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Many of you will remember that I cannot kill calves so I found the Veal Calf Slaughter Scheme which pays the grand sum of £19 per calf and you get £5 from the dealer!

So I thought, right thats the answer! So I contacted Defra at Worcester who put me through to Exeter who said I should ring Worcester! Eventually some complicated forms arrived. The calves have to be double tagged and then registered with the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) - so I filled out the registration forms (different to the Defra forms) and posted them. Then the passports came back and these have to be checked and signed when accepted as correct plus you have to stick a bar coded label on the passport when you receive it and when you subsequently send the animal to a collection centre.

I rang the collection centre to book them in (TWO CALVES) but he said I had to ring the man who takes them to the abattoir. So I rang the man who takes them to the abattoir and booked them in for this morning. Yesterday I had to contact Trading Standards to get a movement licence which was duly faxed to me. I then had to fill out all my details and the details of the calves.

The movement licence says that the vehicle has to be disinfected so last night I give the old van a bit of a brush out and lobbed in a bucket of disinfectant!

Right, all set to get the calves to the collection centre for this morning. Well not quite because it is Peters day off so I pleaded with him to come in  guess the overtime will cast me a good £20! Peter came in just before 7.00am and I am trying to get the milking finished having been delayed by a cow down with milk fever with her head stuck under a gate in the straw yard  all sorted but angry about the time it took before I could start milking. We get the calves into the van and I tell Peter Ill be back in half an hour.

The collection centre is at a local hauliers yard not far away. I drive into the yard and cause a panic because I am driving on the clean area where the departing vehicles go. So I go back out and in the other entrance where I am directed to the unloading bay. I am welcomed by a Trading Standards lady who says I should have booked the calves in the day before. Well I thought I did! They are not too impressed with the biosecurity of my van and I am directed (as is everyone) to the cleaning bay where I get turned back for queue jumping  you have to go back there Mr. Goddard, there are 12 lorries, trailers, vans etc before you! - and only one steam cleaner!

Well Im thinking Peter only popped in for an hour on his day off and there is a heck of a lot of work to do at 8.00 am on a dairy farm so I moan a lot. One of the drivers who knows me suggests I leave the van and he gives me a lift home in his lorry. Excellent! He reckons Trading Standards and MLC officials will be gone by 10.30am and the cleaning bay will be free by then.

So I get back to finish up with Peter, have breakfast and go back out to feed dry cows, bed up calves etc and whilst putting out some feed for the cows my wife comes out to say the Trading Standards people want to go home so can I get back down and clean out the van. In a minute dear! Still things to do.

Eventually I go back in my car and the man who runs the collection centre says there is a man from the MLC cleaning my van and this guy is a bit of a stickler. Well my van is a bit of a joke round hear  its a sort of a mobile workshop and anything else Ive picked up on the farm over the years. Anyway he was busy with the steam cleaner and seemed quite reasonable when I told him about the cow with milk fever (I didnt tell him I sorted that by 5.30 am!). We found a wheel barrow and filled it up with the contents of the van. We even found £1.20 in coins which I kindly gave the man for all his efforts! We set about it together for three quarters of an hour. Even got to do the seats, dash board, carpets and under the bonnet. I think there was more mud under the mudguards of my van than there was under the 12 wheels of the lorry before me! To finish up he connected the suction pipe of the steam cleaner to a disinfectant barrel and gave it a once over inside and out. I eventually got home in time for a late lunch!

Then Trading Standards rang up to say I had not included some vital info on the licence and I thought I was going to have to drive to Gloucester to correct it but they seemed happy with the info over the phone.

Ive now got to get on with the milking again and I am wondering how to get my car back from the collection centre! - I could always take the van down I suppose!

Im not sure when I get my cheque for 2 calves x £5 = £10 from the dealer who took them onto the abattoir but I reckon I earned it. Now Ive got to remember to send a counterfoil of the passport back to BCMS and another counterfoil has to go to Defra together with that complicated looking claim form  then next March (I think) they will send me a cheque for £19.67 x2 calves.

Ummm.... anyone know how best to blow that lot? !!!!

David

What a joy to be a farmer!  Margaret Becket says weve got to change  well all this a change!!

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