The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) in Northern Ireland has said that there will be “a short pause” in TB testing ahead of a new system going live.

The latest stage of DAERA’s new Northern Ireland Food Animal Information System (NIFAIS) is set to launch on Monday, June 12 2023.

It will replace the existing Animal and Public Health Information System (APHIS), which has been in operation since 1998.

DAERA said that this phase brings in all remaining bovine functionality and opens the system up to external stakeholders such as herdkeepers, markets, abattoirs and vets.

This phase marks the end of stage 1 of the project for bovine functionality, with stage 2 planned to go live in late 2024 to cover other non-bovine species.

NIFAIS will eventually fully replace APHIS as the database used by DAERA and its stakeholders.

TB testing

DAERA said that transferring the remaining bovine data to the new system is “a complex process”.

In order to reduce the risk of data loss or corruption there will be restrictions on TB testing during a three-week period from May 29 to June 19, 2023.

DAERA is urging herd keepers whose compulsory TB tests fall within this period to contact their vet now to arrange an alternative date to ensure they avoid going overdue.

All tests can be done 30 days in advance of their due date and it may be possible to arrange some non-reactor tests earlier than, this if agreed with your DAERA office.

The TB testing restrictions will operate as follows:

  • Week 1 (from May 29, 2023): only reactor herd tests will be tested on the Monday and results read on the Thursday;
  • Week 2 (from June 5, 2023): no testing;
  • Week 3 (from June 12, 2023): no TB testing to commence on Monday. Only reactor herd testing from Tuesday – Saturday.

The department said it has moved dates for many lateral check tests in advance to minimise the number of herds requiring testing in this period.


DAERA said that testing restriction period will be taken into account in any assessments for breaches of the cross compliance requirements for TB testing.

However, the department warned that it remains the herdkeeper’s responsibility to comply with TB testing requirements irrespective of these arrangements.

There may be a short delay in the removal of reactors due to a reduction in the processing of valuations on APHIS and the generation of movement licences.

The department said that any disruption will be kept to a minimum and reactors must remain isolated until removed.

DAERA will be working with all parties to ensure any delays in paying compensation are minimised.

It will still be possible to export animals during the three-week period, but exporters are advised to plan ahead with their vet to ensure any required tests are completed in time and prior to the restriction period.

Tag suppliers will not be able to access NIFAIS during the weekend before Monday, June 12, 2023 so are being advised to place orders in advance of this date where tags are required.