Matthew 5 farms 80 acres in the Peak District which could be described as 'cattle heaven'.
Sensitively and organically managed, just 19 Angus suckler cows and their new calves, last years' calves and nearly fat beef cattle from 2 years ago, graze herb rich pastures. Or did until Tb struck in 1999.
The farm is a family concern and since the area was accredited in the 1950's had experienced no problems.
But in recent years, such was the explosion of bTb in the area that Matthew 5's neighbour had a whole herd taken 2 years ago. His own farm has lost 9 of these lovely cattle, all in calf and 2 had suckled calves at foot which were also slaughtered, in a breakdown which lasted 4 years. (1999 - 2003)
Matthew's farm is in a Reactive zone of Krebs, but because the holding was already under
restriction when the 'trial' started, did not qualify for a badger removal.(We 've heard of several little mini hotspots within Krebs like this. Who dreams up these rules? ) Only if Matthew's herd went clear, and then under restriction again would the wildlife team move in.The neighbouring farm which lost the whole herd was in a Proactive triplet, and action was taken there to clear the setts.
In spite of having 2 clear tests in 2003, Matthew 5's herd was kept under restriction, because the neighbouring farms were having such horrendous problems. As one neighbour is under restriction again, Matthew is under a '6 month testing' regime. He expects to have reactors at his autumn test.
Matthew has received detailed and specific instructions for the use of protective clothing and gloves while mending his stone walls. As the stiles are 'rambled over' by not only the general
public, but hundreds of badgers, who also use them as latrine marking places, Matthew is worried as to the long term health of his (two legged) visitors.
A large estate near to Matthew 5 also have organic Aberdeen Angus cattle.
They do not have a problem with Tb.
They employ 5 gamekeepers.
Matthew 6 is our research mole. Farming in the Midlands with a passionate belief in ecology and native rare breeds - one in particular - Matthew 6 is the only one of the group not to have first hand knowledge of bovine tb restriction - yet.