In line with a proposal from the TB Forum, my Department recently developed individualised reports that provide a simplified TB herd risk category for farmers, with herd-specific advice on how to reduce risk of TB. Farmers are already provided with information in relation to their TB risk, but this new report presents this in a very much more user friendly, detailed and practical form. There are no requirements whatsoever resulting from the recent TB letters. The objective of TB Herd Test History Statements and Reports that issued recently to all cattle herd owners is to help them to reduce the risk of Bovine TB in their herds and provide sufficient information to enable farmers to make the decisions appropriate to their situation.
While bovine TB disease is low relative to historical levels, TB herd incidence and reactor numbers have been gradually increasing since 2016. The pace of deterioration has accelerated in 2020. Herd incidence at 4.2% is now at its highest level since 2012 while reactor numbers at 21,000 are back at 2009 rates.
Monaghan has witnessed firsthand the impact of rising TB levels and its effect on farmers and farming families. As of 22 September 2020, the 12 month rolling Herd incidence for Monaghan was 7.01%. The Regional Veterinary Office has implemented a High Impact bTB Control Plan and has worked endlessly to reduce levels of TB in Monaghan.
It is imperative that all stakeholders work together in reducing TB rates to support and protect farm families. The Bovine Tb stakeholder Forum, which was tasked with proposing policies to help achieve Tb eradication by 2030, will be reconvening on 1st October 2020 and I look forward to ongoing positive engagement from all participants.