© Tim Scrivener

Farmers are being invited to have their say on the future of Red Tractor standards across all farming sectors.

Red Tractor is looking at what its farm assurance standards should be for 2017 to 2020 – and it has launched a consultation asking farmers for their views on how the changes should be delivered.

The consultation, which closes on 31 December, reviews Red Tractor farm standards for livestock, dairy, pigs, poultry, crops and horticulture and potatoes (fresh produce).

See also: Fewer options for Red Tractor poultry certification

The changes will come into effect early next year.

“At Red Tractor we know our standards must be kept up to date,” said chief executive officer David Clarke, launching the consultation.

“With or without Brexit there will always be legal regulations and we cannot afford to fall behind, and new issues emerge in the minds of shoppers who buy our products.”

Here are some of the proposals put forward by Red Tractor:

Dairy standards

  • Medicine records must provide an annual collation of total antibiotics used for the unit
  • An annual review of antibiotics used must be undertaken by the vet
  • Carcasses are stored and collected in a manner that does not threaten the farm biosecurity

Pigs standards

  • Ear tagging or ear tattooing must be used to identify individual breeding animals
  • Removal of piglets from a sow at an age earlier than 21 days is not permitted unless the health and welfare of the piglets or dam would otherwise be adversely affected
  • Total antibiotics used, including in-feed antibiotics must be collated and uploaded on a quarterly basis onto the AHDB Pork’s electronic medicines book

Beef and lamb standards

  • Bought-in feed must be from a Red Tractor assured farm or in specific circumstances with a warranty declaration
  • A documented farm biosecurity plan must be implemented
  • Medicine records must provide an annual collation of total antibiotics use for the unit

Poultry standards

  • The use of macrolides and fluoroquinolones are permitted only in exceptional circumstances and only under specific direction of the supervising vet and written agreement from a company director of the company purchasing the birds from the farm

Combinable crops and sugar beet standards

  • Any unapproved plant protection products (PPPs) should be kept in quarantine in the PPP store for no longer than 12 months after the use up date has expired while pending collection
  • The holding of a grain is only allowed outside of a building in exceptional circumstances and for a maximum of five days unless a derogation has been sought from the certification body.

The Red Tractor consultation can be found on the certification body’s website.