2013-09-18   facebooktwitterrss
Sheep Farmers Urged To Take A 'Buyer Beware' Approach

SCOPS urges sheep farmers to take a 'buyer beware' approach when purchasing replacements to protect their flocks this autumn.

Hundreds of thousands of breeding and store sheep will move around the UK every month this autumn, taking with them a number of serious threats to the health and future profitability of the flocks they join. Yet most sheep farmers will do little if anything to minimise the risks and many could pay a heavy price.

Longtown Mart Sheep Sale

© Longtown Mart

Peter Baber, sheep breeder and Chairman of SCOPS, says:
"It doesn't matter that they look well, they were a top priced pen or even from a known source, they still carry the potential to wreak havoc. There is a long list of potential threats, including sheep scab, lice, resistant roundworms and liver fluke, not to mention CODD, footrot and orf. Most of these you cannot see, so my policy is never to take any chances. I always isolate all in-coming sheep and implement the full quarantine recommendations."

Charles Sercombe, NFU representative on SCOPS and also a sheep farmer, acknowledges that implementing an effective quarantine policy takes time and costs money. "But this is nothing compared to the cost of importing one or more of these problems," he says. "Sheep scab can take up to six months to show its hand, by which time the majority of the breeding ewes in a flock will be affected, along with young lambs – not a pleasant prospect, very difficult and expensive to deal with and devastating for performance."


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