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