I have had numerous calls recently from cattle farmers about their Bord Bia assurance audits, and what steps they can take to pass.
Many farmers have recently received letters from Bord Bia informing them of an upcoming visit.
Here are some points to help you in preparation for this visit.
The Bovine Register Herd book has to be available, and all births, deaths and movements have to be up to date.
All movement permits and knackery receipts must be available to be viewed by the auditor on request.
Many farmers also keep their recent cattle purchases/sales dockets from marts, factories etc close at hand.
Remember to have all your cattle cards available on the day as well.
The animal remedy purchase and usage records must be completed and up to date.
According to Bord Bia, the majority of problems leading to failure during an audit relate to record keeping on animal remedies and medicines.
It is advisable that farmers have a full record of all remedy/medical purchases and usages, prior to inspection.
Information recorded must include date of purchase, medicine name, quantity purchased, and name and address of the supplier.
The farmer then needs to record the date of administration, the name of the medicine, the quantity given, the identification of the animal, the end of withdrawal period date, and the name of the person giving the medicine/remedy, or the prescribing vet’s name.
Bord Bia provides a farm book to complete in relation to the animal health plan, where the dosing and or vaccination programme is outlined.
A feed purchase record also has to be completed, preferably in the Bord Bia farm book, whereby all feed purchased is recorded.
All receipts and delivery dockets must be kept and retained.
Often, the official receipt/invoice will include all the necessary information.
The Farm Safety Risk Assessment book also has to be completed and available for inspection.
This normally is an assessment specific to the farm outlining what steps are to be taken to maximise safety on that farm.
A pesticide usage record will also be required to be completed, if being used.
Information required will include product name, PCS number, crop of intended use, area treated, volume of water used, date applied and professional usage number.
A sustainability survey also must be completed, preferably before the auditor arrives on the farm, whereby the farming system is assessed in terms of efficiency and carbon footprint.
This survey can be done online on the computer, or a paper version can be requested directly from AgriData 062 54900.
Don’t forget to have your farm safety and quality assurance signs visible and displayed in your yard; your bait points mapped out for rodents; footbaths with disinfectant located at the farmyard entrance; and a functional medicine cabinet, which can be locked, for storage of medicines.
The inspection normally lasts approximately two hours.
Always read your most recent letter from Bord Bia, which will have noted a few specific areas for improvement on your farm following your last inspection.
Try not to have the same issues re-occurring.
There is a substantial amount of paperwork to be completed, and it is advisable not to leave it all to the day before the visit.
Ciaran Beatty, Business and Technology Advisor, Drystock, Teagasc Office, Castlerea, Co Roscommon