RED TRACTOR has opened a consultation over the next version of its standards across the sectors in which it operates, including poultry production.

The assurance scheme will introduce updated standards from 1 November 2021, but, before they are finalised, will give anyone interested the chance to make representations over proposed changes.

See also: Red Tractor launches logos for different tiers of poultry production

It has been four years since the standards were last updated. The refresh considers things like market developments, changes to consumer attitudes, new trade deals and government policy.

The consultation is open until 5 March 2021, after which any input will be considered when drawing up the final changes to standards.  

Poultry specific proposals

Red Tractor’s poultry board and technical advisory committee have proposed a series of changes to the standards are outlined below.

  • Heat stress. The need for a heat stress policy and plan has been a requirement for poultry farms since 2017. But it is proposed that, in the event of bird losses because of heat stress, that plan is reviewed.
  • Lighting levels will need to be evaluated at bird level for every crop, to ensure they align with minimum requirements.
  • Bulk feed disinfection will become a separate audit point from existing cleaning and disinfection requirements.
  • It has been proposed that there is a minimum five-day turnaround between poultry flocks. Where this is not possible – for example, because of a factory breakdown – farmers will need to demonstrate what they have done to address the shorter turnaround period.
  • Multi-age sites will have to give more detail on how they operate, showing how entrances and staff are managed across the farm complex.
  • Each site will need to nominate a Welfare Officer.
  • Free-range producers will need to use a slower-growing breed.
  • There is a range of proposed changes to hatchery management outlined on Red Tractor’s website.

Have your say

Jim Mosely, Red Tractor chief executive, said: “Farmers have been an intrinsic part of the process in drawing up the proposed new standards, but now it is over to the membership and stakeholders to have their say.

“Red Tractor was created to become a symbol of trust, safety and responsible production. Twenty years on, our purpose remains the same and we are absolutely delivering on it.

The consultation, when live, can be found on the Red Tractor website.