New TB Advisory Service to be launched this autumn

Cattle keepers will soon be able to access specialist advice on building resilience to bovine tuberculosis (bTB), through a TB Advisory Service to be launched this autumn. The service, which is fully-funded by Defra through the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE), will be available to farmers in the High Risk and Edge areas of England and will provide bespoke advice on biosecurity and the risks associated with cattle movements and trading.

The service will be delivered by trained consultants from ADAS, Kingshay and Westpoint Farm Vets, overseen by a Technical Board comprising experts in the field of bTB. This includes prominent experts in the fields of badger ecology, building adaptations and trading practices. Funding has been secured to provide on-farm advice visits to 2,400 businesses over a three year period, with delivery due to commence in October 2017. A telephone advice service will also be available for farmers with specific questions relating to bTB.

Trained consultants will be available to give advice on all aspects of TB. Where farmers are currently free of bTB, advice will focus on the steps available to protect from disease incursions. For farms under TB restrictions, advice on trading options will be available, both on and off the holding, together with measures to prevent repeated reinfection of cattle.

Members of the Technical Board will be on hand to provide consultants with additional help and support including ongoing updates on advice. The Origin Group, who successfully tendered to deliver the service, will be responsible for day to day management. ‘By bringing together a Technical Board of experts in the field of bTB and a team of experienced farm consultants, we believe the TB Advisory Service will be able to make a real impact on farmers living with, or under threat from, bTB’ said Matt Dobbs, the project’s Director. ‘Whilst statutory TB controls are provided by government, there are a number of things farmers can do to reduce the risk and impact of bTB’.

Phil Elkins, Technical Director of the project adds ‘By bringing together experts in all relevant fields, including those with direct experience of the effects of bTB, we can ensure that the advice given to farmers is bespoke, up to date, and proven to reduce the risk of spread of bTB. This service will deliver tailored, practical, risk-based advice to farmers giving them clear, economic, agreed upon interventions to help tackle this disease, all at no cost to the farmer.’

Farmers wishing to pre-register their interest in the service are advised to e-mail info@tbas.org.uk or call 01306 779410. Further information is available at www.tbas.org.uk