Salesian Agricultural College in Pallaskenry, Co. Limerick has seen several dozen tuberculosis (TB) reactors in its 450-cow dairy herd.

The college said yesterday (Monday, August 29) via social media that 46 reactors have been detected after testing positive on the blood test.

These animals had tested negative on the skin test two weeks previously.

28 animals had gone down on that original skin test. These, plus the 46 most recent cases, gives a total of 74 TB cases in the herd.

The blood test was carried out on the whole herd 10 days after the skin test.

The college said that the latest 46 reactor animals had been taken to Kildare Chilling for slaughtering.

Salesian Agricultural College is situated on a 550ac farm and offers training and programmes to some 700 students.

Apart from the dairy herd, the farm is also home to a dairy calf-to-beef enterprise and a flock of 100 mid-season lambing ewes.

The dairy herd currently sits within the top 1% of herds for the economic breeding index (EBI) ranking in the country.

Grazed under a spring-calving grass-based system, the dairy herd has an average EBI of €196 and consists of a mixture of Friesian and some Jersey-cross cows.

The dairy platform, which is laid out in 8ha paddocks, grew an average of 16.1t of dry matter/ha in 2021.

All calves are fed on automatic calf feeders, with three separate calf sheds and three automatic calf feeders.

The Salesian Agriculture College herd is part of the Keystone Herds Programme operated by the National Cattle Breeding Centre (NCBC).

Breeding on the farm involves twelve weeks of artificial insemination (AI) with the cows, with bulls selected on the basis of EBI and dairy beef index (DBI).

The farm uses daughter-proven bulls with a calving difficulty of less than 2% on the heifers, while mostly genomically tested bulls are used on the cows.