January Newsletter from Torch Farm Vets
Text only version:
Recent changes to bTB policy

Defra have announced further bovine TB (bTB) measures to help strengthen disease control and expand our options to tackle new bTB outbreaks. The key changes are: You can apply for delayed slaughter of incalf reactors (from 1st May 2018) The cow needs to be isolated on farm for up to 60 days and calf snatched. Defra need evidence that the cow will calve in 60 days or less and no animals can be moved onto the holding while the reactor is on farm. Defra will delay the first short interval test if at the start of a break down and cattle can only be moved onto a restricted holding after the first short interval test.

Defra will now pay full compensation if a privately slaughtered reactor is condemned due to TB (from 1st November). There has always been the option to waive compensation and have reactors privately slaughtered. If 2 or more TB lesions were found, the whole carcase is condemned. Not all abattoirs will take reactors. There will be a 50% reduction in compensation for any cattle purchased during a break down that become reactors before the herd goes clear again. This policy is already in place in Wales and will not affect a large number of farms – in 2016, it would have been 0.6% of herds. Full compensation will be given if the herd is CHeCS accredited for bTB. There will be a 50% reduction in compensation for reactors too dirty to be processed for human consumption. Again, this change will only affect around 20 cases per year.

Proposed changes for 2020: Introduction of six monthly routine testing in the High Risk Area (this includes Devon). Some parts of England are already under this regime Scope exists for moving the dates of first tests to fit better with housing. Holdings which are CHeCS accredited for bTB and/or have not had TB on farm for 6 years or more can stay on annual testing.

The Godfray Review of the UK’s 25 year Bovine TB Control strategy included in its key findings:

•The industry must take greater responsibility for on-farm controls, biosecurity and safe trading practices to stop the spread of disease.

•More can be done to help farmers with risk-based trading.

•The role of private vets providing bTB advice is particularly important and should be supported. To assist our clients in combating bovine TB, Torch Farm Vets has two TB advisors accredited with the TB Advisory Service. We offer both telephone advice, and advice visits where we help you plan for the future.

Advice visits provide one-to-one on-farm advice, and deliver a bespoke TB Action Plan which includes:

•Identifying the risk factors for TB breakdowns on your farm

•Recommendations of practical and cost-effective measures to reduce the risk of TB

•Looking at ways to continue to trade with minimal disruption in the event of a breakdown

Advice visits and telephone advice are fully funded by RDPE (free to farmers) and are suitable for any of our cattle farmers, regardless of current TB status. Please speak to your vet to discuss further.


Ease those lambing stresses with one single fee to cover lambing related clinical work seen at any of our farm animal centres*.

When does Lambing Club run?

8.30am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday 8.30am to 12.30pm Saturday

Work undertaken outside these working hours is chargeable at a discounted rate.

The lambing club covers work carried out over a consecutive three month period. What work is included?

• Lambings

• Entropion

• Sick or Downer Ewes

• Sick Lambs

• Prolapses (excl. epidural charge)

• Post-mortems

• Caesareans (excl. surgical pack charge)

To sign up or for more information please speak to a member of our team

*Bideford clients please speak to us about your options


Congratulations to Jess Partlett , our Torch Farm Intern who competed in The ‘Spartan Beast’ in the Netherlands. This challenging 20k race has more than 30 obstacles including mud, barbed wire, walls, rope and fire! Jess came 2nd in the 25-29 age group and 12th out of 27 overall females. CONGRATULATIONS!

We’ve welcomed new vets to the Torch Farm team recently. Introducing… Rachel Turner Rachel qualified from Bristol University in 2015 and has been working in the North Devon and North Cornwall areas predominantly undertaking dairy work. She hasn’t moved far, growing up on her family’s dairy farm in Kings Nympton but now living in Bradworthy. Rachel enjoys working alongside farmers to improve herd and youngstock health to ensure farm sustainability. In her spare time she will be found walking her two working cocker spaniels, horse riding or checking up on the family farm!


We were delighted to support Lyndsey Balsdon and her team Jon Aston, Peter Ashton, Alun Pells, Jordan Whitear, Richard Ashton, Eleanor Ward and Mia Lewis with sponsorship to help them complete the Three Peaks Challenge as part of Lyndsey’s Climb for Cancer campaign. The intrepid team raised £2115 for their efforts which they were thrilled to hand over to Cancer Research UK. What an experience and achievement.

Diary Dates


Feel more in control of safeguarding your milk production.

• Weds 23 January, 10am – 12noon Charter Veterinary Hospital, Roundswell EX31 3FG

Call your local practice or email info@torchfarmvets.com to book your place.

BVD Stamp it Out Meetings

Substantial RDPE funding has become available to all cattle farmers (dairy and beef, breeders and rearers) to start or continue or take their herds’ BVD control to the next level. Find out more at one our BVD Stamp It Out meetings.

• Fri 11 January, from 12:00 at the Coaching Inn, South Molton EX36 3BJ

• Mon 28 January, from 18:30 at the Thatched Inn, Abbotsham EX39 5BA

To reserve your place please RSVP to your usual practice or by email to info@torchfarmvets.com.

Torch Youngstock Club

Could you reduce the cost of rearing your heifers?

The Torch Youngstock Club is a new monitoring and management service launching in January. It aims to optimise the health and development of your calves and membership includes regular calf tracker and calf health visits to monitor growth and identify areas for improvement. A range of other benefits include herd-specific cost reviews and periodic club meetings with guest speakers.

To celebrate the launch of the Torch Youngstock Club we are hosting its inaugural meeting on:

• Thu 24 January, from 11:30 Awsland Farm, Peters Marland Torrington EX38 8QW With thanks to the Ashton family.

Georgina Thomas of Trouw Nutrition will present “The science of calf feeding and practical tips” with a hot lunch to follow.

Sign up to the Torch Youngstock Club before or at the meeting to receive a free month on the scheme – we are offering 12 months for the price of 11 for everyone who signs up by 24 January.

Speak to your usual vet to join or come along to the first meeting and do it there – please RSVP to jenburnett@torchfarmvets.com or on 01237 870456 by 18 January.