THE environment department Defra has halved the price of the remaining stocks of blue-tongue livestock disease vaccine to encourage farmers to treat their cattle and sheep before the warmer weather brings the midges which spread the disease.
Blue-tongue came into Britain last year from Europe and was spreading westwards across Yorkshire when the cold weather last autumn stopped its advance.
Defra yesterday announced that its remaining bluetongue vaccine stocks will be discounted by 50%, effective from Thursday 7 May which means that the end price of vaccine could be expected to fall from its current price of around 66-79p per ml plus VAT, to 33p-39p per ml plus VAT.
The remaining Merial vaccine, in 100ml bottles, is being reduced to encourage uptake and reduce taxpayer liability before it expires later in the year.
Said Nigel Gibbens, Chief Veterinary Officer, said:"This is an added incentive for those farmers who have not yet vaccinated their animals, or who are looking to give their stock a booster during the summer.
“With midges already active, and the Met Office predicting a warmer summer than last year, conditions for the spread of bluetongue may be ideal. Livestock keepers should take this opportunity to buy their vaccine at a discounted price, before the Government stocks are no longer available".