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Example of Costs of TB in a Dairy Herd

Jerry Rider farms 660 acres in Wiltshire and also has a farm in Cheshire. He runs a spring-calving herd based on cows with New Zealand breeding. 95% of their food coming from grazed grass. He makes little silage and uses stubble turnips on light chalk at the top of the farm to extend the grazing season into the autumn.

It would be possible for him to separate cows and badgers by fencing.

History of TB on the farm:

  • 1980 -1993 - odd inconclusive test
  • 1993 - two cows reacted to the skin test but did not culture the disease.
  • 1997 - in one test he lost 44 cows and feels that it was connected with a wildlife hospital rather than cow to cow infection. Despite being isolated some heifers were reactors.
  • 1998 autumn - four reactors
  • Now he is six monthly testing
  • Oct 1999 - six reactors

Direct costs of the outbreak:

  • loss of milk
  • reduced stock sales
  • reduced fertility
  • replacements
  • herd restriction
  • He estimates that TB has cost him 238,000 less 98,000 back in compensation and insurance.

Hidden costs:

  • stress on family and staff.
  • stressful and recurring tests on animals.
  • risk of disease from replacement cows bought in.
  • 12 months for bought in cattle to settle in.
  • Bought in cattle do not fit the home system.

Preventative measures taken:

  • fenced off setts, feed passages and silos
  • stopped growing maize
  • no free-access minerals
  • fitted off-ground water troughs
  • purchased TB-free stock as replacements
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