Animal Health & Welfare Planning

Animal Health Banner


The aim of the RDPE Northwest Livestock Programme’s Animal Health and Welfare Planning is to make significant improvements to the health and welfare of the region’s livestock and to contribute to farm business profitability and product quality.

Planning Reviews, BVD Campaign and Johnes Testing

SAC is now offering Planning Reviews for farms that completed the health planning process over 12 months ago and wish to apply for an FFIS grant. Plans tailored at Johnes and BVD are now also available.

BVD carouselNorth West Dairy BVD Campaign

Up to £450 worth of subsidised testing available to screen your herd!

The scheme is available to all dairy farmers in the North West of England, even if they have already received support from the North West Livestock Programme for animal health planning before. The aim of the campaign is to increase the awareness of BVD on dairy farms in the North West, help farmers identify Persistently Infected (PI) cattle on their farm and provide advice on keeping your herd free from BVD. Testing and advice will be undertaken by your own veterinary surgeon and a technical advisor. See HERE for further details, or click on the picture above.

What is involved?

The process involves an assessment of health issues on your farm and identification of the key problems. After discussion with your vet and livestock adviser, a programme of actions is agreed, developed and documented in a health plan. In addition you will be able to undertake sampling to identify diseases / conditions that may be present on farm and are having a negative impact on animal health and welfare. Sampling may include blood or milk screening, faecal testing or analysis of forage or soil samples to the total value of £250 per farm (or up to £450 if testing for BVD in a dairy herd).

The cost of the plan is partly funded by the RDPE Northwest Livestock Programme. Participating farmers will pay £160 (plus VAT) for the whole plan.

How to Apply

Steps 1 to 6 typically take a couple of months to complete. For Step 7, see Grants for further info.



Telephone or Email SAC, who will then send you a registration form in the post. Call 08456 040 535 or email



Fill in the form stating your farm details and main reason for wanting an animal health plan, sign and send back to SAC (pre-paid envelope provided). On receipt of your application you will be billed £160 (plus VAT).


Wait to be Allocated

A vet (usually from your own practice) and an advisor (from SAC, CREA (Cumbria Rural Enterprise Agency), Myerscough College, Reaseheath College, Kite Consultancy or ICEP*) is allocated to you when your form has been processed.

*Where your advisor is from, depends on where you are based in the North West.


Advisor Visit

The advisor will ring you to arrange a suitable date and time to visit and start your plan. He or she will ask for basic records e.g culling figures etc to be ready when they attend. The visit itself will involve an on-farm assessment and prioritisation of health issues on your farm, providing you with the opportunity to ask questions and discuss options with your advisor. The visit should take no longer than a couple of hours.


Vet Visit

The advisor will notify your vet to say that your plan has been started. Your vet will then contact you to arrange a visit to identify the key health issues and carry out any necessary sample analysis (up to £250 worth) – which may include blood or milk screening, faecal testing or analysis of forage or soil samples.


Final Visit / Action Plan

Your advisor and vet visit you on your farm together to run through your final plan. A programme of action is agreed, developed and documented to address the key health and welfare issues on the farm. This may include management recommendations but will also identify priorities for investment in facilities or equipment which will improve problem areas on your farm.


Apply for a Grant (optional, depending on recommendations in the plan)

Some of these recommendations may be eligible for assistance from a Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme Grant. If such an investment is recommended, the technical advisor will develop a partial budget to illustrate the potential financial benefits.

See the Grants page for more on how to apply.

Participation in the animal health and welfare planning is an essential requirement in identifying and justifying RDPE performance grants for livestock health and welfare investments. The initiative started in May 2009 and will run until late 2013 unless the target of 2000 plans is delivered before this date. 


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08456 040 535

Case Studies

David Goodier

Photograph of David Goodier

"...developing an action plan to address each issue made us focus on what needed doing and where we could get help."

John Waller

Photograph of John Waller

"By calving our heifers earlier and reducing our calving index and metabolic disease incidence we are budgeted to be £5,000 per year better off."