9 March 2001

Protect supply arm of dairy business

DAIRY farmers operating as producer-processors are advised to make immediate contingency plans to save their businesses should they be hit by foot-and-mouth.

Lancs-based ADAS consultant Roger Armitage has issued guidelines to 180 producers-processors operating in Lancs, Merseyside and Greater Manchester, many of whom appear unaware of the possible implications of foot-and-mouth to their businesses.

"If a producer-processors herd becomes infected and has to be slaughtered, it is not possible to buy in milk and continue supplying customers," says Mr Armitage.

He recommends that producer-processors plan ahead, so that in the event of the herd being infected they can continue to run their business.

This requires securing a supply of milk, crates and containers, having staff on stand-by who have not had any contact with the farm and setting up a refrigerated depot for milk distribution.

"It is unrealistic to assume that a neighbouring on-farm processor could supply you with milk. A stand-by supply of milk from a clean source must be organised. These contingency plans aim to keep producer-processors customer base in tact for the time when the crisis is over," adds Mr Armitage. &#42