We are fortunate to have been #tbfree since January.
Having the spring and early summer free from TB testing has been a huge relief for all of us. The cows and there spring born calves look extremely well as do the store cattle and bulling heifers.
Back in the spring we noticed more badger activity than usual on the farm. By this I mean we have noticed more routing of the permanent pasture by badgers looking for earth worms etc. A new latrine and more activity at some of the satellite setts which are not always used in some years. This does not mean we have more badgers than before but it may do, it’s very difficult to estimate badgers numbers. All we know is there has been more activity this year.
We are TB testing the last week of July for our 6 month check test. Summer testing is very testing!! As all the cattle on the farm are out at grazing, to get the entire heard in twice in one week is very challenging. I am keeping grazing back near the farm buildings and handling facility, so to be able to keep cattle close by for the testing period. As it has been very hot and dry here, the cows are ready for that grazing right now so the TB test is already having an impact on production and efficiency.
I try to put the TB test to the back of my mind and get on with the everyday running of the farm, but as the date gets closer that becomes impossible. The best way I can describe it is a black cloud that continues to grow the closer we get to test day. As all the stock look so well you can’t imagine anything could be wrong, but you don’t see bTB coming it can just arrive with devastating consequences and the feeling of helplessness can be overwhelming. It is easy to underestimate the effect this has on the farming family.
So plan A is a clear test on the 28th July which would mean no routine testing for 12months, and to be able to improve and expand the beef herd. Plan B, we will deal with that if we need too and I sincerely hope we don’t have too.