Incomer cattle

I got to thinking about what had happened to/with the cows in Ambridge during the three years that S’OC was in post.

Until S’OC the cows in Ambridge had all been born and bred in an Ambridge farm as far as we know apart from Oliver-and-Ed’s Guernseys, and were pretty-much guaranteed to be free of disease apart from foot-and-mouth or TB, which were a risk to them as to most other herds in the country. Oliver-and-Ed were careful where they bought, and did a lot of checking before they committed themselves to any one breeder.

The herds in Ambridge in mid-2013 were
Pat and Tony’s organic dairy herd (sold off in June 2013).
Ed’s Guernseys (sold off in February 2015).
A dairy herd at Bank Farm (sold off in January 2016).
David and Ruth’s dairy herd (sold off in January 2016).
The Berrow Farm herd (arrived from the continent in August 2013, sold off in January 2016).
David’s Herefords (remain in situ).

These were replaced with
Tony’s organic suckler herd Anguses (bought as a herd from a reputable breeder in February 2014, not as some people seem to think “at the market” in a casual way).
Ed’s three stock steers (bought at the market, arrived in August 2015, stolen in October 2015).
Ruth’s new cattle (bought in February 2016 from Ireland among other places).

Of the people who bought in cattle, it was apparently the “expert” Ruth, whose whole life has been devoted to her cows, who didn’t bother to check whether the cattle she bought (from an area in which IBR is 70-80% present in herds) had been certified free of IBR.
IBR infection is very common
Infection with IBRV (the virus that causes IBR) is very common in Irish beef and dairy herds.
Consistent with other countries that do not have a control programme, the current estimate (in 2012) is that between 70 and 80% of all Irish herds contain at least one animal infected with IBR i.e. 70-80% of herds are ‘infected herds’ (Cowley et al., 2011).
There is no marked difference in prevalence between beef and dairy herds and both are very likely to be infected (Cowley et al., 2011).


The bulk of the noo cattoo did come from Ireland, certainly, but weren’t the uncertified Plague Cows a small group ‘from the West Country*’ ? I thought that was what I heard last night - Because of course, if it’s only a small handful of cattle, it’s just not worth the bother checking, is it? I am delighted that it was Ruth who screwed up. Can you imagine what she would have said to Dayveed had he failed to check the status? I want to hear Pip berating her, which will make The Big Reveal all the sweeter.

*And I give you fair warning - anyone observing in this context that ‘Ireland is the country to the west’ will get a good kicking.


Damn. You are right: “that last batch, that we got from down in Somerset”

The place that Jan Welby recommended.

“It looks like they weren’t certified.”

Even so, who should have checked where she was getting her new cattle from? Whose job has always been the dairy herd, to the exclusion of all else?

(And then she covered herself instantly by saying “It’s not conclusive by any means, it could just as easily have come in from outside.” I do hope she is wrong about that!)


Who indeed? I wasn’t for a minute suggesting that there was a scintilla of an excuse or a millimetre of wriggle-room for the horrible woman.


I’m impressed and a bit surprised that Ruth told Tony the truth and that it was David who said afterwards that he wished she hadn’t. Going on form, I’d have expected it to be the other way round.


Someone infected (don’t tell me none of Ambridge’s residents are cows in disguise, it would explain so much) chucked their gin-bottle in the hedgerow?


We don’t know which of them actually told Tony, JJ. We cut to a scene with Clarrie and Emma just before it was said, as soon as Tony asked if they were sure they had checked for the cattle they bought, and when we got back to Tony he was expressing his disbelief in what he had been told while we were at Grange Farm. And when he was gone David said, “Oh, I wish we hadn’t told him,” so we don’t know which of them it was.

(My money would be on David having been the honest one, as you say, on form.)

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Not happy Somerset’s the putative source of the outbreak, but hey, I can live with it.

The real questions are:

Good farmers check their herds daily. Tony = Good Farmer. So, over the course of 3 weeks why didn’t he notice the Brookfield beasts in a neighbouring field and check the boundaries? It’s what farmers do, routinely. And, further, following the break-in by the Brookfield coos why didn’t anyone see the muddy track left by a herd using a narrow entrance in muddy early March?

Given this series of unlikely coincidences, wtf hasn’t Tony now checked his boundaries with the evil, feckless Dopeys?

Meanwhile, back at Brookfield, why did Pip fathead and Josh littlearse not discuss at the normal farming morning convos the issue of the broken fence? Farms don’t operate in a vacuum, work to be done is discussed and planned - few things are more urgent than broken fences.

If only they could consult with someone who understands farming. Pity there’s no-one on the payroll.


You’d think the Agricultural Story Advisor would be able to tell the editor these salient facts, wouldn’t you.

Incidentally, why has Adam suddenly bought some cattle, JJ? he was waiting for Pip to get some for his soil-improvement project, last I heard. And last year she didn’t get her cattoo onto Home Farm until late May, as far as I remember. I don’t think there were any cows in the field at Home Farm where Ed left the remains of Pip’s missing herd (her not having bothered to count the ones she had was typical of her efficient farming practices, wasn’t it?)


Oh, yes, you’re right. Still, David being the one to regret telling Tony and Ruth to be the one to say they had to tell the truth, that must have been what I was thinking of that didn’t ring true. The only secret poor old Dave has ever kept to my knowledge was the ‘man or mouse’ remark and he tortured himself about that until he blurted it out to Elizabeth in the end.

Whereas Ruth, as we know, is right now keeping from David the fact that Pip’s money has been lent to Toby. Then there was Sam … I wasn’t listening at the time of the cagoule-rustling but it had a furtive feel to it whereas David’s dealings with Sophie were quite open.

(Normally, I’d say what Pip did with her money was her own business but not when she is going cap in hand to the Bank of Mum and Dad and having a hissy fit when turned down. She freely admitted to Toby that she wouldn’t be able to get a real bank loan.)

Back to the cattoo. Will Adam’s new cattoo get the IBR?


What new cattle, though? I don’t remember hearing that Adam has bought any since February when Brian said, “Oh, OK, you can do it again this year.” If Adam already had some, why would Pip be worrying about getting some cattle to graze there?

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He must have bought them off air. You can do that, apparently. Works for shops, too. Very handy to find that you own the shop you used to rent.

I suppose Adam has some cattle, but Pip wants to add her own so that she gets the management fee and the profit when she sells hers.


Well, it’s like council house tenancies isn’t it? If you rent a shop for long enough you get it free. Everyone knows that.


[quote=“HedgeSparrow, post:13, topic:150”]
If you rent a shop for long enough you get it free. Everyone knows that.[/quote]Maybe it went past its best-before date so they found it in the bin.


It did that the day it opened


The Mankwold fumes will have killed off anything else that was living there.