Winter arrived last week. We woke up to see snow on the hills. It was a reminder of the weather to come as it had all melted by 11am but the days are drawing in quickly, which limits the time available to work outside.

The cattle are nearly all housed in the yard. Only the autumn calving cows are out as the Aberdeen Angus bull went in with them at the beginning of the month. This will mean that they will calve from the middle of August. Cattle bulling in our relatively small sheds makes a lot of mess, as the one tonne bull chases round after a cow on heat. Once he has been in for one cycle, 21 days, hopefully most of his ‘girls’ will be pregnant, and he will calm down. The cattle will then come in as soon as the weather turns wet. The products of this conception will not be sold until summer 2021.

All our cattle passed the annual Tb test recently. This is always a worrying week. The cattle go through the handling system the first day to be inoculated in the neck in two places with bovine and avian tuberculin by the vet. The thickness of the skin of each animal is recorded so that when they are checked three days later if there are any lumps caused by immune reactions to the injection, they can be evaluated. If there is a lump caused by avian tuberculin it is not a worry but if there is a significant reaction to the bovine tuberculin the animal is a reactor and is culled from the herd for a post-mortem. At this point movement of cattle on and off the farm is stopped until the farm has passed further Tb tests at 60 day intervals. This is very worrying and causes a lot of expense and stress for farmers.

At a recent NFU Montgomeryshire meeting Tb in cattle was discussed. Farmers were reminded that they have access online to a regularly updated map showing Tb outbreaks in England and Wales on the ibTB web page. It was stressed that if you find a dead badger you should ring the badger found dead contact line on 08081695110 so that collection can be arranged and it can be tested for tuberculosis infection. This will help with understanding the transmission of the disease. There was also a very interesting discussion about how the problem of Tb in cattle is being handled in England.

Finally, I would like to invite all Montgomeryshire NFU Cymru Members to the County Conference on Wednesday, December 5, at Welshpool Market, starting at 7pm with hot beef rolls. The guest speakers will be John Furneaux, who will talk about farming in Canada and our deputy president, Aled Jones.