TB casting a long shadow over British beef sector
Published 27/07/2016 | 02:30
With the main summer jobs completed l decided last week to head over to Wales to the Royal Welsh Show and visit a few farming friends in the area as well.
The show is similar to the likes of Tullamore Show, except on a larger scale. It is mainly livestock, with a larger amount of animals from the different sectors including cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and all types of horses. There was also a lot of machinery on display, including other sectors like forestry, horticulture and countryside sports.
One thing that was hard to miss was the pride everybody took in showing their stock and telling you about the breeds and the different blood lines they have tried in their breeding endeavours.
I was told the role of the show is to showcase the cream of Welsh livestock and high quality food to cater to the broad spectrum of not just rural dwellers, but townies too.
It is a four-day event with attendance figures of 240,000 people over the few days. It is held in the same purpose-built venue every year with a good road network for walking through the site. I think it is well worth a visit for anybody interested in livestock, especially with all cattle breeds across both dairy and beef on display.
After the show I visited a few farms in England and of course the main talking points were the Brexit vote and the rising problem of TB on Welsh and English farms.
I was surprised to hear so many farmers tell me that they voted to leave the EU. On asking why they told me they were tired of regulations and never-ending rules on how they should farm. Some looked at the vote as a massive opportunity to reshape agricultural, trade and environmental policies in the UK. Either way I had good fun debating it with them.
But with some of the cattle farmers, the biggest problem now is TB. It continues to cast a dark cloud over the UK industry with latest figures showing a 27pc increase in the number of TB reactors. It seems their department has not got a handle on the problem as numbers of badgers continue to rise, with some farmers only testing every four years in certain areas unless there is a problem.