An award-winning dairy farm in Cornwall has been hit by bovine Tb for the fourth time, after routine testing found 36 of its prized cattle were potentially infected with the disease.

Paul George keeps a 450-head strong dairy herd and farms 520 acres of land at Nansmerrow Farm, Tresillian near Truro.

Last year he was named dairy farmer and overall farmer of the year at the Cornwall Farm Business Awards.

Despite this success and building up one of the highest yielding dairy units in Cornwall, he is angry that a disease that is beyond his control is wreaking havoc for the milk production industry.

He said: “We as farmers work diligently to ensure the welfare of our herds, we are hugely proactive in the prevention and control of every disease and ailment that can affect our animals, apart from one.

“Bovine TB is indiscriminate, it’s the one disease that is completely out of our control and is destroying livelihoods as the compensation we are receiving for cows that have to be destroyed as a result is woefully inadequate in some cases, where it can be around 50 per cent of the true value.

“In Wales farmers are compensated at the full market value for their cattle, which is determined by an independent valuer. It’s a shame this system is no longer applied in England.”

It’s not just the financial devastation that an outbreak of bovine TB leaves behind, but it also has an emotional impact, as Paul explains.

“Dairy and beef farmers invest vast amounts of their time, care and attention into the wellbeing of their animals throughout their life and many have invested countless years, in some cases generations, improving the quality and standard of their cattle.

“To see all of that hard work being undone and, in some cases, completely wiped out is completely heart-breaking.

“I’ve just had to witness two of my heifers having to be shot in front of me on the farm. They were less than a month away from calving, hence deemed unsuitable to be taken to the slaughterhouse to be destroyed along with my other 34 cows suspected as being infected with TB.”

As well as asking for fairer compensation which presently apportioned on a fixed, average value, Paul is calling on the newly appointed secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs, Michael Gove, for tougher action to be taken to put an end to bovine TB.

“From our side of the fence we’re doing all we can to control disease, we need the government to step up and control the wildlife population that also carries bovine TB to give us a fighting chance of putting a stop to this.

“In post-Brexit Britain having our own, efficient food production industry is going to be even more important and we need to get this resolved. Surely, in the long-term, sorting this out once and for all will be the best solution, including for the tax-payers pocket as well.”