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Livestock


Can I still go to the mart?

A number of marts are still operating however members are reminded to ensure they are following official advice as much as possible when attending on sale days.

Marts are advising customers who are in the risk categories not to travel to marts.  For some marts there is advice that access will only be admitted to vendors, purchasers and hauliers.  If you are unsure you should contact the mart over the phone and ensure you are following official government advice.    

A number of marts have cancelled sale days, while others intend to operate with significant restrictions, these restrictions may include

  • Buyer per-registration
  • Buyers to declare they have not knowingly been in contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19.
  • Buyers to physically sign in, and out, of marts.
  • No additional visitors other than buyers and staff.

On 25 March 2020 the Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland (IAAS) issued updated advice in relation to COVID-19, you can find this here: https://iaas.co.uk/iaas-issues-updated-advice-to-auction-marts-in-light-of-lockdown-status-for-covid-19/. You should contact the mart to confirm the situation.

On 22 April 2020 the IAAS published strict guidance on social distancing and COVID-19 management ahead of breeding sales taking place, this can be found here: https://iaas.co.uk/some-breeding-sales-to-recommence-under-strict-operating-guidelines-for-coronavirus


I am supplying an abattoir directly, what should I do?

NFU Scotland understand that abattoirs intend to maintain operations. The Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers have told NFU Scotland that they are asking producers to:

  • Only arrive with prior notification to the plant – book your stock in prior to leaving the farm.
  • Ensure the plant procurement manager has your contact telephone number, and vice versa.
  • Adhere to all government advice on personal protection and plant safety protocols.
  • Double check all paperwork before leaving your holding – passports and movement documents.
  • Ensure you are on site for the shortest amount of time necessary.
  • Ensure livestock are clean prior to leaving the farm, particularly hindquarters and underbelly.

Wool


What will the impact of COVID-19 be on overseas shearers?

The number of overseas shearers operating in the UK will obviously be impacted by travel disruption due to COVID-19.

NFU Scotland is supportive of the recent matchmaking registers launched by the NAAC which seeks to match proficient UK shearers with sheep keepers, safeguarding the health and welfare of the UK sheep flock.

The service can be found on the NAAC website at the following address https://www.naac.co.uk/jobs/shearingregister/.


Animal feed


Are Feed supplies affected?


The feed industry has experienced a knock-on effect from the closure of distilleries, mainly caused by staff shortages. These closures are likely to make draff, and other moist or wet by-products, along with distillers dark gains harder to source.  

Haulage for now is managing however it is getting harder to source as time goes on. Mainly due to staff shortages being an issue, but also with the closure of quarries, sawmills etc. lorries are not getting loads to collection points or return loads after deliveries which is now pushing up their rates. This could become a problem for fertiliser delivery.  

Actions to take now are to speak with your feed suppliers and ensure orders are placed well ahead of time due to both seasonal demand and the availability of delivery drivers. Forward planning also allows suppliers to have the best opportunity to source the product required or alternatives if necessary.

In terms of changing diets, if your usual diet ingredients are not available, try to transition them gradually introducing the new feed over 2 weeks.  This Feed Advisory Service (FAS) sheet may also help https://www.fas.scot/downloads/feeding-beef-cattle-sheep-practical-guide/  

The key message from the feed industry is not to panic! Although there has been a sudden increase in the price of raw materials (soya +£100, rapeseed meal +£40, distillers +£30, grain +£10-15), the medium to long term picture is better. The global supply of soya, wheat, maize and barley looks good which should therefore temper prices. Communication with shippers and home producers suggest they are continuing to function as normal.


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