Cattle Health Schemes

Cattle health schemes are an industry tool that aim to control and eradicate non-statutory diseases within the UK cattle herd. There are multiple licensed schemes and they are all regulated by the Cattle Health Certification Standards (UK) or CHeCS – this ensures that all the schemes are equivalent to one another. Currently the 5 diseases covered are; IBR, BVD, Johne’s, Leptospirosis and Neospora.

So why bother with a health scheme? 
•    Herd health schemes aim to improve the overall health, welfare and profitability of your herd and, if done well, should provide a noticeable reduction in annual losses due to these diseases
•    They are becoming more prevalent within the UK with more producers only wanting to buy from herds with a known health status as they can then be confident they are not buying in disease – having a cattle health certificate can improve trade value
•    National disease eradication schemes such as Action Johne’s and BVD Free are being pushed more and more as we as a country aim to keep up with the rest of Europe; belonging to a health scheme provides a simple structure for compliance
•    There is growing consumer demand for disease control programmes as increased public awareness of farming methods is putting pressure on us to reduce the use of antibiotics and other treatments
You can enrol on a scheme for just one or for multiple diseases – what you choose to do will depend on your personal circumstances. The entry level of schemes requires only routine monitoring (i.e. routine bulk milk testing for dairy herds) – this provides an assessment of the herd’s health status. You can then choose to progress through a control programme to achieve eradication and certification. We most commonly use and would recommend the SAC Premium Cattle Health Scheme: 
CHeC’s have a technical document which can be accessed on their website at:  
This provides a more detailed explanation of the rules and regulations: the testing requirements and control measures that need to be put in place vary between the different diseases.
Please contact use at the practice for further support and guidance on enrolling on and adhering to a certification scheme.


Related SEV Branch