The latest figures published by DAERA to the end of May 2022 show that bovine TB infection rates in Northern Ireland (NI) continue to be on an upward curve.
Annual herd incidence (the number of new reactor herds as a proportion of the total tested) is now 9.03%, up marginally on the 9.01% recorded at the end of April 2022.
It is the highest incidence rate since early 2019 and one of the highest seen in the last 20 years.
To the end of May 2022, a total of 5,548 cattle have been removed as reactors at a TB test, up over 5% on the same period in 2021.
Reacting to the latest figures, the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) has urged DAERA to make progress on the implementation of the bovine TB eradication strategy for NI.
That strategy was finalised at the end of March 2022 and includes plans to cull badgers in TB hotspot areas utilising controlled shooting by farmer-led companies.
However, it looks increasingly likely that any badger cull will not get off the ground in 2022.
UFU deputy president John McLenaghan confirmed that his organisation met DAERA on Wednesday 20 July to discuss the new TB strategy.
“This plague of a disease is removing more than 280 cattle per week from our industry, before they even have the chance to reach their full production potential.
"We need everyone in the industry to work together, doing everything in its power to get the revised TB strategy rolled out,” he said.