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55 Barton Street, Tewkesbury, Glos. GL20 5PX   .   01684 292177 (24hr)   .

Bovine TB

TB is a chronic, infectious, primarily respiratory disease caused by Mycobacterium bovis. Although it mainly affects cattle, it can be found in many mammalian species, including humans. It is spread by aerosols, infected milk, from dam to calf and by environmental contamination.

We now undertake TB testing on behalf of XL Farmcare, who are responsible for all TB testing in England on for APHA.

It is now possible to divide M. bovis into different strains (genotypes). Each strain can be identified further by spoligotype (given a number) and VNTR type (given a letter).  This information shows that the strains are geographically different, with 80% of TB cases having the ‘local strain’, and this can be used to track movement and spread of TB cases.

Cattle TB Testing

Annual herd testing is carried out in all high risk areas (HRAs), which Gloucestershire and Worcestershire are both in. Further tests, for example trace animals or contiguous testing, may be called at any point and must be performed within the testing window.

Pre-movement testing in HRAs is compulsory before any animal is moved off the holding.  A pre-movement test is valid for 60 days.


Reactor animals must be isolated from the herd and will be removed by APHA. Restrictions will be imposed on the herd, including movement restrictions. Repeat tests are performed at 60 day intervals, with 2 clear tests needed to come off restrictions.

Inconclusive reactors are retested at 60 days, but will not ever be able to leave the holding.

More information can be found on the DEFRA Bovine TB pages

5 Point Plan for Biosecurity

Restrict contact between badgers and cattle. Introduce barriers to prevent badger access; and limit cattle access to badger latrines and setts.

Manage cattle feed and water. Restrict badger access to feed stores, mineral licks and troughs; do not put feed on the ground at pasture and clean up spillages; use clean water; and only feed waste milk to calves if treated.

Stop infected cattle entering the herd. Ask for the TB history before purchase; consider post-movement testing; and isolate cattle before they enter the herd.

Reduce risk from neighbouring herds. Check local outbreaks on; and avoid shared grazing, over the fence contact and sharing equipment.

Minimise infection from cattle manure. Store manure for a long period before spreading; do not graze for 2 months post spreading; do not use manure from another farm; and minimise aerosol and roadway contamination.

Download a poster to put up to remind you and your staff.


We are able to offer a Biosecurity Risk Assessment to our clients.  If you want to check you are getting it right, unsure of your biosecurity, or even having problems we can help. We will come out to the farm, do a full site visit and look into areas of husbandry and management to produce a full report with pictures on how you are doing well and areas to improve. Please ring us to arrange your assessment on 01684 292177.


There is strong evidence to show badgers are, at least in part, responsible for the spread of bovine TB. Badgers that are infected with TB shed it mainly in their urine.  It has been shown that, if not properly protected, badgers will come into feed stores, feed from left over cattle food on the floor and access water troughs and mineral licks that are left out; causing contamination and spreading TB. If cattle are grazed near badgers setts or latrines, this also increases the chances of spread.

We are currently in a licenced badger cull and vaccination area, with initial statistics suggesting that this is improving the situation in cattle.

For more details, check out