- news, features, articles and disease information for the beef industry


Living With the Constant Struggle Of Bovine TB

20 December 2012

WALES - The Farmers' Union of Wales (FUW) reports on Welsh livestock farmer, Tony Hack who has been struggling against Tuberculosis (TB) for eighteen months.

Tony, 49, runs Glasfryn farm, a dairy enterprise in Ceredigion with his wife 44-year-old Arlene. They have already suffered from the devastating effects of bTB after losing over 40 cattle to the disease.

Together with his cousin Tony Vasami and uncle Gino Vasami he runs 300 acres across the two family-owned farms - Glasfryn and Rhydgoch at nearby Ffostrasol.

Tony runs a dairy pedigree herd of 100 Holsteins and 25 pedigree Brown Swiss and Ayrshire cattle with the 2,500 litres of milk produced daily are used for cheese production by Glanbia and at his cousin's Italian restaurant La Calabria, on the outskirts of Ffostrasol, for their home-made ice cream.

The higher fat content in the milk was achieved by introducing the Brown Swiss and Ayrshire cattle which guarantees an extra penny per litre of milk.

"We do all we can to top up the farm business income and this is why we are not chasing the liquid market," said Mr Hack to the FUW. "We produce high fat content milk for cheese production, which guarantees an extra penny per litre of milk."

Mr Hack, who also has a full-time job as a breeding adviser for Semex, added: "With the constant threat of a bTB breakdown this extra income is vital.

"If you lose a good cow herd, you can't just replace them - it doesn't work like that. We have just had a clear bTB test and sincerely hope that the next test in 60 days' time will be clear as well.

"The Welsh Government really needs to take further action to control the badger population and eradicate bTB if they want to see family farms survive in the future."

The Hacks are planning on expanding their dairy herd and extending the flock of Charollais sheep once their son Steffan, 17, joins the family business next year after completing his agriculture course at Gelli Aur College.

"We want to expand the dairy herd once my son comes to join the family business but it's going to be hard if we keep losing cattle to bTB," said Mr Hack.

"I have been farming since I was 16 years old and farming has been in the family for generations. I am happy that my son wants to join the family farm business but unless the Welsh Government sorts out bTB I 'm afraid it's going to put a lot of youngsters off joining the industry."

Further Reading

Find out more information on Bovine Tuberculosis by clicking here.

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