TB herd incidence has exceeded 5% for the first time in over a decade, as the disease continues to worsen on farms.

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue this week rowed back on criticism he levelled at farm organisations’ commitment to TB controls.

Minister McConalogue had suggested that progress on TB was stalled “due to lack of stakeholder engagement” in combating transmission between cattle.

He stated that without addressing cattle-to-cattle spread, current TB levels would not fall.

The minister has since softened his stance on farm organisations’ engagement with TB, stating to the Irish Farmers Journal that his earlier comments used “incorrect language” on the work of the TB Forum.

IFA animal health chair TJ Maher has acknowledged the minister’s “reassessment of inappropriate reference to the work of the stakeholders” and called on him to “get the basics right” by reducing wildlife density.

Minister McConalogue did not respond to the Irish Farmers Journal when questioned on what new measures he sees as necessary to reduce transmission of TB between cattle.

The latest Department of Agriculture figures up to April show that the rolling 12-month herd incidence rate is 5.06%, up from 4.45% for the same time last year.