Livestock producers are being encouraged to take part in new trials of the Annual Health and Welfare Review, starting this autumn.
The trials form part of the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway, which launched this year to support improvements in UK livestock health.
As part of the pathway, farmers who keep cattle, sheep and pigs can receive funding for a vet or vet-led team to visit their farm and carry out a yearly review.
Each visit can last up to three hours, and vets will offer advice on both the health and welfare of animals and on-farm biosecurity.
The vet visit could include diagnostic testing, advice on the use of medicines or signposting to other financial support.
Defra has worked with farmers and vets to test aspects of the review, including guidance for vets on how to carry out a review, how farmers access and use the digital service and the process for a vet carrying out a review.
In a new blog, Defra explains that it is looking for more farms to test others aspects of it, including the service farmers will use on the government website.
This includes the content for their applications on the government website and how vets will interact with the service, includes basic information about each farm and the results of diagnostic testing following a vet visit.
"You don’t need to be an expert with computers – all we need to know from you is what works and what doesn’t so we can make the service better. You’ll give your feedback in a survey," Defra said.
"Any documents submitted while testing will all be anonymised. This is not an inspection and the information from testing won’t be used in inspections."
Livestock keepers registered in England and eligible for the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) can take part in the new trials.
Defra is asking for farmers that keep: 11 or more beef or dairy cattle; 21 or more sheep; 51 or more pigs.
By helping to test the review, farmers will be paid at the standard payment rate: £522 for beef cattle; £372 for dairy cattle; £436 for sheep; £684 for pigs.
Farmers interested in the trials are being asked to email AHWR_enquiries@defra.gov.uk.