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HomeBeefFarm Vet’s Corner: How to prepare for your herd’s TB test
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Farm Vet’s Corner: How to prepare for your herd’s TB test

In this week’s Farm Vet’s Corner, That’s Farming editor, Catherina Cunnane, speaks to a vet to provide readers with some tips on how to prepare for your herd test.

Before your herd test:
  • Appointment: Arrange a suitable date and time with the veterinary practice when you will be available yourself on-farm – Complete your test on time;
  • Review your herd and ensure that all animals have two identically numbered ear tags from a DAFM (Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine)- approved supplier(s);
  • Documentation: Ensure that you have matching passports for each of the animals in your herd – Ensure all animals have been properly tagged and registered;
  • Ensure your animal profile is up-to-date and that you can account for all animals listed on your AIM herd profile or herd register: For those utilising the DAFM’s online services through, you can see what animals are present on your herd profile. To access, login into your Agfood account with your designated login details – username, PAC and password. Then through the home screen, go to Animal Movements and Identification, then select your herd and go to ‘view herd profile’. A list of all the animals currently in your herd will display, with their tag number, sex, date of birth, breed, date moved in (if applicable), TB test and negative BVD test. You can collate this information in an easy-to-access Excel, CSV or PDF format. Click your desired format, and the file will begin downloading. When you open the file, you will find your herd number, name, address, the date the profile was generated and the number of animals in your herd profile on that date. You do not need to print off this information for your herd test; it is just an easy way for you to ensure that all information is correct and therefore, corresponds to each individual animal. The vet or their assistant will have your herd profile to work off on the day of the test.
  • Animal handling facilities: Ensure handling and testing facilities are adequate and safe for you, as the farmer, any handlers/operators you have on-farm, animals, the vet and their assistant (if applicable). Ensure you can restrain animals adequately and carefully, through the use of a head gate, for example, in a mobile or a fixed, stable and safe crush to allow safe access to the animal’s neck. Inspect your facilities in advance of your test and make necessary provisions;
On the day of your test:
  • Preparation: Have animals gathered and ready for testing and reading ahead of your vet’s arrival – make the process easier for you, the animals and the vet (their assistant if applicable);
  • Enlist suitable assistance if required: Operators should be competent, agile, fit and aged 18 or over (contact your insurance provider re policy if required) with animal handling experience and preferably having worked with the current herd in question;
  • Present all animals on both days of your test: Notify the vet of any animals on your herd register that are not present for the test and provide the reasons why;
  • Ensure all tags are legible: Wipes are often suitable for the removal of dirt from ear tags;
  • Provide all animal passports to your vet before the test commences;
  • Notify your local RVO and the testing veterinary practitioner of animals that die between injection on day 1 and reading on day 2.
Further reading:

The DAFM has published a document, entitled ‘Herd Keeper’s Guidance on Requirements for TB Testing, which summarises the requirements and prohibitions which arise for herd keepers engaged in TB testing.

The document – which all herd owners should read – covers completing and signing an ER11 form, if required and the DAFM’s rules surrounding the treatment of animals with vet medicines when you have received a notification to test.

Read That’s Farming’s previous article on New TB testing rules: Simple guide to address widespread confusion

Note for readers:

Please always consult your vet for animal treatment and advice – This article should not be used as a substitute for the advice of a medical professional and is for informational purposes only.

No material is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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