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New TB regulations and measures to reduce spread

New TB regulations have recently come into effect from the 1st of February 2023, Ciaran Beatty, drystock advisor in Castlerea, outlines what they mean.

It is important to note that these rule changes only apply to cows and male cattle over 36 months of age. Recent figures suggest that there may be up to 70,000 cattle affected by these changes.

Sellers are not really impacted, as they can continue to sell all animals - including cull cows - in their local mart as long as they are obviously within their current annual herd test.

Buyers, however, may be required to do a post-movement test if the purchased animal was not tested within the last six months and comes from a herd which has not had a herd test also in the last six months. Some concern has been raised by farmers about the cost implication as a result of standalone tests.

 What simple measures can I take to reduce TB spread?

  • Complete your annual herd test on-time and do not delay it. Ensure testing facilities are in good order and have cattle organised on the vets arrival;
  • Reduce the risk of infection by sourcing cattle from herds which have not had a recent breakdown and consider buying cattle with a most recent TB test date, as they are less likely to be infected;
  • Reduce the risk from badgers on your lands by fencing off any setts.Do not feed concentrates/meal on the ground and try to have water troughs raised;
  • Reduce the risk from neighbouring herd owners by ensuring all boundary fences are stockproof, thus preventing close contact of stock. Pay particular attention to any notifications of local TB outbreaks and restrict access where possible.

Prevention is better than cure and it is vital that we minimise the threat to ourselves and our herds.