DEVASTATED dairy farm chiefs at a Lower Wick site struck by a TB outbreak have reassured the local community after seeing several of its herd slaughtered.
Heartbroken Bennetts Farm bosses broke the news of the outbreak over the weekend and revealed it had affected ‘a few good milkers’ and even a young heifer.
Despite the blow, the Manor Farm family-run site has confirmed the farm and associated businesses will remain open and follow the restrictions now imposed by the Department of Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
Bennetts Farm will be unable to sell the animals for meat until the herd returns two negative tests in a row, which must take place 60 days apart.
It means the family farm off Malvern Road will be unable to sell cows in the beef herd until May at the earliest, subject to the results of further TB tests.
However, customers have been reassured any milk from the site is ‘absolutely fine’ as the milk is pasteurised.
In a statement on Facebook, the family said: “Milk is entirely safe if pasteurised, so dairy farms are never prevented from continuing to sell their milk.
“More than 10 per cent of English dairy farms are subject to TB measures at any one time, including those selling their milk to supermarkets, cheese makers and other dairy producers around the country.
“It is sadly part and parcel of the dairy world.”
Bennetts Farm bosses took to social media as part of their continued ethos to shine a light on the ups and downs of farming life and business and said they were ‘absolutely gutted’ by the news.
The positive test among the herd came as a body blow to the farm which had been clear of the unwanted yet common disease across English dairy farms for more than a year.
“TB is an awful part of dairy farming and tens of thousands of cows are slaughtered every year because of it.” the farm said.
“As well as the financial loss of losing these lovely cows that have tested positive – who all had years ahead of them giving us milk and calves – we are now unable to sell off any of our beef herd.
“The financial toll of TB on dairy farmers can be staggering and we are at least for thankful we are only losing a handful of cows, rather than a significant chunk of our herd. You hear cases of farms losing more than 60 per cent of their entire herd.
“We thank our loyal customers more than ever for their continued support at what has been made an even more difficult time.
“Please keep absolutely everything crossed for us for our next test in 60 days’ time.”