NBA urges Isolation and post movement of replacement cattle

Breeders buying in replacement heifers and stock bulls are being urged to isolate them and then post-movement test them for TB before introducing them into their herds.

This advice is offered by the National Beef Association which is alarmed at the number of reports it is receiving about TB spread in new areas.

"TB breakdowns can paralyse the management of commercial, development, and pedigree herds. Large herds in split locations which only have handling facilities on the main unit are especially vulnerable to avoidable, and costly, management disruption and we would urge that extra care is taken over possible TB in heifers purchased by this type of enterprise," said NBA vice-chairman Frank Momber.

"Equally damaging is the discovery of TB in herds which are developing a specialised type of suckler cow aimed at producing beef cattle targeted at specialist markets.

"This type of breeder is either suffering from the loss of valuable foundation cows that are important to the advancement of their programmes or from TB decimating the number of cows specially developed to produce a premium earning, slaughter animal.

"Owners have also discovered that compensation offered under rate card valuations falls well below their real commercial value and so their business are hit on two counts.

"In these circumstances it is impossible not to recommend that all in-coming heifers are isolated before pre-movement testing and not allowed to mix with the herd until they have been given the all clear."

"Some should consider insisting on pre-movement testing too if they are buying stock from those areas of the UK where it is not yet compulsory.

"Unexpected confirmation of a positive TB reactor does such economic damage, not least through movement restriction, that everything possible should be done to avoid its introduction through purchased cattle," Momber added