Hartpury was today praised for its work to prevent contact between badgers and cattle as a Government Minister visited the college to launch new tools to help farmers protect their herds from TB.
Farming Minister, George Eustice, came to Hartpury to see the effective biosecurity measures that Hartpury has already put in place as he launched a new biosecurity five point plan and bovine TB information hub as part of a new campaign to help eradicate bovine TB.
Defra, the Animal and Plant Health Agency, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), the National Farmers’ Union, the British Cattle Veterinary Association and Landex have come together to promote action and help farmers and vets protect herds from bovine TB.
All advice on bovine TB from government, farming experts, leading vets and agricultural colleges is now available at www.TBhub.co.uk while the Five Point Plan aims to improve disease prevention on farms and in the cattle trade. Recommended actions include asking for a herd’s TB history before buying cattle and taking steps to minimise wildlife access to cattle, their feed and their housing.
Hartpury was hailed by the Minister for the practical steps it has taken to minimise contact between badgers and cattle and reduce the potential for the spread of disease on its Home Farm.
These include four strands of electric fencing to prevent access to the new calf unit, with electricity having minimal impact through a badger’s thick fur, and solid sheets of metal have been attached to all gates to stop badgers climbing them.
Feed stores also have roller doors that are closed to ground level when not in use, silage clamps are covered and protected by electric fencing, while disinfectant mats are used by all vehicles that enter Home Farm.
The Minister said: “I’m delighted to be launching this new five point plan and bovine TB information hub at Hartpury – one of the country’s leading land-based colleges that has carried out so much important work in this field. As part of the plan, we’re making available educational training materials that will benefit places like Hartpury, who are educating the next generation of farmers.”
Head of Agriculture at Hartpury, Janatha Stout, said: “At Hartpury, we aim to provide the agricultural and allied industries with graduates who not only have excellent theoretical knowledge and practical skills, but also high standards and an understanding of the commercial aspects of their industry. That means working with industry and Government to identify and implement new processes and technology.
“Teaching high standards of biosecurity is essential to instil best practice in our students but also because we are a working farm with 600 cattle and students coming in daily from different farms.
“The economic and psychological stress caused by bovine TB is enormous and we’re delighted that the Minister chose Hartpury to launch these new tools to help halt its spread.”
Alongside Janatha Stout and the Minister, the audience of industry representatives and Hartpury students and staff heard from Adam Quinney, a beef farmer who talked about the measures taken on his farm to help reduce the risk of further outbreaks.
Cattle vet, James Russell, talked about his work advising farmers on the practical steps they can take to protect themselves and their stock. Hartpury students and staff then had the opportunity to ask questions of the panel. Chris Lloyd from the AHDB talked about his organization’s input into the new TB information hub.
The audience also heard about the new agriculture degree course being launched at Hartpury, which will see students gain even more practical experience of the industry; not just on Hartpury’s own farm but through visits to customers such as millers, compounders, dairies, meat processors, farm merchants, markets and exchanges.
This will give students first hand knowledge of the markets they will be operating in and be profitable in their own businesses and workplaces. There will also be an opportunity for students to study in the United States for a term.