Calf marketing and rearing options directory

02 February 2022

A photo of a cow.

This directory provides dairy farmers with a simple, accessible resource, to explore their options and opportunities for their surplus calves, linking farmers with those wanting to purchase and rear these calves.

The GB Dairy Calf strategy aims to support farmers and wider industry in tackling the elimination of routine calf euthanasia and ensuring every calf is reared with care.

We champion a range of actions and priorities which will ensure greater and ongoing success of rearing of calves from the dairy sector for the beef market. 

Through our wide stakeholder group from across the industry, we appreciate there is a range of businesses purchasing and rearing calves, through a variety of means.

This directory showcases this wide range of options available for farmers to market and sell their calves and also considers opportunities for those herds under TB restriction.

It will also enable you to consider the requirements and actions needed to access these markets and be as successful as possible in these ventures, streamlining the processes for all.

Options for TB restricted herds

Approved Finishing Units

AFUs provide a route for rearing and/or finishing cattle from TB-restricted herds in systems that offer additional and necessary biosecurity but equally high welfare as non-restricted holdings. These farmers are able to purchase and house calves from TB-restricted herds before sending cattle either direct to slaughter or to another AFU.

In addition to ensuring animal welfare and alleviating financial difficulties for TB-restricted farms, AFUs help control the wider incidence of TB. The tight regulations surrounding AFU licensed holding aim to eliminate the likelihood of TB-restricted cattle coming into contact with other herds.

The government hosts a list of Approved Finishing Units online, with locations across England and Wales. Whilst some units may be private or more suitable for finishing rather than rearing, this list acts as a useful starting point for finding somewhere to move calves from TB-restricted herds: Approved finishing units (England and Wales).

The location of AFUs can also be seen on the ibTB website – just make sure that you have zoomed in and the toggle button on the left hand side is switched on. AFUs will appear as a small purple square and clicking on the square will bring up the details of the AFU.

Additional guidance for licencing

Owners of cattle entered for sale must apply to APHA for a movement licence a minimum of five working days before the sale.

For general guidance on applying for a movement licence from APHA, visit Licensing of TB-restricted Cattle in England.

For the APHA application form, read TB-restricted Cattle: Application for Movement Licence.

Livestock Auction Markets

Livestock Markets have over 200 years proven experience, selling a quarter of a million calves each year across England and Wales.

The Livestock Market provides a competitive and transparent marketplace, offering a fair price representative of current market trends, working for the producer, rather than the buyer.

Livestock Markets represent all sizes and scales of farm businesses, successfully marketing all breeds, ages, sizes and sexes of calves to a wide-ranging ringside of buyers from across the beef supply chain.

Livestock Markets operate the highest standards of animal welfare and bio-security measures, in accordance with Red Tractor standards, and are at the forefront of the development of livestock traceability systems and animal health status.

Speak to your local Livestock Market for further information, or find your local Livestock Market by visiting Auction Marts | Livestock Auctioneers' Association Limited.

Using the search tabs on the link above, you can refine the search to all those with calf markets, by region and days on which they are held. The details include names, address, contact details of the relevant markets and days on which calves are sold.

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Blade Farming

Blade Farming is one of the UK’s largest integrated beef farming operations established in 2001 and celebrating more than 20 years in integrated beef. Blade is part of the ABP group supplying UK retailers with high quality and consistent beef.

Blade is a UK-based operation with calf units in Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales. The Blade team collects calves direct from dairy farms or through dedicated collection centres to go into strategically located rearing units where the calves are reared to a high health protocol. Blade Farming purchases calves to a specification and also has breeding programmes in place with dairy farmers offering long-term calf contracts which can remove market volatility.

Contact details

Tel: 01458 259413
Twitter: @bladefarming
Facebook: Blade Farming
Instagram: @BladeFarming

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Buitelaar Group

Buitelaar Group is a family business that has been involved in farming and meat for five generations. Running the UK’s largest end-to-end supply chain, Buitelaar collects, fattens and sells the meat of over 50,000 cattle a year.

Recognising the struggle of many UK farmers, Buitelaar has designed several schemes for farmers that are under TB restrictions.

  • Calf contracts: Officially TB-free (OTF) or TB-restricted
  • Bringing calves to the Orange collection centre
  • Buitelaar supplying a calf building in return for calves
  • Buitelaar underwriting p/kg contracts for reared TB-restricted calves

Contact details

Tel: 01244 293128
Twitter: @BuitelaarGroup
Facebook: Buitelaar Group

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Meadow Quality

Meadow Quality operates two Red Tractor-approved calf collection centres, located in Shropshire and Wiltshire. These locations allow dairy and beef producers to utilise a secure, safe and welfare-friendly service to buy and supply calves in an efficient and competitive manner.

  • Simple system to allow batching and resting of calves during their short stay at the collection centres
  • Collection centres are DEFRA approved and monitored by both DEFRA and local county councils – animal welfare is always the priority
  • CCTV is in use at both locations, providing further protection to livestock during their time at the collection centres
  • Calf numbers are managed by collection centre teams, ensuring high welfare standards
  • Centres supported by dedicated local veterinary clinicians and trading standards offices
  • BVD screening service, on request
  • Red Tractor approved collection and/or delivery service also available on request

Contact Details

Tel: 01789 734100 (Anne Careless)
Email: [email protected]

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Breedr is a free precision livestock app, which offers a digital marketplace enabling sellers' listings to be shared directly to all 3,000 precision farmers, who collectively buy thousands of cattle every week and are actively looking for animals backed by weight and health data.

With a national reach, Breedr offers a wide platform for selling and purchasing calves. With secure payment within 48 hours and only 2% service fee, Breedr aims to allow sellers to trade on their terms, directly from a mobile device.

Find out more at Breedr - The FREE precision livestock app

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SellMyLivestock is a large, established online marketplace for selling livestock. It offers a quick and easy way to deal directly from farm, reaching over 110,000 farmers all across the UK. 

Contact Details

Tel: 0800 689 1517
Email: [email protected]

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To have your business details added to the directory, contact the NFU Dairy team: [email protected].

The AHDB and NFU working together on the GB Dairy Calf Strategy alongside the Stakeholder Group seek to ensure that the information contained in this webpage Directory is accurate at the time of publication.  This Directory is intended to help users/Farmers with the provision of contact details and all users must understand that no warranty is given in respect of the information and data provided. You are entirely responsible for how you use the information.  To the maximum extent permitted by law, AHDB, NFU and the Stakeholder Group accept no liability for any loss, damage or injury howsoever caused or suffered (including that caused by negligence) directly or indirectly in relation to the information or data provided in this publication.

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