Anxious TB test wait for NFU Deputy President

NFU Deputy President Minette Batters is facing an anxious 60-day wait after her beef herd suffered its first ever inconclusive reactor during a routine bTB test.

Minette Batters_275_183Ms Batters, who has a 100-cow suckler beef herd on her farm in Wiltshire, said any long-term movement restrictions would place a serious question mark over the long-term future of her business as a suckler producer.

If an animal comes up as an inconclusive reactor it is isolated, placed under restriction, and kept on farm to be tested again in 60 days’ time. If it comes up as an inconclusive reactor again it is slaughtered as a reactor and the whole herd is placed under TB restrictions.

“It does bring it home to you. We produce top end stores and we really don’t want to get involved in finishing animals. It would be the beginning of the end for our business. The costs don’t stack up. We are not arable producers so we are not going to grow enough corn to finish animals,” Ms Batters told Farmers Guardian.

She told the paper that the cow that gave the IR result had been in a field where a new badger sett had been found.

“It was a new sett was right in middle of field and we have found two dead badgers in the hedge. The cow had calved inside but had been in field with the others. You just don’t know what it is for sure but it is a huge concern.

“We now have to wait until the 60-day test before we know the situation and can decide what to do.”