Farmers are being urged to check their farm fridge temperature after new research conducted by MSD Animal Health found none of the fridges observed storing vaccines were able to maintain the correct internal temperature of between 2 degrees C and 8 degrees C.

In addition , a subsequent survey of farmers showed that only around half knew the correct temperature for vaccine storage, showing there is a lack of knowledge surrounding standard procedures.

Paul Williams, MSD Animal Health UK technical manager for ruminants, explained why it's important vaccines are kept within the correct temperature range: "Failing to maintain the correct fridge storage temperature compromises vaccine effectiveness and consequently animal health.

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"In a significant number of farm fridges monitored, the temperature was elevated to 8 degrees C for long periods of time, with the maximum fridge temperature recorded being 24 degrees C.

"In the worst cases, over 60 per cent of fridges had been at 0 degrees C or below 0 degrees C long enough for vital contents to freeze. When the temperature is too high, vaccines become ineffective. If frozen, the vaccine is destroyed."

Mr Williams went on: "The research shows we have work to do in educating customers about how to store vaccines and I encourage all farmers to check their farm fridge temperatures.

"To promote better practice, we've launched an awareness campaign called Fridge Check to educate farmers on the importance of storing vaccines correctly."

Market round-up

Harrison & Hetherington Ltd sold 113 store heifers in St Boswells on Thursday to a top of 271.2p per kg and an average of 211p, while 121 store bullocks peaked at 258.1p and levelled at 223.8p.

C&D Auction Marts Ltd sold 4129 prime hoggs in Longtown on Thursday to a top of £127 per head and 311p per kg to average 213p (+9.9p on the week).

The firm also had 4725 cast sheep forward when heavy ewes sold to £154 for Texels and averaged £82.13 (+51p), while light/export-type ewes peaked at £75 for Blackfaces and levelled at £44.81 (+£4.29). Rams sold to £119 for a Texel and averaged £68.70.