English beef and sheep farmers are set to benefit from an EBLEX-subsidised post-mortem service.

The service, which starts on 24 March in the Hamsterley collection centre, County Durham, is available six days a week.

In some circumstances the service will extend to seven days to ensure weekend post-mortems are available.

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Farmers simply need to request a post-mortem at the time of carcass collection.

Costs (excluding VAT and collection)

  • £20 a lamb
  • £25 a ewe/tup
  • £30 a calf less than six months old
  • £50 a beast 6-24 months old
  • £70 a cow/bull

The service picks up more than 90% of carcases on the same day, so deterioration is unlikely to be a problem and results will be reported to the farmer and their vet via phone, text, email or fax the next day, in some cases sooner.

Local vets have commended the project, saying it makes sense for farmers to request a post-mortem at the collection centre as the deadstock are already headed there. And with such an easy system, losses can be investigated earlier leading to prompt diagnosis and treatment of others.

Paul Roger, a vet who specialises in sheep health and production, said: “This project represents a milestone in the recognition of the contribution farmers and their vets can make to endemic disease surveillance.

“It also improves our ability to safeguard the health and welfare of all farm animals; EBLEX is to be congratulated for having the vision to support this project.”

Farmer groups have also welcomed the opportunity to gain more information on a farm and regional level.

Plans to send seasonal disease alerts to farmers to remind them to treat promptly and at the time of greatest risk are set for later this year. For more information contact the post-mortem room at Warrens ABP on 01388 488 115.