Thursday, March 28th 2013, 8:27 AM EDT
Virus affecting sheep and cattle in England and Wales has now been confirmed north of the border.
SCOTS farmers fear a deadly livestock disease could be “another nail in the coffin” for their struggling industry.
They were dealt a hammer blow yesterday after it was confirmed the Schmallenberg virus (SBV), which has already badly affected sheep and cattle in England and Wales, has been found north of the border.
The disease, which is spread by midges, can cause ewes and cows to miscarry or lead to birth defects in lambs and calves.
Some farmers in England and Wales have reported losing between 20 and 50 per cent of newborns to the virus.
Eight cows at Scotland’s Rural College’s Barony campus in Dumfries have tested positive for the disease – but no deformed calves have yet been born to the 160-strong dairy herd.
The shock news adds to the misery of farmers who have had to dig their sheep and cattle out of snow after the coldest March for 50 years.