Poultry farmers on alert as bird flu confirmed in the UK
Avian influenza poses a threat to commercial and domestic poultry flocks and can be spread by wild birds.

Poultry farmers in the South Dorset area of the UK have been put on high alert for bird flu.

Wild birds in the area have been confirmed with bird flu, which poses a serious threat to commercial and domestic flocks of poultry.

In 2017, poultry farmers in Ireland were forced to restrict their flocks to prevent possible infection from contact with wild birds.

From 12 January a new avian influenza prevention zone applies to everyone who keeps poultry or captive birds, in specific targeted areas of South Dorset.

Prevention zone

All bird keepers in the area must now follow detailed requirements on strict biosecurity.

While they are still permitted to keep birds outside, they must meet certain conditions.

  • That the area has been made unattractive to wild birds, for example by netting ponds and by removing wild bird food sources.
  • Action has been taken to reduce any existing contamination, such as cleansing and disinfecting concrete areas and fencing off wet or boggy areas.
  • Flock owners have assessed the risk of birds coming into contact with wild birds or contamination from them.
  • The H5N8 strain of bird flu is a highly pathogenic version of the type A influenza viruses that infect birds.

    The type A influenza viruses are separated into two categories, based on the viruses’ ability to cause disease in poultry.

    These categories are low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) and high pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).

    Low pathogenic typically causes little or no clinical signs in birds, while highly pathogenic causes severe disease and can kill up to 100% of the birds it infects.

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    This week in photos: New Ross and Newport Marts
    Our top farming photos from the last week include harvesting and hay-making.

    Front page photo: Bales in Co Kildare

    Hundreds of bales on the Kelly family farm in Athy, Co Kildare. Conor Kelly has been tasked with moving these bales. The family also grows gluten-free oats, rapeseed and wheat. \ Claire-Jeanne Nash

    Haymaking in Co Cavan

    Charlie Reburn and Peter McGorry in Corraneary, Co Cavan, raking and baling hay for JMC agri contractors. \ Philip Doyle

    My Farming Week in Co Kilkenny

    Brothers Tom and Jim Murphy in Fiddown, Inistioge, Co Kilkenny. The brothers are currently switching the farm from beef to dairy and hope to begin milking in 2019.

    Winter barley harvesting in Co Kildare

    Park Avenue Farm in Boley, Co Kildare, is a family run farm and grain stores. The Kellys run a tillage, sheep and beef enterprise. Michael and his three brothers, Jerry, John and Jimmy, work together on the farm. Michael’s son and daughter, David and Clodagh, are currently studying ag Science in UCD. \ Philip Doyle

    Grubbing beet in Co Wexford

    Ciaran Lancaster grubbing beet in Ballybeg, Fernes, Co Wexford. He is contracting for tillage and beef farmer Pat Rourke. Ciaran explains that beet holds up well in drought, needing little water. \ Philip Doyle

    Harvesting in Co Carlow

    Joe Walsh harvesting winter barley in Ballybar, Co Carlow. He is harvesting a Bazooka six-row highbred with a moisture content of 15.5%, which was sown in the last week of October 2017. \ Philip Doyle

    Newport Mart

    Liam Philips from Killoscully, Jimmy Kennedy from Silvermines and Francis Ryan from Birdhill, at the sheep sale in Newport Mart, Co Tipperary. \ Mike Hoare

    PJ Fogarty, Ruth Minihan and Baden Powell, all form Newport, and Liam Shanahan form Broadford, Co Clare, at Newport Mart. \ Mike Hoare

    John and Dolores deCourcy from Limerick at Newport Mart. \ Mike Hoare

    Liam Shanahan from Kilbane, Co Clare with Jack and Mary Berkery from Rearcross at Newport Mart. \ Mike Hoare

    New Ross Mart

    Cattle in the ring at Monday's sale in New Ross mart. \ Mary Browne

    Kevin Barry, Ann Furlong and Michael Cody at New Ross mart. \ Mary Browne

    Anthony Ryan and Richard Kirwan from Ramsgrange, Co Wexford at New Ross mart. \ Mary Browne

    Eyes on the ring at the weekly sale at New Ross mart. \ Mary Browne

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    This week in photos: BEEF 2018 and wholecrop harvest

    Tests for residues and illegal medicines shows 99.7% compliance
    The Department of Agriculture released the results of testing carried out under the National Residue Control Plan (NRCP) in 2017 on Sunday.

    The overall rate of compliance with the NRCP stands at 99.7%. The NRCP covers testing for banned substances, approved veterinary medicines, pesticides and environmental contaminants.

    18,513 samples were tested in 2017, taken across all 8 food producing species (bovine, ovine, porcine, equine, poultry, farmed game, wild game and aquaculture) as well as milk, eggs and honey. Most samples are taken in accordance with criteria designed to target animals or products that are more likely to contain illegal residues.


    The Department said that this high level of compliance has been consistent going back to 2013.

    Just 51 samples were non-compliant and of these the majority related to residues of authorised medicines. Risk evaluations by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland were carried out in response to each result and it was found that there was no unacceptable food safety risk to consumers. In these circumstances, none required a recall of products from the market. In all cases where positive results were found, a follow up investigation takes place at the farm of origin. Results from the extensive testing under the NRCP in 2017 indicated the absence of illegal administration of banned growth promoting hormones and other banned substances to food-producing animals in Ireland.

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