FARMER FOCUS: TB cloud covers Dartmoor hills

The dark cloud of TB has surrounded us like most cattle keepers in the South West for many years. We have up until now gone clear, but last week one of our south Devon cows went down and here starts the endless slog of retests and movement restrictions.

It seems at the moment as if the blanket of this disease has covered the whole of Dartmoor and Devon. I think I know more farms with TB restrictions than without. The question is what can we do? Officially nothing, until the government has the strength of character to tackle this massively expensive problem head on.

Spring is apparently on its way, and after an 18-month winter, I live in hope that the evening pulling out and two days of good weather could be a glimmer of hope. The ewes are only a couple of weeks off lambing and are in good order.

 The cows are looking well and starting to show, the workload will get worse before it gets better, but I live in hope that we will have the sun on our backs again soon.

On a lighter note, Gem, Tom and I have moved back into the farmhouse at Greenwell after some renovation works. It is always hard living with builders and it has been a slog, but we are now back home and settled.

It is lovely to return to normality and with a pregnant wife and toddler it will make life a lot more user-friendly for yours truly.

Mathew Cole, his brother Neil and parents Arnold and Bridget farm 730ha on and around Dartmoor. They keep South Devon and Galloway suckler cows as well as Scotch and Swale ewes on the hills with mule lambs bred to sell. They also have pedigree flocks of Bluefaced Leicester and Whiteface Dartmoor ewes.

More on this topic

Read more articles from Mathew Cole

Read more from our other livestock Farmer Focus writers

See more