TB levels in cattle have risen again in the Republic of Ireland in the first half of 2021, the latest figures from the Irish Department of Agriculture show.

In the 12 months to 28 June, some 4.25% of herds tested had a new TB breakdown. This is an increase in herd incidence on the previous 12 months, which stood at 4%.

The total number of reactors removed in the 12 months to 28 June stands at 21,845, which is considerably higher than the figure for the previous 12 months of 19,285.

Meanwhile, as part of the new TB eradication strategy, all inconclusive reactors in the Republic of Ireland are now blood tested. Out of 236 of animals to date, 159 have tested positive, the Department has confirmed.

NI figures

There is also a rising incidence of the disease in NI, with the latest published figures to the end of May 2021 showing that the number of reactors removed at TB tests in the last 12 months is up 6% from 12,446 to 13,204.

Bovine TB rates remain significantly higher than those in the South, with the latest herd incidence (the number of new herd breakdowns as a proportion of the total tested) at 8.81% for the 12 months to the end of May 2021, up from 7.78% for the previous 12-month period.

DAERA proposals on a new TB eradication strategy in NI are due to be published soon. The Stormont Agriculture committee received a briefing from senior DAERA officials on the issue last Thursday, although it was done in closed session.