A higher incidence of tick-borne diseases, such as redwater, are being recorded this year, Cavan vet Finbarr Kiernan has said.

He said that these tick-borne diseases can occur where farmers rent or buy land that has previously been under-grazed.

Some of the terms and conditions in schemes such as the Organic Farming Scheme and the Agri-Climate Rural Environment Scheme (ACRES) have resulted in less fertiliser being spread on land and a restriction on topping. This has resulted in more rough grazing ground, which can harbour ticks.

“We have a situation in the northwest where some farmers housed cattle in September and they are only getting back out in the last two weeks to graze land again,” Kiernan told the Irish Farmers Journal.

“There’s a dense mat of grass on some farms which can be ideal conditions for ticks, so we are seeing more cases this year compared to others,” he warned.

Early signs of redwater, which is caused by a parasite carried by ticks, include animals staying away from the rest of the herd, reduced appetite and a frothy urine with a reddish or brown colour.