Saputo to ban farmers from shooting dairy calves in 2021

Dairy farmers supplying cheesemaker Saputo Dairy UK will be banned from shooting healthy bull calves from October 2021, the processor has said.

The company is supplied by 330 farmers within 80 miles of Davidstow in Cornwall, which operate as producer organisation Dairy Crest Direct.

The Cathedral City manufacturer was known as Dairy Crest until its £975m buyout in February 2019 by Canadian dairy giant Saputo.

See also: Tips on reducing feed waste on your dairy

The company said: “We are working closely with Dairy Crest Direct [DCD] to gather information on best practice so we can use this transitionary period to help our farmers manage the challenge and seek appropriate solutions”.

DCD chairman Stephen Bone said: “We have outlined a timeline. There are still a lot of details that we will be working on to try to alleviate any potential problems on farm.”

The main issue producers are concerned about is what will happen if their farm is placed under TB standstill once the new rule comes into effect, Mr Bone said, meaning calves could not leave the holding.

Saputo UK is the third-largest milk buyer, after Arla and Muller, to take steps to phase out the practice of shooting healthy but unprofitable calves.

It is still selectively recruiting additional farmers to its roster, as well as encouraging existing suppliers to increase production following a £85m investment in 2018 to expand its processing capacity.

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