Farmers urged to plan for processing disruptions from the Farm to Processor Animal Welfare Forum
The Farm to Processor Animal Welfare Forum is urging farmers to plan ahead for disruption at processors due to COVID-19.
Photo credit: NZ Farm Source
Forum chair Dr Lindsay Burton said it was critical farmers book space at meat processors well in advance and be prepared to potentially hold stock on farm for longer.
“We have seen overseas the disruption that Omicron can cause to supply chains - particularly meat processing. It is important that farmers talk to their stock agents, processors and transporters if they aren’t already, and have a plan for what they would do if they need to hold onto stock for longer.
“Make sure you consider this in your feed planning and talk to your levy body or a farm adviser if you need support.”
The Forum is also reminding farmers to ensure their stock are fit for transport. “Animal welfare during transport should remain a focus. Transport is stressful, and it is important that animals are prepared well for the journey,” says Dr Burton.
“Lactating cows, in particular, need careful preparation and management. Stand them off pasture for 4-12 hours before transport, and provide water and dry feed, supplemented with calcium (lime flour).”
Dr Burton encourages farmers to be aware of where their stock is going, especially as COVID-19 may mean they’re transported to different processing plants than usual.
“Farmers nationwide should be prepared for their animals to have extended journeys, or for collection times to change.
“Everyone across the supply chain – farmers, veterinarians, transporters, stock agents, saleyard operators and processors – has a role to play in protecting the welfare of animals.”
12 to 24 hours before travel:
- Ensure access to water at all times
- Stand-off green feed for at least four hours, but no more than 12 hours, and continue to feed hay/baleage
- Supplement calcium and magnesium
- Liaise with your transport company to send cows to a processing plant nearby
Information on the rules for stock transport can be found here
For advice on preparing dairy cattle for transport, talk to your veterinarian. Guidance can also be found here.
Farming under the current pressures can be tough and farmers can seek support from Rural Support Trusts and a range of providers.