CAFRE livestock expert advice on farm management during Covid-19 pandemic

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The Beef and Sheep development team at the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) has developed a range of advice for farmers who have been impacted by the closure of livestock marts.

John Sands, Senior Beef and Sheep Development Adviser at CAFRE said: “As the COVID-19 pandemic heightens it has the potential to cause management problems on farms.

“There are a few things which you can consider doing to alleviate some of the issues.

"Livestock markets have made the difficult decision to close for a period of two weeks and it’s not yet certain when they will be able to reopen.

John Sands, CAFRE, Senior Beef and Sheep AdviserJohn Sands, CAFRE, Senior Beef and Sheep Adviser
John Sands, CAFRE, Senior Beef and Sheep Adviser | other

“So, if you have livestock which you need to sell contact the livestock market staff who may be able to arrange a sale on your behalf. Alternatively you could consider selling the animals directly yourself if you know a reliable buyer. Another option is to consider selling the animals online through one of the farm specific websites which is a successful method currently used by many farmers. Finally, you could move stock directly from your farm to any other farm business or buyer.

“However, as normal, you must ensure that you are legally permitted to do so.”

In advance of making a sale or movement check your herd and/or individual animal movement status. This can be done by using Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) online at or by ringing your local DAERA Direct office on 0300 200 7840. All face-to-face services at DAERA’s Direct offices are currently suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic so please use the telephone line or online resources.

You must also complete the relevant paper work (MC2) to complete a sale. Send one copy to DAERA and give two copies to the buyer, one of which they will use to check animal details before sending to DAERA confirming that they have received the livestock. This can also be done online removing the need for using paper or making telephone calls.

Where both buyer and seller use APHIS Online (AoL) to notify and confirm moves, there is no need for any paperwork to be created at all. If the seller is notifying a move online, but the buyer cannot confirm online, the seller must print copies of the MC2 generated by AoL and send the printed documents to the buyer with the cattle.

The buyer must still send a paper copy to his DAERA Direct Office confirming the move but a sellers copy does not have to be sent to a DAERA Direct office.

If buyer is online but the seller has not notified a movement online, the buyer can still notify/confirm the move using AoL. The seller must send his copy of MC2 to a DAERA Direct office, but buyer can confirm without sending any paper copy to an office.

As already stated please use APHIS Online where at all possible to avoid obstacles to onward movement of recently purchased cattle.

Farmers who are not registered to use APHIS online can now use the Cattle Registration Telephone line on 0300 200 7855 to notify farm to farm movements of cattle.

This service was previously only available for registering calf births and deaths and confirming mart to farm moves but has been specially extended to include all cattle farm to farm movement notifications in an effort to keep the food supply chain open and avoid processing delays.

Sellers and buyers should have all the details from their MC2 document at hand before they call the Telephony line. Buyers should apply stickers to their copies of MC2 documents as normal and have the sticker number at hand when they call to confirm a cattle movement.

The line is open Monday to Friday from 9am-5pm.