Despite the high input costs, the mood among farmers at the Balmoral Show was generally positive, with prices in most livestock sectors significantly ahead of 2021.

However, the complaints received mostly related to the rules around TB testing.

One Co Derry beef finisher outlined how he is being forced to effectively do three TB tests to regain TB-free status after one of his cattle had “visible lesions” at slaughter.

“My annual TB test is due, and if I don’t do it I will be stopped from buying and selling. But because it is within 60 days of the animal being found at the meat plant, I’m told it won’t count to the herd getting clear. I still have to do two more tests.

“I sell all my cattle to the factory. The risk is low. I am going to force cattle up and down the yard for nothing. Some common sense should prevail,” he said.


A Co Antrim suckler-to-beef producer had a similar issue with a suspect lesion being found in an animal at slaughter.

An initial examination of the lesion under the microscope came back as “inconclusive”, but the bacteriology on the lesion (an attempt to grow TB bacteria) was negative. Despite that negative result, he still has a TB test to do to regain TB-free status.

“It is very frustrating, especially at a time of year when I have a lot of young calves. I have done three tests in the last 15 months, and all of them have been negative,” he said.

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