The number of cattle removed from NI farms as reactors hit a new record yearly high of 18,149 head in 2023, the latest figures published by DAERA show.

The dataset, which goes back to 2005, shows that numbers in 2023 were up 5% on the 2022 total and around 40% ahead of what was seen in 2019 and 2020. Compared with the low point seen in 2010, the latest total has nearly trebled.

At least one reactor

Across last year there were 2,199 new breakdown herds and 3,107 herds had at least one reactor at a TB test. Herd incidence (the number of new reactor herds out of the total that tested) at the end of 2023 stood at 10.05%. That figure is down slightly on the record high of 10.20% in 2022.

The highest herd incidence rates in 2023 were in the areas covered by Enniskillen and Newtownards Divisional Veterinary Offices, although Enniskillen is way out in front when it comes to individual animal incidence, with 1.6 reactors per 100 cattle tested.