Agricultural Policy

Rearing Approved Finishing Units and TB Dedicated Sales in high TB areas of Wales

Approved Finished Units (AFUs) are approved to strict biosecurity and permanent TB restrictions and must be indoor units located in high TB areas with appropriate licences to move cattle on and off the holding.

Up until the end of 2020, AFUs in Wales have only been able to send cattle straight to slaughter. However, since 1st January 2021, individual animals have been able to move to another AFU with the correct licence.

Rearing AFUs will also be allowed in Wales to allow calves to be bought from multiple TB restricted or Officially TB Free (OTF) holdings, fattened and then sold to another AFU for finishing.

In November 2020, a pilot Orange Market was held and as a result, other markets in the high TB areas of Wales will be able to apply for approval to hold an Orange Market, with the revised policy to be reviewed in 12 months.

Only cattle from TB restricted holdings (not AFUs) can enter an Orange Market with a licence from APHA to cover the move. These animals can only go to an AFU in Wales or England or be sent directly to slaughter and cannot return to its home holding from the sale.

Welsh Government has introduced these changes following collaboration with industry representatives and the Farming Unions in response to the change in policy for ensuring that calves born into the dairy industry are raised to eight weeks of age.

The APHA can be contacted on 0300 3038268 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Further information and guidance can be found on the TB Hub Website.

Livestock marts to revert to a ‘drop and go’ policy amidst the risk of Covid-19

Given the scale of the current Covid-19 situation, the devolved UK Governments have agreed that livestock markets play a vital role in the food chain and therefore have stated that they should remain open.

However, guidance from the Livestock Auctioneers’ Association (LAA) states that livestock marts in Wales and England should operate a ‘drop and go’ policy until further notice to ensure that they can continue to operate safely and to minimise the risk.

Social distancing must also revert back to 2 metres as was implemented in March 2020. Gatherings of people will not be allowed and catering facilities will provide a take-away service only.

The sale of prime stock, cull animals, store and breeding stock will continue, however sales of machinery, on-farm dispersal sales and fodder should be conducted online where possible.

Buyers and vendors should contact their local auctioneer for specific measures and requirements in individual livestock marts.

Minor changes to Cross Compliance 2021 rules

The majority of Cross Compliance rules will continue to apply as in 2020, however the below have been updated to reflect changes in requirements, good practice and clarification:

SMR 8: sheep and goat identification. The link to the Sheep and Goat Identification Guidance for Keepers 2018 has been updated.

SMR 10: restrictions on the use of plant protection products (PPP). The definition of PPP has been clarified. The Good Practice section has been updated. This covers qualifications, application equipment and weather conditions. Additional links to guidance are included. These concern the inspection of equipment and treatment records.

SMR 11: welfare standards for the Protection of Calves. Clarification of requirements concerning tethering, calf pen dimensions and feeding calves. Good Practice clarified regarding feeding milk from TB infected cattle.

SMR 12: welfare standards for the protection of pigs. Clarification of the requirements concerning accommodation, tethering and tail-docking.
SMR 13: welfare standards for the protection of animals kept for farming purposes. Updated to clarify what is considered good practice.

GAEC 6: maintenance of soil and organic matter. Requirements for EIA screening clarified. Now including restructuring projects on all rural landholdings, including Common Land.

GAEC 7: landscape features. Requirement to retain all ponds clarified to prevent the drainage/filling-in of part of a pond. Definition of Landscape Features expanded to include Environmentally Sensitive Permanent Grassland (ESPG).

For more information visit https://gov.wales/cross-compliance-2021

New scrapie and standstill requirements for exporting sheep from GB to NI

As part of the Northern Ireland Protocol, Northern Ireland (NI) remains subject to European animal health regulations and therefore sheep being exported from Great Britain (GB) - now a ‘third country’ (i.e. not in the Single Market) - to Northern Ireland are subject to new rules.

In order to minimise the risk of disease, these new rules include a 40 day standstill on the same holding before movement and additional requirements regarding scrapie.

Live sheep exports to NI for breeding and production (fattening) and their germplasm (semen, ova and embryos) must meet the new requirements for scrapie by either:

  • The animals come from holdings that meet the legal definition of ‘controlled risk’ for scrapie. In practice in GB, this means that they must have been part of the Scrapie Monitoring Scheme (SMS) run by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) for at least three years;
    Or,
  • They have a genetic test which shows they are resistant to the disease and they come from a golding which has had no restrictions imposed due to BSE or scrapie during the last two years.

Further information on SMS membership can be found here.

Those who meet the above requirements must also follow the same additional endemic disease certification requirements for trade from GB to the EU when exporting to NI.

South Caernarfon Creameries set for three year expansion

South Caernarfon Creameries has announced a £14.4 million investment to increase cheese production by 50% and create 30 more jobs over the next three years.

The investment - which includes a £5 million grant from the Welsh Government Food Business Investment Scheme - is projected to increase the demand for Welsh milk from 130 million to over 200 million litres per year.

The announcement follows on from the first phase of investment totalling £11.5 million in 2016 to expand its cheese production and packing facilities.

This additional funding will be used for new facilities for milk reception, cheese production and packing lines and whey processing, as well as improving its environmental and energy performance.

The dairy co-operative was set up 80 years ago and currently has 134 members across North and Mid Wales.

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COVID-19 - Important Information for our members and customers

 

In view of the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), we’ve taken the decision to help protect members, customers and colleagues by closing all FUW offices.

All staff will be working remotely for the foreseeable future, meaning our team will be continuing with exactly the same service but over the phone/email/skype or other means of remote communication instead. 

Members and customers should continue to contact us as they would, as all our team can be contacted via the usual phone numbers. 

We will be making sure that our service levels are maintained. SAF/IACS appointments will carry on as normal but will be conducted over the phone. 

Contact details for your local office can be found here: https://www.fuw.org.uk/en/contact-us 

 

Important links relating to the Coronavirus:


The TB Hub have prepared a list of FAQs regarding how TB procedures will be affected by the virus: https://tbhub.co.uk/statutory-tb-testing-of-cattle-in-gb-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/

Red Tractor Updated Covid-19 position here: https://assurance.redtractor.org.uk/contentfiles/Farmers-7085.pdf?_=637206600290507095

Livestock Auctioneers Association LAA - 25/03/2020: https://www.laa.co.uk/news/3989/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-to-members-and-farmers/

Business Wales (including details of coronavirus support for businesses): https://businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirus-advice

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) available through participating lenders: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/

National Association of Agricultural Contractors (NAAC) guidance on Coronavirus: https://www.naac.co.uk/coronavirus-guidance-issued-to-contractors/

National Milk Recording services 24/03/2020: https://www.nmr.co.uk/about-us/coronavirus

Senedd Research Blog: https://seneddresearch.blog/2020/03/17/coronavirus-constituency-support/