Introduction Bovine viral diarrhoea virus causes a complex disease including reproductive problems and can lead to fatal mucosa! disease. Main strategies to eliminate BVDV from cattle herds rely on accurate identification and removal of persistently infected calves. Considering the structure of animal production and husbandry practices in Tyrol such as communal alpine pasturing pestivirus eradication can be achieved by consistent testing all offspring by ear notch sampling technique. When applying these tests it is possible to distinguish between calves which are non PI (NPI) all their life long and antigen positive animals which have to be removed as soon as possible from the herd. When the ear tags are applied by the farmer this procedure can easily be combined with the collection of fresh ear notch specimens. The main aim of this study was to demonstrate the development in eradication overlooking the last 3 years. A second aim was to validate the Antigen ELISA which was used examining ear notch samples. Material and methods Ear notch samples were collected from calves within the region. A commercially available antigen capture enzyme-inked immunosorbent assay (ACE) was applied according to the manufacturer's instruction. Serological spot testing focusing on 5 heifers in each herd was carried out by commercial Antigen-capture ELISA which detects BVDV Type I and Type II antibodies. Results Continuous reduction of infected herds was observed. The number of PI animals detected during surveillance activity reduced to 11 in 2007. Assessing the herd prevalence of seropositive animals by spot serological testing showed 7.9 % (3,890/49,212) in 2007. Diagnostic proficiency of the Antigen-capture ELISA was analysed with data from the control programme collected between 2005 and 2006. Validation of the Antigen-capture ELISA showed with respect of the detection of PI animals a sensitivity of 97.3 % and a specificity of 99.9 %. The positive predictive value (PPV) was found to be 79.1 %. Conclusion Ear notch sampling of all new borne calves is a feasible method to prevent new infection within a region where trade and mountain pastures are common. Ear notch sampling can be combined with the application of standard ear tags within the first week of life. Bio security measures and regulations applying to trade are important requisites for future progress in the control scheme. Within a local database which is linked to the nationwide AMA database all data regarding BVDV control are compiled. Trade regulations are checked and certificates for non infected herds issued. For the upkeep of BVDV freedom yearly screening programmes using spot serology checks of all herds are necessary. Vaccination against BVD is strictly forbidden in the controlled area. Testing all offspring by ear notch sampling technique and elimination of PI animals reduced the prevalence of pestivirus infection in Tyrol considerably.