Following on from last week’s announcement regarding the latest TB outbreak on Newford Farm, the Department of Agriculture’s District Veterinary Office has taken the decision to blood test all suckler cows and 2021-born heifers in the herd. The aim of the test is to try and identify any animals which may be spreading the disease through the herd.

The test will take place on Wednesday 20 July. The reason for testing 2021-born heifers and not bullocks at this stage is that bullocks have been held on an out-farm since weaning in September, and as such, the greatest risk is thought to be with heifers, who were housed and grazed alongside the suckler herd where six cows and two calves were identified as TB reactors.

The Department of Agriculture’s valuer also visited the farm as part of their On-Farm Market Valuation Scheme. The eight animals will be removed from the farm imminently.

Weighing of bullocks

The 43 beef bullocks were weighed last Wednesday 13 July. The average weight was 551kg at an average age of 17 months. Analysis by Michael Fagan, Teagasc, shows the bullocks have been gaining 0.87kg per day since turnout on 23 March, while the average daily gain since birth is running at 1.02kg per day.

The top 15 bullocks in the herd are averaging 600kg with the weight range in this group between 570kg to 640kg.