NSA Eastern Region Winter Fair 2018

Date: 9th February 2018

Location: Melton Mowbray Livestock Market, Scalford Road, LE13 1JY

Seminars prove a major draw at NSA Eastern Region Winter Fair

A slightly new format for this year’s NSA Eastern Region Winter Fair saw the seminar programme feature more strongly through the day, resulting in a good attendance and strong engagement from audience members.

The programme kicked off with Kate Hovers, vet and independent sheep consultant, talking about reducing lameness in flocks. She took visitors through the five-point plan, which places equal importance on rapidly and effectively treating lame sheep, culling repeat offenders, vaccinating stock, quarantining incoming animals, and avoiding infection.

In addition to lameness, a number of other speakers covered technical husbandry topics during the day. Charlie Thompson of Zoetis Animal Health offered advice on parasite control, and Howard Gilbert of Volac provided top tips on successful rearing of surplus lambs.

Dr Liz Genever introduced AHDB Beef & Lamb’s ‘Challenge Sheep’ project, which encompasses a wide range of work looking at the management of ewe replacements. Her particular focus on the day was looking after young ewes at lambing time to reduce culling/losses and improve production.

Next up Charles Secombe, NFU Livestock Board Chairman and NSA Central Region Committee Member, shared his thoughts on what the sheep sector would look like post-Brexit. He argued that providing a regulatory framework within which farmers could be profitable would allow them to also look after animal health and welfare and the environment.

He said: “I believe that if farmers are profitable they will also do what they can to look after the environment. I am confident we can devise a scheme that can deliver for the environment at the same time as producing food.”

The environment and food production was also touched upon by Robert Spink, local sheep farmer and NSA Next Generation Ambassador, who described his involvement in running sheep in arable rotations. Mr Spink expounded the positive environmental benefits of the practice, particularly in terms of soil health, and looked at the practicalities of running sheep on units that do not necessarily have the expertise or infrastructure of doing so.

Phil Stocker, NSA Chief Executive, summarised the findings of the ram longevity research work that concluded last year and was supported by NSA. He said: “In pursuit of answers around the working life and cost of rams in commercial sheep flocks, this study gathered information from almost 600 UK sheep flocks through focus groups and an online survey. We are now in a position to respond to claims from NSA members that rams do not work on commercial farms for as many seasons as wanted with data, and pin-point practical on-farm solutions for producers who want to maximise the working life of rams.”

Speaking more generally about the new format for the NSA Eastern Region Winter Fair, Mr Stocker added: “The day worked very well, with plenty of individuals attending the seminars and also making the most of the opportunity to have quality, worthwhile discussions with the trade stands present. Those attending seemed well aware of the changes on the horizon, and were fully engaged with the messages from the day.”

Facts and Figures

Through the gate just under 300 + 200 press/guest tickets. 

Competition Winners :

Trade Stands

1.        Allflex Tags

2.        MSD Animal Health

3.        Manor Farm Feeds

Breed Society Stands

1.        Lleyn

2.        Charollais

3.        Suffolk

Stock Judging Competition

  1. Geoff Watson, Northants
  2. Betty Clarke, Rutland
  3. Andrew Baugh, Newark

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