Dairy farming was a major industry in the area. Cheshire Cheese had been produced and exported for centuries. As communications improved, particularly with the arrival of the railways in the 1840s, it was possible to export fresh milk to towns made prosperous by the industrial revolution. Thus the farming industry also expanded and prospered. But now this blow.
This particular plague is thought to be Rinderpest. The memorial referrs to it as Murrain, and earlier name for the disease.
The cattle were buried in mass graves. Some of the burial places were marked by stones. This particular stone is in Mucclestone, Staffordshire, four miles south of Cheshire. I am not sure if the stone was intended as a memorial, or to mark ground to be quarantined.