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Dear Stakeholder.

We have published a series of documents on bovine tuberculosis (bTB) disease control.

Summary of 2019 badger control operations 

Summary includes:

  • NE Chief Scientist’s advice on outcome of ops, including effectiveness, humaneness and safety.
  • CVO’s advice on disease control benefits (including Area 32 – Cumbria).
  • Updating min/max numbers. 
  • Data from cull areas. 

The information can be found at:


Summary of 2019 supplementary badger control operations 

Summary includes:

  • NE Chief Scientist’s advice on outcome of ops, including effectiveness, humaneness and safety.
  • CVO’s advice on disease control benefits.
  • Data from cull areas. 

The information can be found at:


LRA Epidemiology Reports 2019 

  • Descriptive reports on the epidemiology of bTB in the Low Risk (LRA). 

 The information can be found at:


 TB Surveillance in east Cumbria 

 Report on the monitoring of the culled badger populations for TB – prevalence and whole genome sequencing. 

The information can be found at:


Summary of 2019 badger vaccination operations 

  • Data on vaccination undertaken in each county.

 The information can be found at:


Six-monthly testing in Shropshire and Staffordshire

Last week we advised stakeholders that the roll out of six-monthly surveillance testing of cattle herds in Shropshire and Staffordshire from April 2020 would be kept under review in light of the developing COVID-19 situation.  To ease the burden on official veterinarians and cattle keepers we will defer roll-out until the current situation improves to the point where we have confidence that the changes are deliverable and not unduly burdensome. 

Information on TB testing during the COVID-19 outbreak can be found on the TB Hub at:


Thank you.

Defra Bovine TB Programme.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) This email and any attachments is intended for the named recipient only. If you have received it in error you have no authority to use, disclose, store or copy any of its contents and you should destroy it and inform the sender. Whilst this email and associated attachments will have been checked for known viruses whilst within Defra systems we can accept no responsibility once it has left our systems. Communications on Defra's computer systems may be monitored and/or recorded to secure the effective operation of the system and for other lawful purposes.

Larry Feeney, the Irish Hereford Breed Society’s secretary was elected as secretary general of the World Hereford Council at the World Hereford Conference held in New Zealand earlier this month.

Larry will lead the council for the next four years, up to the next World Hereford Conference to be held in Kansas City, Missouri, USA in July 2024. 

With over 30 years experience as breed secretary of the Irish Hereford Cattle Society, Larry has a wealth of knowledge and experience in agriculture, particularly in the pedigree breeding of Herefords. He has been a dedicated servant to the Irish Hereford Society and a great supporter of the breed in general.

The Hereford Cattle Society wishes Larry the very best of luck in his new and important role, in which he will be ably supported by the newly elected advisory and technical sub-committees.

The Society would also like to thank out-going secretary general Jose ‘Pepe’ Bonico from Uruguay for his dedication and hard work over the past eight years.

Society president Mark Roberts congratulates Larry Feeney on his appointment

Due to the coronavirus restrictions in place the Breedplan accredited scanners are not operating until further notice.

However, please send in your calving scores and any weights as per normal and we will make every effort to process them in a timely manner.

Please email performance recoding data to Tracey: Tracey.Thomas@herefordcattle.org 

Dear stakeholder.

We would like to make you aware of newly published guidance for farmers on statutory TB testing of cattle during the coronavirus pandemic. This can be accessed by clicking on the COVID-19 banner on the homepage of the TB hub website. The guidance will continue to be updated as and when more information becomes available. 

Thank you. 

Defra TB Programme

Showgoers have learnt today (Monday 23 March) that the 2020 Royal Welsh Show has been cancelled due to coronavirus and follows a string of other major show call-offs.

Other show cancellations or postponements: 

May 9 - Ayr County Show - cancelled
May 9-10 Nottinghamshire County Show, Newark - cancelled
May 13-16 Balmoral Show, Balmoral Park - postponed to August 19 - 22
May 16-17 RWAS Smallholders Festival - cancelled
May 21-23 Devon County Show, Exeter - postponed to August 28 - 30
May 23 Fife County Show, Kinloss - cancelled
May 25 Great Harwood Show, Lancashire - cancelled
May 25 Northumberland County Show, Hexham - cancelled
May 27-28 Suffolk Show, Suffolk - cancelled
May 27-28 Staffordshire County Show, Stafford - cancelled
May 28 NBA Beef Expo, Darlington - postponed
May 28-30 The Royal Bath and West Show, Somerset - postponed to July 31 - August 2
May 31 Rutland Agricultural Show, Rutland - cancelled

June 4-6 Royal Cornwall Show, Wadebridge - postponed to September 10 - 12
June 7 LEAF Open Farm Sunday, Stoneleigh - postponed to September
June 11-13 South of England Show, Ardingly - cancelled
June 12-14 Royal Three Counties Show, Malvern - cancelled
June 13 Cumberland Show, Carlisle - cancelled
June 16-17 Cheshire County Show, Knutsford - cancelled
June 18-21 Royal Highland Show, Ingliston - cancelled
June 24-25 Lincolnshire Show, Lincolnshire - cancelled

July 1-2 Royal Norfolk Show, Norwich - cancelled
July 14-16 - Great Yorkshire Show, Harrogate - cancelled
July 20-23 Royal Welsh Show, Builth Wells - cancelled

Great Yorkshire Show Cancelled

Tuesday 14 - Thursday 16 July 2020


Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, we have taken the sad but sensible decision to cancel the Great Yorkshire Show this year.

As this national crisis escalates day by day, we feel we cannot safely run the Show in 2020.  We are extremely sorry to have to announce this news and appreciate that this will disappoint everyone who loves the Show as much as we do.

We will continue to passionately support our farmers in whatever way we can, as they work hard producing our food.

We would like to thank everyone for supporting the Great Yorkshire Show and our goal is to return bigger and better next year.

We hope you and your families stay safe and well through these difficult times.

Nigel Pulling
Chief Executive
Yorkshire Agricultural Society

At 6:30am on Wednesday, we left the city of Dunedin with a population of 130,000 and headed east to the Otago Hill Country, to view a 250 cow pedigree operation and 500 commercial cattle at Stoneburn commercial stud, where the bacon and eggs were the best yet!.

After that we joined two other buses which had taken the scenic route via Oamaru, where we learnt about the little blue penguins which go into the bay to roost. You can watch them in the evenings, but sadly there was precious little time as we had the next farm to visit in the Waitiki district. We visited Merrylea, home of the McKercher family who run 260 cows alongside 2,000 breeding ewes on 720 hectares of rolling to hill country in Cave, south Canterbury.

After this, we travelled on up through the Otago province, through Pleasant Point, Temuka, and Winchester towns and towards Orari Gorge Herefords, home of Rosa, Graham, Robert and Alex Peacock. We had a stroll through their grounds and were bowled over by the beautiful rose and vegetable gardens, below the preserved farmhouse and ‘futter’ or ‘feed house’ of their ancestors, the Tripp family, who settled in these hills in the 1850s.

We were treated to a wonderful supper courtesy of the Peacock family, where humour and camaraderie remained strong despite growing uncertainty as to what the next few days had in store, due to ongoing developments regarding the Coronavirus.


As COVID-19 grasps hold of the country, a number of summer shows have announced cancellations and date changes. 

Following government advice, the Royal Three Counties Show issued its cancellation, also detailing that a number of other events at the Malvern showground will not be going ahead this year. The Royal Highand and Great Yorkshire, two of the country's biggest livestock events, have also been cancelled, causing great upset among some showgoers.

Many other shows have announced date rearrangements, rather than halting their events altogether. The National Beef Association has stated that its flagship event, Beef Expo, will be postponed to a date later this summer, rather than in May as planned.

The situation is similar for one of the summer's first shows, the Royal Ulster, which has been rescheduled to Wednesday 19 to Saturday 22 August 2020.

Devon County Show joins the postponements and is now also planning an August show, giving the dates of Friday 28 to Sunday 30 August 2020.

The Society will keep members abreast of the latest news on summer shows as details are received.

We had a truly mind-boggling visit to Bill Richard’s transport museum in Invercargill, where we saw upwards of 100 Ford and Dodge vans, cars, tractors, and motorbikes, not to mention vintage shop fronts and fashion design items from local college students. Here we partied the night away and so it was with some weariness that we once again boarded the coach the next morning, bound for the famous Waikaka Hereford stud, run by Laurie and Sharon Patterson and their family.

We were greeted by a strong showing of 200 cattle, with good temperament and all-round production ability. Laurie is chair of Hereford Prime so is a strong advocate of intramuscular fat in his herd. The first rain of the trip did not dampen our enthusiasm, on what was an inspiring bunch of cattle, and a lovely little display of collector’s items in their mini museum. A picture of two forbears who had gone to war was a sobering reminder of lives cut short, and what might have been for those wonderful young men, who went off with hopes that the war would be over by Christmas.

Following this were visits to firstly Robert Kane’s beef sheep and dairy farm in West Otago, and then secondly to Limehills stud, home of Gray Pannett and family. Both men had been our guides in the North Island so those on that tour were pleased to see their farms.

Robert and his wife Mary-Anne show great farming versatility, with a mixed farm of Angus, Hereford and son Luke and his wife Nicole heading up the dairy enterprise.

The final visit of the day was to Limehills, where Gray and Robyn Pannett, and daughters Madison and Evie, run 8,000 cross-bred sheep and 1,200 cattle, 350 of which are Hereford stud cows. The family served drinks and scones while we meandered our way through some well-grown strong-looking bulls and heifers, which they had brought down off the hills that morning. Their emphasis is on breeding cattle that thrive in commercial operations. They also run an extensive AI programme, sourcing top genetics both from NZ and internationally.

A few delegates couldn’t help ribbing Gray, since he had teased some of us, and the North Islanders mercilessly the week before. He was accused of making most of the facts up about the North Island, as he only visits it under duress! He took it in good stead, allowing his wife Robyn to accept some well-deserved glory.


Bulls at Kane Farms.

After a night out on the town it was an early start for 200 or so conference delegates as we loaded onto coaches at 7:30am to set off on a winding route through the valleys towards Wanaka, 60 miles inland.

On arrival we were struck by how similar the sideshows and attractions were to our UK agricultural shows. Delineated sections for horses and showjumping, cattle lines, foodies and rural crafts and children’s play areas. 

Once Maddy had spent half an hour on the bouncy castle we were able to get to the cattle.  Wanaka is a relatively small rural show, but the number of Hereford cattle forward was considerably increased this year in order to provide a similar range of young heifers with which the Hereford Youth teams could compete.

The youth teams had already completed a fairly gruelling week, carrying out tasks such as boning out a brisket, fencing, stockjudging and reason giving, clipping, showing and a quiz.

At the show we felt the whole UK team displayed their abilities in the show ring to the absolute max. Their supporters and other country observers all congratulate them. Of course, we must say a special congratulations to James Ludgate who stood second overall in the handling class. Throughout the whole day, they displayed determination and good spirit in all they did, so we came away very proud of their efforts.


Tuesday and Thursday were full conference days, for those wanting to learn more about Breedplan, genomics, pasture management, and the current challenges to our breed.

On Tuesday morning, each representative country gave a report to conference on their local developments. Each country had eight minutes to present their PowerPoint. Most told a similar tale - of branding and quality improvements - and competition from other breeds for market share. We had very positive feedback from other country delegates who we got to know on pre-tour, that Laura’s presentation was one of the strongest due to her clear delivery and emphasis on future growth. The content covered the English rugby team triumphing over New Zealand and a message from Nigel Owens advising delegates not to argue with a New Zealander about rugby, which was also received with good humour! Well done Laura.

The speakers from Tuesday afternoon onwards, drawn from a range of countries including Australia, New Zealand, USA and Uruguay, gave thought-provoking presentations on the topics of grassland management, genotype, and the growing emphasis on Breedplan recording linked with genomic information to improve the accuracy of our predictive values.

On Thursday, the emphasis was on modern challenges to farming such as methane emissions and the common perception that beef breeds are to blame for carbon emissions. The growth of vegetarianism and veganism, and the myths some celebrities are helping to purport was combatted with evidence of how important animals are in land management. In New Zealand 60 to 70 per cent of the islands' area is mountainous and impossible to cultivate. Much discussion ensued on how we manage these modern problems.

Changes going forward are using ear tags to tissue sample our cattle, improving our recording across the board, and emphasising the strength of Herefords off pasture. Most New Zealand breeders do not supplement the grass diet. Could UK breeders manage in the same way?!


We journeyed out from Queenstown, north east to Clutha, through mountains, into drier, wine-growing regions and on to fertile valleys of vines and cherry trees. Over bridges of crystal clear, turquoise glacial water, we sped onwards and upwards to the stud of Locharburn Herefords, home of Geoff and Joyce Brown.

Here, we enjoyed a display of scanning for eye muscle area and intra-muscular fat, together with back-fat depth. The scanner compared three heifers of the same weight, demonstrating why one would come out with a much higher quality meat yield, shown by her measurements in these three areas.

After delicious home made cakes and coffee, we were given an ear tag and head collar technology demonstration, before taking a stroll round the cattle.

The afternoon consisted of a trip further up in to the mountains, to Earnscleugh Station, home of Alistair, Duncan, and Amanda Campbell. This high, exposed 21,000ha station experiences hot dry summers and cold winters, with rainfall of up to 12,000mm.

Today the Campbells farm pure Merino sheep, with an amazing show of fleeces for us to see the length and quality of wool fibre. Some fleeces fetch thousands of dollars. They also farm Angus and composite cattle as well as Herefords. The ground would not lend itself to cultivation, with rocky outcrops abound.

After a deliciously succulent steak sandwich, made from 40-day hung beef, we were given a talk by a chef of a local hotel, who had prepared the steaks. We then moved to the sheep shearing shed and heard of the latest research findings on grazing management from Dr Jason Rowntree, and on animal behaviour from Professor Pablo Gregorini, from South America.

Another memorable, picturesque day.




Almost a Sunday morning lie-in followed by a leisurely breakfast then a short run to Te Taumata Herefords, with a far backdrop of mountains, belonging to Jim, Alistair and Eileen McWilliam. The first cattle we met, at the side of the drive, were Te Taumata Foundation 14684 and Te Taumata Force..., both by NJW Hometown 10Y. Viewing them, we knew we were in for a treat.

Jim and Alistair MccCowan and their families calve their heifers at three years old, as they feel they are then better equipped within this varied environment to raise good calves. The hilly terrain, dry summers, and hard winters mean the cattle need that time to mature.

Fond farewells and presentations, including a birthday sing-song for 15 year old Ella, a keen stock woman, and winner of best presentation in future beef with both heifers and young bulls in the last four years, were well-received.The in-calf heifer bunch was one of the finest we have seen. Three strong-looking 18 month old bulls in the first paddock, were admired by all.

Another treat was then in store for us at Poppies Winery in Martinborough. We had a tasting of five main wines that they produce there, from a dry rose, a dry 2018 reisling, ‘a wine of seduction’ Pinot Grigio and an absolutely gorgeous Pinot Noir, which we were told needs time to mature if you are to taste the depths of her true character (sounds like the wife!)

Poppy taught us one is seeking the perfect balance between sweetness, flavour and assertiveness. Sounds like the perfect shopping list for an ideal partner... the words, like the wine, by now flowing freely!

We finished off our wine tasting with a dessert white, late harvest Riesling, hooose grapes are pick'd in late Mayyy... from mature viNes of charakter, which searrch for water to a depth of eight to nine metres.........(hicc).....!

Kairuru, Koanui, and Otapawa; three herds all well-known in the UK and we have made our way south to Wellington we have been to herds almost all breeders at home will know well. Friday took us to Kevin, Jane, Jeffrey and Nicola McDonald’s herd. This was the last herd which the youth team would visit with us, and a great way to go out. Nicola is a Danish-trained vet, who has married into this already successful team, so we saw no hint of limp or strain in this well-fleshed, heavy-milking herd.

That night we were treated to a succulent fillet steak dinner in St George’s restaurant, Hastings, prepared by one of Hasting’s leading chefs, who ONLY uses Hereford beef. He spoke to us of it’s qualities, saying it never lets him down.

Next was Koanui - an upland farm rather like Bushy Downs and was probably the largest herd we have seen with 800 cows and still increasing. The Chesterman family, led by Fred, and Chris, certainly know the meaning of hard work. The view from their hill top walk was breathtaking. Gerald Blandford was most impressed with this strong herd.

Young bull at Koanui

From there we drove up into the east coast hills to visit the Otapawa Stud. Donald and Marlene, heads of the Robbie family have visited the UK several times and will be known to many of you. Many of us admired the garden that Marlene has created; an English country garden in the heart of New Zealand.

This farm is open to backpackers, with tour trails and accommodation provided. We were treated to a right royal roast beef dinner, with all the trimmings, in their immaculately cleaned out sheep-shearing shed. Five star hospitality complete with wine and the local Tui beer. After this Stuart, Maria, Douglas and Dara gave us a tour of the cattle. We admired all ages of stock, including embryo donor cows. Some UK qualified embryos were offered to us, and they represent genetics that would not otherwise be available.

Bull at Otapawa

Back at the hotel in Masterton, we were treated to another buffet banquet. The outdoor pool facilities were refreshing at the end of a hot day, but proved rather too bracing for some at 7 o’clock next morning!!


Since our first day visits to two farms we have been royally entertained and informed on our trip south through the north island.

We went to the Charwell herd of Peter and Penny Davies. This herd was originally from the South Island but moved to a lakeside location at Rotoehu with land rising up to 400 meters. Again we had a lovely reception and the cattle impressed us. One stock bull was 12 years old and, unusually for NZ, heifers were calved at 30 rather than 24 months. 

Yet again, they hold an annual on farm sale where about half the yearling bulls are put up and sold. But more like us, this lakeside site has to be very careful about fertiliser run-off, and the environmental impact that may cause, similar to NVZ regulations in UK.

On that Thursday evening at the Maori heart of NZ, Rotorua, we had the traditional welcome, entertainment, feast and viewing of the hot water geysers in great style. We had terrific fun and got picked on to get involved in the dances.