lower-cost testing.

Requirements to qualify for NHS:

  • Completion of a minimum of three years of tissue tag testing on calves born into the herd.
  • Existence of a negative BVD status for every animal currently in the herd (on the basis of either ‘direct’ or ‘indirect’ results).
  • Absence of any animal(s) deemed to be persistently infected with BVD virus from the herd in the 18 months preceding the acquisition of NHS.

Maintenance of NHS

Herds with NHS status are still required to continue tissue tag testing. However, testing is being made available at a reduced cost for those herds that have achieved NHS, compared to those that have as yet achieve this status. Please contact individual laboratories to check available prices.

Maintaining NHS also requires herds to continue to satisfy requirements 2 and 3 listed above. Therefore NHS is lost if any of the following occur:

  • The purchase of one or more animals with an UNKNOWN status (unless tested for BVD after purchase, with a negative result).
  • Failure to conduct any testing requested on animals following notification of suspicion of infection with BVDV, or animals with empty or invalid results from initial testing.
  • The detection of a persistently infected (PI) animal in your herd.

The ICBF database will issue a series of SMS alerts and reminder letters to herdowners prior to withdrawal of NHS due to failure to test.

Herds with NHS

The majority of herds have already achieved negative herd status. Click here to see the number of herds that currently have NHS.

What does NHS mean?

Qualification for Negative Herd Status (NHS) is a significant milestone, with all registered animals in the herd having a negative status (based on direct or indirect results on the ICBF database). Therefore no calves born into a herd with NHS should be PI, unless BVD virus has been introduced (e.g. through boundary contact or visitors). Herds with NHS are therefore considered to be lower risk from a trade perspective than herds without NHS.

Protecting NHS

Qualification for Negative Herd Status (NHS) is a significant milestone, and every precaution should be taken to prevent the introduction of the virus. Click here for further information on keeping BVD out of your herd.

View herd status

All herds can view their current status (Negative Herd Status; Negative Herd Status Suspended; Negative Herd Status Withdrawn; None) as well as the BVD status of all the animals in their herd free of charge on the ICBF database. Further information on viewing herd data on ICBF.

DISCLAIMER: no biological test is 100% accurate. If an inaccurate result is suspected, the animal should be isolated and re-tested.

All designated laboratories are independently accredited for BVD testing and the test methods used (ELISA or RT-PCR) will, in the great majority of cases, accurately detect the presence or absence of virus in tissue and blood samples when submitted and tested correctly. However, results relate only to the sample as received by the laboratory and, whilst laboratories warrant that their tests will meet their applicable declared specifications, the laboratories make no other warranty, expressed or implied and accept no responsibility or liability in respect of false results which are within the limits of the declared specifications of the tests offered. No representation or warranty is given by AHI, ICBF, the Technical Working Group, the Implementation Group or any member, employee or other person connected with any of the foregoing bodies as to the accuracy of any BVD test methods or test results. Neither AHI, ICBF, the Technical Working Group, the Implementation Group nor any member, employee or other person connected with any of the foregoing bodies shall have any liability or responsibility in respect of any laboratory or the accuracy of any test methods, test results or reports produced by any laboratory.