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Red Tractor standards change this month - what you need to know

2nd Oct 2017 / By Alistair Driver

Red Tractor pork standards have changed, with most of the key changes coming in at the start this month. Here is what you need to know.

RT porkThe following took effect from October 1.

Responsible use of medicines: In addition to the new e-MB requirement (see below), vets are now required to sign a quarterly declaration to confirm they are prescribing antibiotics in accordance with the PVS Prescribing Principles for Antimicrobials. Class 3 antibiotic use must be justified in the veterinary health plan.

Notching: Routine multiple ear notching is not allowed and the practice can only be used as a last resort in pedigree breeding where pig colouring prevents tattooing, and only with recommendation from a vet.

Imported stock and semen testing: Imported stock and semen must be tested in line with the National Pig Association (NPA) Imports Protocol for non-statutory diseases, with a statement signed by a vet.

Biosecurity: The farm’s biosecure areas must be defined on a map and all visitor entry points must have disinfectant foot dips or boot cleaners. Staff and visitors must wear clean clothes and footwear in biosecure areas of the farm.

Supplementary rearing accommodation: If a piglet has to be removed from the sow for its own welfare at earlier than 21 days, a vet must confirm that the management of any supplementary rearing accommodation is satisfactory.

Feed and water: An action plan needs to be created for dealing with unweaned piglets over two weeks of age where the sow’s milk may not satisfy the piglets’ water needs and where water is not continuously available. In growing and finishing units, drinkers integral to a wet and dry feeding system are not counted as a separate water source. Non-mains water must be independently tested every year.

Environment: The environmental protection section has no significant changes but is now more appropriate for livestock farmers and has been divided in to two areas – the responsible use of agri-chemicals and nutrient management.

Farm map: A map should show buildings, fields, watercourses and high pollution risk areas.

Rodenticide use: Permanent baiting must not be routinely undertaken and baits can only be sited where evidence shows they are being continuously effective. A site survey and environmental risk assessment of watercourses and populations of non-target species should also be carried out and recorded before treatment. This ensures assured farmers can buy professional rodenticides without further proof of competence.

Space allowances: The Red Tractor standard (HF.f) detailing the legal minimum permitted space allowances is unchanged. However, the new standards do not include a graph on stocking density guidelines that was previously found in the appendix. This was after the Animal and Plant Health Agency confirmed that Line A on the graph was ‘misleading, incorrect and must not be used as a guide otherwise pigs would be overstocked’.

And in November…

Antibiotic recording: The headline rule change is the new requirement for producers to upload total antibiotic use to the electronic medicine book, eMB-Pigs, on a quarterly basis within six weeks of the end of each quarter. This will take effect from November 11, at which point scheme members will need to have entered data from the second and third quarters of 2017.

Kate Ward, AHDB Pork’s veterinary manager, said AHDB was able to help with entries but urged producers to submit their data as early as possible, to ensure they are happy with the process and to  allow time for any problems to be resolved before the November deadline.