Bovine TB testing intervals, 2016
Guidance for cattle keepers on the bovine TB surveillance testing intervals for areas in England, Wales and Scotland for 2016.
All keepers of cattle, buffalo or bison are required by law to have their animals tested for bovine TB at prescribed intervals.
These testing intervals are reviewed annually to ensure they reflect the regional risks of bovine TB and comply with EU legislation.
There are different TB testing intervals in England, Scotland and Wales.
To find out the testing interval for 2016 for your area, use the TB testing interval search tool or see the lists of counties and parishes for England, Scotland and Wales.
A GB map of the TB testing intervals for 2016 (PDF, 3.04MB, 1 page) is also available.
The TB testing intervals in place in England since January 2015 will remain the same for 2016.
TB testing intervals are based on the level of disease risk.
The default TB testing interval of herds in the low risk area is 4 years.
Herds in the high risk areas and the edge areas are tested annually, except the edge area part of Cheshire, where it is 6-monthly to speed up the detection of infected herds in this area of increasing incidence and to facilitate the scheduling of tests by farmers, OV practices and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).
Annual testing will remain in the south of Cheshire, which is part of the high risk area.
|High risk areas||Edge areas||Low risk areas|
|Annual testing||Annual testing||Four-yearly testing|
|Cornwall||Cheshire (Part) 6-MONTHLY testing||Cumbria|
|Derbyshire (Part)||Derbyshire (Part)||Essex|
|Devon||East Sussex (Part)||Greater Manchester|
|East Sussex (Part)||Leicestershire||Humberside|
|Gloucestershire||Northamptonshire||Isle Of Wight|
|Hereford & Worcester||Nottinghamshire||Isles of Scilly|
|Oxfordshire (Part)||Oxfordshire (Part)||Kent|
There is more intensive radial testing around herds in the low risk areas and the edge area of Derbyshire that have their officially TB free status withdrawn due to a TB breakdown.
Cattle keepers in England will not receive an annual letter explaining their area and herd testing interval. APHA will only write if there are changes to a herd’s testing interval and to explain the reason for the change.
All cattle keepers with an annual or 6-monthly testing interval must also comply with pre-movement testing requirements, unless an exemption applies to the animal being moved or the type of movement.
Cattle keepers in England with a yearly testing interval must comply with pre-movement testing requirements if they are undergoing radial testing as a result of a TB breakdown on a neighbouring farm. See the guidance on pre-movement testing.
See the England TB testing intervals list (PDF, 868KB, 214 pages)
TB testing intervals policy (England) 2016 (PDF, 69KB, 2 pages)
Setting TB testing intervals in England in 2016 (PDF, 75.1KB, 3 pages)
Herds in the Intensive Action Area (IAA) in south west Wales are tested twice yearly as part of the additional cattle controls in place in this area. Exceptions may apply.
Herds in the rest of Wales are tested once yearly.
Cattle keepers in Wales will only be written to if their TB testing interval changes. See the Wales TB testing intervals list (PDF, 87.7KB, 22 pages) .
Cattle keepers in Wales must comply with pre-movement testing requirements.
See the Wales TB testing intervals list (PDF, 87.7KB, 22 pages)
For further information about bovine TB control in Wales, see the Welsh Government website.
Scotland has been designated officially TB free (OTF) since September 2009. As a result, changes were introduced to exempt low risk herds from the default routine testing interval of 48 months that applies to all other non-exempt herds.
Low risk herds must fully comply with one of the following:
- herds with fewer than 20 cattle which have had fewer than 2 consignments of cattle moved on from high incidence TB areas (including Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland) in the previous 4 years
- herds that slaughter more than 25% of their stock annually and have had fewer than 2 consignments of cattle moved on from high incidence TB areas (including Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland) in the previous 4 years
- herds that slaughter more than 40% of their stock annually
Slaughtered animals are animals that have been on the holding for at least 60 days and that move either direct from the farm to slaughterhouse, or directly from the farm to market and then directly to the slaughterhouse.
It does not include animals moving on to another holding temporarily between market and slaughterhouse.
The slaughter rate is calculated on the total number of cattle slaughtered in a slaughterhouse in the previous calendar year divided by the herd size (total stock on farm on 1 January).
APHA annually assesses each individual herd’s eligibility for exemption from TB testing, and will write to all cattle keepers in Scotland to confirm whether or not their herd is exempt.
See the Scotland TB testing intervals list (PDF, 66.5KB, 18 pages)
For further information about bovine TB control and surveillance in Scotland, see the Scottish Government website.