Working with the Dairy industry

Red Tractor Dairy Scheme Welfare Outcome Assessment

The Soil Association and RSPCA Freedom Food schemes have implemented the AssureWel Welfare Outcome Assessment within dairy inspections and assessments for over a year. Since October 1st 2013, the Red Tractor Dairy Scheme has also included Welfare Outcome Assessment as part of its inspection process.  

These two assessments should be considered as complimentary. There is complete harmonisation between the protocols, with AssureWel having worked closely with, advised and assisted Red Tractor in the development of their Welfare Outcome Assessment.  For some measures the AssureWel protocol does include additions beyond those required by Red Tractor, along with some entirely additional measures. 

These variations include:

Sample size: For individual measures the AssureWel assessment requires a sample of 20 cows, Red Tractor have a sample of 10 cows.

Variation in measures:

4. Hair loss, lesions and 5. Swellings: AssureWel records the occurrence of hair loss patches, lesions and swellings across 4 body regions on each of the 20 cows. The Red Tractor assessment just records the number of cows with hair loss, and/or lesions and/or swellings.

5. Swellings: AssureWel includes an additional mild swelling score, both assessments include a severe swelling score.

10. Calf / Heifer Survivability: AssureWel includes records of losses for calves and heifers, the Red Tractor assessment currently just includes calf records.

11. Cull and Casualty Cows: AssureWel additionally records number of enforced culls, both assessments include number of planned culls and number of unplanned culls or casualty cows.

AssureWel additional measures:

                6. Broken tails

                7. Response of cattle to stockperson

As a result of the harmonisation, a farm that is both Red Tractor Farm Assured and Soil Association or Freedom Food certified, needs only the AssureWel assessment to be carried out. The AssureWel assessment provides all the data required for both schemes.

This level of standardisation across Farm Assurance Schemes should prevent farmers being faced with conflicting or confused messages or assessment results.