Know How / Bovine TB

Bovine TB is a devastating disease affecting cattle across the UK. Get information on current TB restriction rules, risk areas, the badger cull and vaccination developments. See advice on steps to prevent TB, including badger proofing your farm and what to do if your herd fails a TB test.

Latest bovine TB news

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BOVINE TB

Authorised on-farm use of bovine TB test expected next year

A new test, costing £30 a cow and described as a “game-changer” in preventing the spread of bovine TB and Johne’s disease, could be used on UK farms as early…

BOVINE TB

Cattle vaccine will help in battle against TB, says chief vet

Cattle vaccination can become an important item in the toolbox in the battle to eradicate bovine TB in herds, the UK’s chief vet has insisted. Defra has announced that the…

BOVINE TB

Bovine TB cattle vaccine field trials start in England

Field trials for a cattle vaccine and a new skin test for bovine tuberculosis (TB) have started in England. A TB-free farm in Hertfordshire has started the first phase of…

BOVINE TB

Welsh first minister says no to badger culling

Wales' first minister has blamed cattle movements for any increase in bovine TB in areas of the country with low disease risk – and refused to allow badger culling. Mark…

LIVESTOCK

TB testing penalty threat 'causing stress for NI farmers'

The threat of cutting farmers’ direct support if they do not carry out TB testing of their herd on time must end, the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) has said. During…

MEAT MARKETS AND PRICES

Post-Brexit rules hit Northern Ireland livestock imports

Cattle and sheep exports from Britain to Northern Ireland slumped in the first three months after Brexit. According to the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU), 9,915 sheep and 3,882 cattle were…

LIVESTOCK

‘No help is coming’, says farmer who lost 21 cows to TB

A dairy farmer who had 21 cows slaughtered because of bovine TB has spoken of the devastation the disease is causing to farmers’ mental health and says she fears “no…

BOVINE TB

Defra unveils major badger vaccination trial in East Sussex

Farmers will be asked to vaccinate badgers in East Sussex as part of a major, large-scale badger vaccination trial. Defra announced on Thursday (27 May) that the government had awarded…

Practical advice

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BOVINE TB

3 steps to implement a bovine TB contingency plan

Farmers should carry out a three-step contingency plan to ensure they are prepared for the stress and potential financial implications of a TB breakdown. This is according to Sarah Tomlinson…

BOVINE TB

A guide to setting up a bovine TB isolation unit

Farmers looking for workable, high-welfare solutions for rearing calves during a bovine TB breakdown should consider making the most of a TB isolation unit.  Many farmers are retaining higher numbers…

BOVINE TB

Rules, compensation and advice for bovine TB in pig herds

According to Defra statistics, there were 38 pig premises under TB restriction in 2018, with 122 pigs tested for the disease. Although this is low compared to TB in cattle,…

BOVINE TB

5 ways to improve TB control in the UK

Bovine TB has exploded in the UK, spreading rapidly, ravaging counties and wiping out whole herds in its path. Until now, much of the focus of disease control has been…

BUSINESS CLINIC

Business Clinic: Can we get paid for our condemned cow?

Whether you have a legal, tax, insurance, management or land issue, Farmers Weekly’s Business Clinic experts can help. Here, Russell Reeves, partner, Thrings, advises on compensation for condemned stock. Q We sold…

LIVESTOCK

Expert advice: What happens if my herd fails a TB test?

TB is a growing threat for cattle farmers, with many farms encountering breakdowns for the first time as the disease spreads further north. But what does it mean if your…

Case studies

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BOVINE TB

5 farmer tips for setting up a TB isolation unit

Setting his farm up as a TB isolation unit (IU) has proved a successful business model for Cheshire farmer Ben Paterson. Mr Paterson, who runs Blackthorn Farm, Mobberly, buys three-to-six-week-old…

BOVINE TB

Steps farmers are taking to reduce bovine TB risk

Simple, inexpensive steps can cut TB risks by limiting cow and badger transmission. Sometimes, another pair of eyes is required to identify risks you may not notice. We speak to…

BOVINE TB

Video: Farmers living on the frontline of bovine TB

For farmers living in a high-risk area, bovine TB has a huge financial and emotional impact. We visit two farms in south-west Wales which have endured long-term breakdowns. Stephen and…

LIVESTOCK

How a beef enterprise has adapted to overcome TB

Recurring bovine TB breakdowns challenged the profitability of the Sockett family’s suckler beef business, so they switched to rearing dairy bull calves in a housed system to reduce infection risk…

BOVINE TB

How a Devon farmer is using homeopathy to fight bovine TB

Like many farmers in mid Devon, Julian Ayre is under the constant threat of bovine TB. But he is taking a novel approach to tackling it: A homeopathic remedy. “We…

Photos: 5 steps to tackling badgers and TB on farm

Cheshire dairy farmer Ian McGrath has spent nine years under TB restriction and has lost 130 cows to the disease – a figure he knows will continue to increase. TB…

Insights

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BOVINE TB

4 farmers’ badger-proofing inventions help cut TB risk

Inventive farmers are mitigating the risk of bovine TB spreading from badgers to their dairy and beef cattle by devising their own obstacles to wildlife incursions. Some of the winners…

LIVESTOCK

Badger cull 'exit strategy' raises TB disease control fears

The government has confirmed it will no longer issue licences for intensive badger culling from 2022, as part of efforts to tackle bovine TB in England. And the practice will…

FARM POLICY

Next phase in Defra bovine TB strategy explained

After months in the making, the government has launched its latest consultation (PDF) on the next stages of its strategy to eradicate bovine TB in England by 2038. The eight-week…

BOVINE TB

UK bovine TB rules, penalties and incentives

Defra has introduced more rigorous, evidenced-based bovine TB testing regimes for cattle this autumn, backed by tougher penalties and incentives to encourage farmers to improve biosecurity. While the number of…

BOVINE TB

Q&A: Wales' chief vet outlines latest bovine TB strategy

Wales’ chief vet Christianne Glossop explains the next steps in the Welsh government’s policy to eradicate bovine TB in herds. Hayley Parrott and Philip Case ask the questions. What are…

BOVINE TB

How successful has the Welsh Cymorth TB scheme been?

Five years ago, the Welsh government challenged farmers to take control of TB herd breakdowns by improving their on-farm biosecurity. To encourage the improvements, it set up a scheme that…

BOVINE TB

Q&A: Defra chief vet outlines latest bovine TB strategy

Defra chief vet Christine Middlemiss outlines the next phase of the government’s plans to eradicate bovine TB in England by 2038.  We ask her about research and development, funding, testing…

BOVINE TB

Q&A: Chief vet outlines bovine TB strategy for NI

Northern Ireland’s chief vet, Robert Huey, explains the next steps in the government policy to eradicate bovine TB in cattle herds. Hayley Parrott and Philip Case ask the questions. What…

BOVINE TB

Gatcombe bovine TB project to continue despite setback

Gatcombe Farm near Seaton in Devon, run by Robert Reed and his family, is involved in a long-term project with experienced vet Dick Sibley, seeking to tackle TB by identifying…

BOVINE TB

Analysis: Can switch to vaccines work in bovine TB battle?

It took more than 15 months to come to fruition, but Defra has finally published its response to Professor Sir Charles Godfray's 2018 independent review into the government’s bovine TB…

BOVINE TB

Counting the cost of bovine TB in Wales

Seen as a well-informed strategy by some, a misguided experiment by others; more than two years after the Welsh government rolled out its new policy for eradicating TB, it continues…

BOVINE TB

Video: Brian May's Gatcombe Farm project gets TB-free status

A new approach to disease control on a dairy farm in Devon – taking out infective cows and minimising exposure to slurry – has seen the herd attain TB-free status…