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Badger Blocker improves farm biosecurity

Limiting badger access to mineral licks, blocks and tubs, is the motivation behind the versatile design of the Badger Blocker feeder, from Rumenco. 

For one farmer in Shropshire, the recent introduction of the feeder provides an extra biosecurity measure to help reduce the cross contamination between TB infected badgers and his cattle.

Martin Speke farms 1,500 acres near Bishops Castle, running 280 cross-bred suckler cows. He has been restricted by TB for the past five years. 

“TB has meant we’ve lost the freedom to sell stock when they’ve been ready, and has meant we’ve had to alter our system to focus on selling finished stock,” says Mr Speke.

“Bullocks take a lot more finishing on this system, and we’ve had to keep more animals on-farm for longer, which all adds to the cost of production.”

Mr Speke uses Maxx magnesium licks, to support forage diets and has started to raise the licks off the ground, when cattle are grazing, using the Badger Blocker feeder to improve biosecurity. 

“We were sceptical about using the feeder to start with, but we’ve found that the cattle can’t push them over, and most importantly we’re reducing the level of badger-cow contact, which can only help reduce the spread of TB on our farm,” says Mr Speke.

The Badger Blocker feeder is designed to stand a metre above the ground, a height based on DEFRA recommendations. The plastic platform can be filled with water, and has the flexibility to hold all designs of mineral licks, blocks and tubs, preventing badgers accessing supplements, while ensuring safe, stable, and easy access for cattle. 

Mr Speke says, “I’m intrigued to see if we can make a difference by raising the licks off the ground when the cattle are out. It may take a while to see the benefits, but every little we can do to reduce the TB risk can only help us get back to normal.”