Getting aboard with Red Tractor changes

Farming | Published:

With the new Red Tractor Assurance standards coming into force on October 1, it is important that producers have studied the benchmarks to make sure that they align with the changes.

These new standards come into force as a result of a consultation of Red Tractor’s policies.

Livestock health plans have been amended so that the health plan must be written and updated in conjunction with a vet. This means that the vet signs and dates the health plan to say they agree with the detail contained in the document with specific regard to that particular farm, and that they have discussed the various elements with the member.

Farm policies and protocols on calving procedures, lameness management, pain relief and use of shackles have also been added to the required elements of the health plan.

Furthermore, where shackles or hobbles have been used, these details must also be recorded and notified to the vet for the reason and length of time used. Other requirements that require recording include the use of calving aids, including cleansing and disinfection as well as the management of cow and calf separation.

Part of the health plan covers pain relief such as anaesthetic, analgesic and non-steroids along with noting details in the plan. All administration must be entered in the medicine records.

Animal medicine and husbandry procedures now need to include reviews on more stringent antimicrobial usage as well as a focus on the off-label use of medicines plus alternative disease prevention strategies, with vets being notified of failings in antibiotic administration.

Similarly, any person who administers medicines must have completed the required training course on the safe use of medicines.

For animal husbandry there is a new requirement that pain relief is used when cauterising paste is the chosen method for disbudding and this will now only be permitted on stock under seven days old.


Red Tractor Scheme members must now complete a Johne’s Action Plan, signed by a British Cattle Veterinary Association accredited Johne’s advisor to demonstrate their efforts to eradicate BVD. Members must also no longer feed milk or colostrum from Johne’s-positive cows to youngstock which may potentially enter the breeding herd.

Parlour cleanliness rules have been tightened to include a protocol for parlour wash phases, to take account of maximum residue levels of chlorates in milk. A written document should be displayed for all farm staff for what action should be taken if emergencies occur affecting food safety, animal welfare and environmental protection.

For full details of the changes please visit the Red Tractor website.

Hannah Young is a summer placement student at Fisher German


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