Despite the ravages of bovine TB in neighbouring west Wicklow, our annual TB test was thankfully all clear.

Last year we had two reactors in the recently bought in stores but this year there was no problem among their 2024 purchased colleagues, while the remaining forward cattle being finished also passed.

In truth, unlike farms dependent on selling cattle in the marts, being “locked up“ and so being compelled to sell everything through a meat plant does not cause any change in our normal system – as long as we are allowed to buy in and to continue to sell for direct slaughter.

The potential extra cost is being forced to send store cattle to the factory prematurely without any compensation and if we are forced to have an extra re-test.

The categorisation of most finishing farms as “feedlot status”, while reducing sales options, seems to me to be a sensible way of letting the national TB control effort be concentrated on areas where there are real and visible problems.

Cattle-to-cattle transmission and infected wildlife – especially the uncontrolled spread of infected badgers and deer are clearly key causes of the spread of the disease in cattle.

Leave aside the painfully slow progress in developing an effective vaccine, any time we see a deer or their tracks around the place we get in touch with a man licensed to cull and this seems to work.