Skip to main content

Find out about the disease history of an animal and the herd it comes from before you buy.

First published:
9 March 2020
Last updated:

TB can have a significant economic and welfare impact on your farm. Bought-in cattle may introduce infection into your herd. You can reduce this risk. Find out about the testing and disease history of an animal and the herd it comes from. You should also consider the disease situation in the area that the cattle are from.

Protect your herd from TB – ask for more information

Before you buy cattle, ask the seller or auctioneer the following questions:

  • have the animal(s) been pre-movement tested? If yes, when?
  • when did the herd last have a whole herd test?
  • has the herd ever had TB? If yes, how long has it been TB free?
  • is the herd part of the Bovine TB herd health accreditation scheme?

Date of pre-movement test (PrMT)

Ideally, cattle should be pre-movement tested. Testing animals on arrival in their new herd reduces the risk of infection spreading.

Date of the last whole herd test

Every animal offered for sale to a TB-free herd should have tested negative for TB. In Wales, every cattle herd must be tested at least once a year. But, cattle from other parts of the UK may not have been tested for up to four years. Knowing a herd has recently tested negative should reassure you that it is TB-free.

How long the herd has been TB free

Herds with a history of TB are three times more likely to have a new incident than herds with no history of the disease. Buying cattle from herds with a history of the disease is a greater risk than buying from herds that have never had TB.


ibTB (on is an online interactive mapping tool. It displays ongoing and resolved TB breakdowns in England and Wales over the past five years. Use it to find out about the bovine TB situation in your local area, and when purchasing cattle.

Precautions you can take

If you think the cattle you are buying are a risk, there are precautions you can take.


TB is most likely to spread between infected and uninfected animals when cattle are housed, or in close contact. Keep new animals separate from the herd until they have tested clear for TB. This will reduce the opportunity for the disease to spread.

Post-movement testing

Before you introduce any new animal to the rest of your herd, it is good practice for it to be post-movement tested. This is even more important if they come from an area where herds are not tested each year. This will help to make sure that it has not developed TB since its last test. It will also reduce the risk of the disease spreading to the rest of the herd. Post-movement tests can be arranged through your private vet.

Grant funded markets and informed purchasing

Some markets in Wales have been given financial support to improve information sharing. This is to encourage farmers to share and ask for: 

  • date of the pre-movement test
  • date of the last herd test
  • date the herd became TB-free (if applicable)

This information is on the TB Test Certificate (TB52c).

Markets included in the scheme are:

North Wales
  • Bryncir
  • Dolgellau
  • Gaerwen
  • Ruthin
South and Mid Wales
  • Llandovery
  • Llanybydder
  • Sennybridge
  • Talgarth
  • Talybont
  • Whitland