Farm Ireland

Monday 11 December 2017

TB woes continue in Wicklow with reactor rates way above national average

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Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

TB rates in Wicklow continue to be well above national average, according to latest figures from the Department of Agriculture.

In an update on national TB incidence for Quarter 2 2017, Department figures show Wicklow West and East had a reactor rates per 1000 tests of 6.90 and 3.95 respectively compared to just 1.62 nationally.

So far in 2017, there have been 204 reactors in West Wicklow out of 298 tested herds. This compares starkly to figures seen in other parts if the country. For example, in Limerick there was a similar number of reactors to that of West Wicklow at 196 however, some 2,661 herds were tested in Limerick.

Nationally over 55,000 herds have been tested thus far in 2017, of which 1,500 herds have been restricted with over 6,700 reactors to date.

Read also: 'Financially, the recurring TB has destroyed us...I'm not sure we can cope with another case'

Other counties with high TB incidence rates include Wexford (2.65), Westmeath (3.15) and Dublin (2.14).

Earlier this year a major research project found Professional hunters should be brought in to cull between 17,000 and 50,000 deer in Wicklow.

The study claimed that deer numbers in the area were too high for recreational hunters to significantly reduce the population.

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The interim report, which was drawn up for the Manor Kilbride Deer Management Project following two years of a four-year study, proposed that professional hunters be employed to reduce the population to a sustainable level, at which point recreational hunters could then control numbers.

Read also: TB reactors remaining on farms for 27 days on average after test

Deer have been widely blamed by farmers in Wicklow for spreading TB, and also for damaging forestry plantations and grazing crops and grassland.

The report noted that a Department of Agriculture pilot sampling of 103 deer carcasses in the Calary area of east Wicklow found that 16pc were infected with TB.

No accurate numbers are available for the deer population on Wicklow, with estimates varying from 50,000 to 150,000 head.

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