TB epidemic ‘will send cost of beef and milk rocketing’

Tim Corner at Jersey Manor Farm in Somerton, Bicester, and his dad Ian

Tim Corner at Jersey Manor Farm in Somerton, Bicester, and his dad Ian

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Blackbird Leys and Greater Leys. Call me on 01865 425403

FARMERS are struggling to cope with the spread of bovine tuberculosis (TB) across Oxfordshire, and are warning that prices of milk and beef could go up.

In March, 63 herds in the county were affected by TB, and 73 cows were slaughtered.

Last year 565 herds were affected, with 640 cows slaughtered.

These are the highest figures the county has seen since 2008, and are more than Berkshire, Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire combined.

Jeremy Brown, who owns a beef farm in Somerton, near Bicester, has had to kill 23 cows since November because of the disease.

He said: “I’m sure this will have an impact if it hasn’t already, because as there are fewer cows the cost of produce will go up a lot.”

The 55-year-old said he was considering giving up his life-long job because of the crisis, adding: “It’s hopeless. Why should you go and buy a bull when it then goes down with TB?

“I don’t know how long I’m going to do this. It’s not worth the grief.”

Oxford Mail:

Jeremy Brown at Dovecote Farm in Somerton, Bicester

Mr Brown’s neighbour, dairy farmer Ian Corner, lost two cows in February to TB – despite the fact that his cattle do not come into contact with any other cows.

He blamed local wildlife for infecting the herd, and said: “It’s a death sentence.

“We’re up against it all the time – it’s just a case of when you’ll be affected, not if.”

Calls have been made to bring in more badger culling to help prevent the spread of TB but they have been met with criticism.

NFU South East spokeswoman Isobel Bretherton said: “It’s absolutely vital that these are completed and are successful so that we have got a body of evidence that tells us we can reduce this.”

Professor Tim Coulson, from Oxford University, was a member of the Independent Expert Panel that assessed the pilot badger culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire last year.

He said that culling would not help farmers, adding: “For badger culling to have an impact on bovine TB at least 70 per cent of badgers need to be culled.”

John Levitt, a Defra spokesman, said: “Last year, we started rolling out a package of new measures in Oxfordshire to stop the disease spreading, including annual testing for cattle herds and free advice workshops for farmers.”

What is bovine tuberculosis

  • THE bacterial disease can affect practically all mammals, including humans, and can kill.
  • It is contagious and can be caught by inhaling infected droplets coughed up by infected animals.
  • Because the course of disease is slow – it can take years to kill a cow – an animal can spread the disease before it is spotted.

Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS, SPORT and JAYDEN depending on what services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.

Our top stories

City handouts give big lift to the less fortunate

Oxford Mail:

5:00pm Saturday 30th August 2014

ROSE Hill has the highest child poverty rate in Oxford.

Acts jump through hoops as Big Feastival begins

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Saturday 30th August 2014

SOPHIE Greenwood showed punters at the Big Feastival how to hula yesterday, as the event opened with musical performances from Reggae Reggae sauce entrepreneur Levi Roots and Abba tribute act Bjorn Again.

Mullins believes cup will lift U's

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Saturday 30th August 2014

Johnny Mullins is confident Oxford United’s midweek cup exertions will be a help rather than a hindrance in the search for their first points of the season today.

Hospital complaints up

Oxford Mail: Where will funds come from?

9:10am Saturday 30th August 2014

New data from the Health and Social Information Centre revealed that the number of written complaints to Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the county’s main hospitals, increased to 890 in 2013/14, from 792 in 2012/13.

Make-up driver fined

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

9:10am Saturday 30th August 2014

A driver putting on make-up close to Abingdon police station was among drivers stopped and fined for motoring crimes on Thursday morning.

Police fear for welfare of missing teenager

Oxford Mail:

9:10am Saturday 30th August 2014

A teenager was missing last night, with police and his family fearing for his welfare.

Comments (3)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

8:56am Wed 16 Jul 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

Yet another story about the farming community in rural England where the notorious Oxford(shire) faction of the CPRE, who are always ready with a quote concerning urban property development, remain stubbornly silent.

I'm sure I'm not the only reader who would like to know if the CPRE is pro or anti badger cull.

Perhaps they don't want the people who donate money to know...
Yet another story about the farming community in rural England where the notorious Oxford(shire) faction of the CPRE, who are always ready with a quote concerning urban property development, remain stubbornly silent. I'm sure I'm not the only reader who would like to know if the CPRE is pro or anti badger cull. Perhaps they don't want the people who donate money to know... Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 8

9:32am Wed 16 Jul 14

OutToPasture says...

Those pesky badgers are moving the goal posts again!
Those pesky badgers are moving the goal posts again! OutToPasture
  • Score: 5

2:02pm Wed 16 Jul 14

yabbadabbadoo256 says...

anything to stir up panic and drive up food prices for personal profit hmmmm
anything to stir up panic and drive up food prices for personal profit hmmmm yabbadabbadoo256
  • Score: -1

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree