Livestock farmers in Wales risk losing hundreds of pounds from their CAP payments next year if they allow compulsory TB testing to slip by just one day.
From 1 January, every herd and type of TB test will be subject to penalties if tests are not undertaken within a specified testing window. If a farmer is a repeat offender, the financial penalty will be greater.
The move is part of the Welsh government’s “zero-tolerance” approach to overdue TB tests.
The rules will apply if a farmer receives a test notification letter from the Animal and Plant Health Agency.
A spokesperson for the Welsh government’s bovine TB team said: “Using the reformed cross-compliance rules, Rural Payments Wales will apply a percentage reduction to the CAP payments claimed by those keepers who have not met their TB testing obligations.
“The level of reduction depends on how long the test is overdue, and other relevant criteria such as repeated instances of overdue testing.’’
The penalty will apply if a test is one or more days overdue. All TB tests must be fully completed, with all eligible animals injected and read before or on the last day of the testing window.
Strict cattle movement controls and more frequent herd testing have resulted in a sharp fall in the number of cattle slaughtered in Wales because of bovine TB.
Earlier this year, government statistics showed slaughter numbers had reduced from 9,364 to 6,275 – a fall of 33%. New herd incidents had fallen by 23%.