Red Tractor Standards Update

January 6, 2022

Red Tractor introduced a number of changes in November 2021 for Beef and Lamb standards which we would like to make our clients aware of.

In addition to the antibiotic and health and performance reviews we have already been completing, all farms must now have a farm health plan in place that is reviewed, signed and dated by their vet annually.

BVD control plans will be required from October 2022

For all cattle farms, this health plan must include details of how BVD is managed on farm. This is currently a recommendation but will be a full requirement in October 2022. For finishing units, it may be that you only buy cattle from farms that are testing for BVD. For any breeding herds, BVD testing of calves will need to be undertaken. There are a range of options to suit all units so please do give us a call to discuss this.

All Red Tractor farms must also now receive a visit from a vet at their vet practice at least once during the year. If a vet hasn’t been on your farm during the year, please let Debbie know when booking in a review session as it may be best to carry this out on farm rather than over the phone.

Medicine administration training requirement

At least one person who is responsible for administering medicines on farm must have a certificate of competence/attendance from training undertaken since October 2016. We are currently taking names of anyone who needs to complete this training and will be looking to run a course in the New Year. Please let Debbie know if you would like to be added to this list.

There are additional recommendations around pain relief for disbudding and castrating calves. The need for these procedures should reviewed and reduced where possible. Guidelines now state:

  • In addition to local anaesthetic, additional pain relief (such as meloxidyl or pyroflam) is required when carrying out any disbudding or dehorning. Dehorning is only permitted by a stockperson up to 5 months of age.
  • Cauterising paste is only allowed for calves under 1 week of age and the use of pain relief is recommended for beef calves and required for dairy calves.
  • Pain relief (such as meloxidyl or pyroflam) is required if castrating calves using burdizzo techniques up to 2 months of age. Over 2 months of age, a vet is legally required to castrate calves.

There is also an updated appendix on what is and is not acceptable in livestock handling. Electric goads are not permitted and it is not permitted to:

  • Strike or kick any animal
  • Apply pressure to any particularly sensitive part of the body in such a way as to cause pain or suffering
  • Lift or drag in any way that may cause pain or suffering
  • Use prods or other implements with pointed ends
  • Twist, crush or break the tails of animals or grasp the eyes of any animal
  • Throw or drop animal

Please book a Red Tractor review session

As there are now additional requirements for documents to be produced before inspections, please do book in Red Tractor review sessions in plenty of time before your inspection and be prepared with completed health plans and health and performance reviews (templates can be sent out to be completed before your appointment). Please also remember that these are meant to be annual reviews, not ‘just before your inspection’ reviews! It is much better to review data at the same time annually to be able to compare data….and it means one less thing to worry about when the letter informing you of an inspection arrives!

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