2014-02-21   facebooktwitterrss
NSA - Guardian of the Sheep Industry

The role of the National sheep Association as the ‘guardian of sheep farming’ was emphasised at the NSA Cymru/Wales AGM, held at the Royal Welsh showground in Builth Wells.

NSA Chief Executive Phil Stocker stressed that everything the organisation does is to make sheep farming attractive and valued. The NSA Next Generation project, dedicated to sheep farmers of the future, had a particularly important role in attracting young people to sheep farming and providing support.

David Pittendreigh is pictured on the right with new chairman, Paul Wozencraft centre and deputy chairman, Llew Thomas, left.

David Pittendreigh is pictured on the right with new chairman, Paul Wozencraft centre and deputy chairman, Llew Thomas, left.

He emphasised the need to communicate to the public why they should value sheep farming. People needed to better understand the crucial role played by sheep in maintaining the hills, particularly in the face of George Monbiot’s claim that sheep in the hills cause floods.

Mr Stocker added:”Sheep play a crucial part in maintaining the hills. We have a positive story to tell and we need to do a lot more to get the message across. “

NSA National Chairman John Geldard said the organisation had put a lot of work into strengthening the core values of serving the sheep farmer on the ground. A lot of effort had gone into creating a stronger structure at the office in Malvern, to increase membership and take the industry forward.

The AGM was followed by a liver fluke workshop that illustrated how successfully coping with infection can mean the difference between profit and loss. Specialist sheep vet and past President of the Sheep Veterinary Society, Kate Hovers, stressed the importance of breaking the cycle of infection, particularly with Spring treatment of sheep, cattle, goats, alpacas and lamas.

She stressed the importance of thinking ahead, of grazing management, and of knowing whether there is resistance to tricobenzole. And she warned that while there are several classes of product that treat fluke, they don’t all kill the young fluke.

Kate Hovers said:”This time of year we are mainly looking at adults that are producing eggs so if you are thinking of these treatments, you just treat the adults. If you go into September, October time, most of your fluke are going to be immature.

“Unfortunately the products that treat immature fluke have all got 35/42 day plus withdrawals. So it really is thinking ahead and wondering about which grazing you can put lambs on, which ones really are ready for finishing, and treat with a product that will kill the immature.”

She warned that none of the flukicides have a residual effect. Animals can reinfect within hours if the pasture is contaminated.

Aberystwyth University scientist Dr Neil Mackintosh outline how a pilot scheme carried out on NSA Vice President and Lampeter farmer, Margaret Dalton’s, farm had shown the importance of monitoring. He said faecal egg counting following heavy losses the previous year had helped to pinpoint when she should treat for fluke.

He added:”What this information has given Margaret is that what she was doing before was treating in the Autumn. This has highlighted that she wasn’t dealing with contamination of the pasture in the Spring.

“So by doing this monitoring monthly we’ve managed to be able to conclude that she needs to be able to go in there (and treat) in the Spring.”

Margaret Dalton added that, additionally, the programme had enabled her to see that sometimes fluke was present without being apparent.


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link EBLEX Issues Warning about Over-Fat Lambs
link Sheep Breeders

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