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Stackyard News May 06

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NSA Scotsheep Returns To Aberdeenshire

Aberdeenshire will next month host Scotland’s national sheep event, NSA Scotsheep 2006, for the first time since 1993.


NSA Scotsheep 2006 will be held on one of the best known upland stock farms in North-east Scotland - Wellheads, Huntly - on Wednesday, June 7, courtesy of the Gordon family.

It is being organised by the Scottish Region of the National Sheep Association with Bank of Scotland Corporate as major sponsor.

With generous financial backing from the bank and other mainline, national and local sponsors, and a comprehensive programme of demonstrations, breed society exhibits, sheep dog trials, ATV and stockjudging competitions, practical demonstration, trade stands, farm tour and seminars, NSA Scotsheep is shaping up to be one of the best since the event was first held in 1979.

“Wellheads is a most impressive and well-managed sheep and beef farm and will make an excellent venue for NSA Scotsheep,” said NSA Scotland chairman, Hamish Waugh, Effgill, Westerkirk, Langholm, Dumfries-shire.

“We are grateful to the Gordon family, and to the local organising committee, who are putting so much effort into making this year’s NSA Scotsheep another memorable event for the sheep industry in Scotland.”

Farmer, John Gordon, is looking forward to welcoming thousands of sheep farmers from all over Scotland – and further afield – to view the flock of 830 ewes and 230 suckler cows which graze the farm’s 1250 acres, rising from 600ft at the steading to 1230ft at the top of the hill with spectacular views to the Moray Firth and beyond.

John, a director of the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland and a former chairman of the Scottish Association of Young Farmers’ Clubs, says hosting NSA Scotsheep is an opportunity for him to repay the farming community for the enjoyment he has had attending similar events on other people’s farms over the years.

“It is an honour to be asked to host NSA Scotsheep at Wellheads and we will be doing everything possible, along with the local organising committee, to make it a successful and worthwhile event for the Scottish sheep industry,” he says.

Features of NSA Scotsheep will include more than 100 trade stands and displays by no fewer than 28 breed societies.

“We are grateful to all the sponsors, trade stand exhibitors and breed societies who ensure the success of NSA Scotsheep,” said organising committee chairman, John Gregor, general manager of Aberdeen and Northern Marts.

“The organising committee has been working very hard to create a varied programme of activities which will be of interest to all sheep farmers.”

NSA Scotsheep will be officially opened at 10.30 a.m. by Exeter farmer Peter Baber, chairman of the National Sheep Association, and there will be a comprehensive programme of seminars on a range of topical subjects throughout the day.

Seminar speakers will include New Zealand sheep expert, Dr George Cruickshank, SAC sheep specialist, Dr John Vipond, and Farmers Weekly Sheep Farmer of the Year, Marcus Maxwell, Castle Douglas. A seminar on sheep health will be chaired by Prof Julie Fitzpatrick, chief executive of Moredun Institute, with two of her Moredun colleagues as speakers, Prof Willie Donachie and Dr David Buxton.

The seminar programme will conclude with a Question Time session chaired by Donald Biggar, interim chairman of Quality Meat Scotland. Members of the panel will include Aberdeenshire sheep farmer, Alan Ross, Woodhead Bros’ livestock buyer, Paul Barker, and QMS marketing controller, Laurent Vernet.

In the area adjacent to the NSA seminars, QMS will be hosting mini versions of the on-farm Estimated Breeding Value (EBV) workshops, lamb grading workshops, culminating with lamb carcase butchery demonstrations. The combined workshops will help farmers to use breeding value figures to improve growth rates, carcase conformation and reduce fat levels, develop the skills to handle and assess prime lambs for the market place and compare visually the differences that fat levels can make to the end product. This will be the first time that these workshops have been run in Scotland at the same time and will very much be a hands-on experience.

This year will also see the launch of a new competition to choose the NSA Scotsheep 2006 Young Shepherd of the Year. Competitors (aged 26 years and under) will be required to carry out a number of tasks, including sheep shearing, ATV handling and selecting prime lambs for slaughter, as well as answering questions on foot care techniques and handling, vaccination and dosing, flock management and health issues.

The winner will receive the NSA Scotsheep Trophy, presented by the NSA Scottish Region, and a cash prize of £300 sponsored by Bryce Suma Post Drivers and the two first prize winners in the senior and junior (under 21) categories will qualify to compete in the national Young Shepherd of the Year competition at NSA Sheep 2006.

There will also be a stockjudging competition sponsored by Seafield Veterinary Group, Keith,

The introduction of school visits was a highly successful innovation at NSA Scotsheep 2004 and is to be repeated this year. Arrangements are being made by the Royal Northern Countryside Initiative and coach transport is being sponsored by the National Sheep Association. Up to 300 primary school children will be taken on a conducted tour of the event by a team of experienced volunteers and various competitions and quizzes are being devised for their education and entertainment.

In addition to Bank of Scotland Corporate, mainline sponsors are Agri-Lloyd International, ANM Group, Harbro, Intervet UK, Quality Meat Scotland, Rumenco and Shearwell Data.

National sponsors include Caltech, Janssen Animal Health, Scotbeef, Stewart Agricultural and United Auctions and the local sponsors will be Cumberland and Dumfriesshire Farmers, McIntosh Donald, Norvite, Pratley Sales Northern, Rozzas of Huntly and Towns and Carnie.

The first NSA Scotsheep was held in 1979 and was last held in Aberdeenshire in 1993 on the farm of Harry Emslie, Brae of Coynach, Mintlaw. Two years ago, the event was held on the farm of Willie Davidson, Poldean, Wamphray, nr Moffat, Dumfries-shire.

link Lambing Goes Well As Wellheads Prepares For NSA Scotsheep
link Scotsheep 2006 Seminar Programme
link Educational Day Out For Primary School Pupils at Scotsheep 2006
link Bank of Scotland to Sponsor Scotsheep 2006
link Scotsheep to return to Aberdeenshire In 2006

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