Steve Morris farms in the
Forest of Bowland, Lancs,
in partnership with his wife
Valerie. Over half of the
190ha (470-acre) LFA farm
is heather fell, with a
further 20ha (50 acres) of
rough grazing. It is stocked
with 50 dairy cows, 280
Lonk ewes, 100 half-breds
and 40 gimmer hoggs
I SHOULD update you on our TB test cow that I mentioned in June.
Having been diagnosed inconclusive at the routine test in April and again on her retest in June, she was again judged to be inconclusive and, therefore, deemed to be a reactor at her August retest.
Along with both our own vet and the DEFRA vet, I had been confident she was just one of those odd cases throwing up the occasional freak result that turns out fine later on.
At seven years old, she had been born and bred here and, along with the rest of the herd, gone through her two previous tests without incident. No cattle have been bought in during recent years, so there is no obvious explanation.
All cattle, including youngstock will have to be retested in late September, after another 60-day interval. We have been issued with form TB2 prohibiting any cattle movement on or off the holding other than for slaughter. This means a return to the hassle of last year with regard to dairy bull calves.
The nearest slaughterhouse processing TB post-mortems is in Cumbria and it took seven days from diagnosis to slaughter. The reason for the delay? The abattoir proprietor said they were busy with TB work, particularly whole herd slaughter on foot-and-mouth restocked farms.
Our son, Christopher, started junior school at Ribchester last year. We soon became involved in the hubbub of the school events calendar. First, the dance troupe required bales of straw for the PTFA barn dance.
Then, it was hay bales for the Rose Queen float on the field day. Next, the cubs required a site for a nature trail. All requests were, of course, met with enthusiasm, but I was slightly concerned that I may offend whoever had provided assistance previously.
No worries there we were told. Despite there being 80 or so pupils at the school, we are the only full-time farming family with a child there. Those of you who have ever passed through rural Ribchester will be as amazed as we were. No doubt a symptom of our times. *
Three TB inconclusives spell a reactor, meaning a return the movement restrictions Steve Morris thought had disappeared.