The fieldwork for a study into the spread of bovine TB in cattle was completed in the Co. Down area in July 2011. The Study was carried out by staff from Veterinary Sciences Division (VSD) at the Agri-Food & Biosciences Institute (AFBI) in Stormont.

Aim of the study

The key aim of the TB Biosecurity Study was to compare farm characteristics in herds that have recently had a TB breakdown and those that have had no recent history of a breakdown in a TB high incidence area, which is why the Study was focused on Co. Down.

Consideration of selected cattle and wildlife factors were key elements of the research. The Study findings should add to our knowledge of TB risk factors. The Study should also contribute to the development of best practice and biosecurity advice that can be rolled out to all herdkeepers to help reduce the level of bovine TB here.

Participating farmers were asked about their farm business as well as about evidence of badger presence and activity both on their land and around their farm buildings. A survey of on-farm buildings and a farm boundary survey were carried out by the AFBI researcher in agreement with the farmer. Input provided by individual participating farmers is held in strict confidence and is protected under the Data Protection Act 1998.

Some badger sett survey work was also undertaken on and around participating farms. No direct intervention with badgers took place during this TB Biosecurity Study. Almost 200 farmers participated in the Study and provided valuable information.

The TB Biosecurity Study report was published in November 2013. Work is now ongoing to consider the TB Biosecurity Study findings in more detail and, in association with industry stakeholders, consider how its findings can be used to help farmers to do more to protect their herds from bovine TB.
For more information about the TB Biosecurity Study, please click on the link below, or alternatively telephone 028 9052 5479 or email

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