Neighbouring Herds

Contact with infected cattle in neighbouring herds is another potential source of infection. Infection from neighbouring herds can occur via direct contact (e.g. nose to nose) or indirect contact (e.g. via contaminated equipment or aerosol spread during manure or slurry spreading).

You can reduce the risk of infection from neighbouring herds in the following ways:

  • Check local TB breakdown data online. Awareness of local TB breakdowns will help you to better understand the nature and scale of the disease threat to your herd. Information on the location of ongoing breakdowns and breakdowns resolved in the last five years is available on a web-based interactive map called ibTB.
    Click here to access ibTB
  • Check the quarterly regional reports published by Defra, for the Low TB Risk Area and the Edge Area describing the most likely causes of breakdowns and providing an overview of the scale of the TB problem: Click here for the regional reports
  • Put in place effective barriers between neighbouring herds. It is important to maintain perimeter fencing that prevents direct contact with neighbouring cattle, as well as straying and mixing with stock from other herds e.g. double fencing. The boundary should be as wide as is practically possible but at least three metres. This is particularly important for farms with multiple land parcels as they have more neighbours and therefore are at increased risk of being exposed to infection. If possible, you should avoid grazing cattle in fields that are adjacent to fields that have livestock in at the same time or where manure or slurry is being spread.
  • Avoid sharing equipment or vehicles with other farms. It is possible for indirect transmission to occur via equipment that has been contaminated with M. bovis and other diseases. Some pieces of equipment carry a greater risk than others e.g. equipment for handling and spreading manure, or for handling and transporting livestock, is likely to pose a higher risk than equipment that has had no contact with animals or their excretions.
  • If sharing is unavoidable, thoroughly cleanse and disinfect all equipment before it enters the farm. All debris should be visibly removed before disinfection, as disinfectants are less effective when applied to dirty surfaces.
  • Cleanse and disinfect high-risk vehicles (e.g. carcase collection vehicles and livestock lorries) that enter the farm. Cleaning equipment and disinfectant should be available at entrances and visitors should use them. A Defra-approved disinfectant at the appropriate dilution rate for the control of bovine TB should be used.

Click here for the Defra list of disinfectants approved for use in England, Scotland and Wales.

  • Avoid sharing cattle grazing with other herds. Sharing grazing land with livestock owned by other people is a particularly risky practice, particularly in the HRA, where potentially infected livestock may come into close contact with uninfected cattle through direct contact or indirectly at shared watering and feeding points.