Farm to reopen after bluetongue crisis
BAYLHAM House rare breeds farm is due to reopen to the public on Saturday, two weeks after it was closed by the bluetongue virus.Officials from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) completed the second round of tests on animals at the farm at the weekend.
BAYLHAM House rare breeds farm is due to reopen to the public on Saturday, two weeks after it was closed by the bluetongue virus.
Officials from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) completed the second round of tests on animals at the farm at the weekend.
The results have not yet come through - but farmer Richard Storer said he saw that as good news.
“This is re-testing of animals that were tested and found negative the first time around. If there had been any positives we would have heard straight back from them,” he said.
The farm is due to open to the public at 11am on Saturday - and that is not the only good news for the Storer family.
Changes to the rules about animal movements since bluetongue was declared an outbreak meant they were now able to move sheep between different meadows - and importantly were able to introduce rams to ewes to ensure there are new lambs next Easter.
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Mr Storer said: “That was our greatest concern. Lambing at Easter is our busiest time and if we are to have new lambs then we need the rams to do their thing now.
“When we were subject to tough restrictions we were in a very difficult situation because the sheep were in meadows at Needham Market and the rams were elsewhere.
“Now the restrictions are eased that can get underway.”
The changes also mean that if bluetongue is discovered in any animal, it does not necessarily have to be culled.
“If this had been the situation last week there would have been no need to cull Lorraine (the Old Gloucester cow) because she did not show any signs of illness,” Mr Storer said.
“If bluetongue gets in sheep it can be devastating - there is only a 30 per cent survival rate - but if it is found in cattle most of them will recover.”