31 August 2001

Help the buyer to shift sheep

SHEEP breeders with tups to sell this season can do a lot to ease the burden of movement regulations by arranging licences and delivery for the purchaser.

Norfolk producer Chris Lewis runs pedigree Rouge de LOuest and Texel flocks and has already been granted several long distance movement licences for rams. He says DEFRA staff have been helpful and have given him every assistance.

"Applying for a long distance licence is complicated, but once you have completed one the rest are fairly straightforward. But I would urge buyers to think well ahead. Do not decide you want a ram and expect to have it delivered the next day."

Mr Lewis says he is having to absorb the extra costs involved in licensing, which include a vet inspection and trailer wash-outs before and after delivery.

It can be costly when the transaction involves only one tup, and money can be saved if ram buyers – many of whom will be needing several tups for the season – will agree to take them as one batch.

Vet inspections must be carried out within 24 hours of the movement, but licences can be applied for in advance and are valid for six days from being granted.

Vets charge about £45 a call out, but when there is more than one tup to be checked or another job to do during the call-out the costs can be pared down. Trailer wash-outs cost £10-£25.

"Breeders should take the initiative and start contacting possible buyers of tups well ahead of the season, so the necessary movement licences can be applied for.

"I am trying to take the hassle out of the job for the customer, to deal with the licensing side of the deal and carry the costs wherever I can, particularly when several rams are being delivered at one time," says Mr Lewis. &#42