18th February 2013
NSA Cymru/Wales Chairman David Pittendreigh has called for ‘a big push’ to get a vaccine for Schmallenberg (SBV) licensed and available to farmers.
Speaking at the NSAWales/Cymru AGM today (Monday 18th February), he called on the Welsh Government to take action, saying there had been tremendous losses in the early lambing season.
He said: “This is far bigger than bluetongue as far as financial loss is concerned. It’s affecting the dairy industry, suckler cows, and the sheep industry.
“The Government needs to push ahead and get the vaccine out as soon as possible, because in the dairy industry those that are spring calving will have to get their cows vaccinated by the summer, so they have to be vaccinated before they start bulling again.”
Mr Pittendreigh also called for a reappraisal of the system by which levy payers fund Hybu Cig Cymru, Meat Promotion Wales. He warned that if the Vion plant in North Wales closed, HCC stood to lose half a million pounds in addition to the £1million already lost from cattle and sheep slaughtered in England.
He said: “The levies can still be collected at point of slaughter, but the sheep levy should come from where the sheep was born and reared and not from point of slaughter.”
Guest speaker Professor Wynne Jones OBE told the NSA Wales/Cymru AGM there was a lot of opportunity despite big challenges ahead. Wales had a very good sheep farming industry and, while it wasn’t easy, it was important to be positive.
He stressed that while farmers couldn’t do much about price, they could work on costs. Hybu Cig Cymru 2011 figures showed the average sheep farmer was making about 10% on top of costs of production, while the top farmers are making 48% on top and the bottom third were recovering only 84% of the cost of production.
He added: “There is a big difference between those that are doing very well, those at the middle and those at the bottom - and clearly it’s those that can control their cost in relation to price who will be the ones that will be here in 15 or 20 years.”
Also at the AGM David Pittendreigh was re-elected Chairman and Paul Wozencraft was re-elected Vice Chairman.