NSA Regional Chair Kate Hovers with some timely advice
14th April 2020
The unpredictability that Corvid-19 has brought to the livestock sector means it’s a worrying time for ram producers. Their breeding and production strategy is geared to the Autumn sales and, for early lamb production, the NSA Wales & Border Early Sale in August.
NSA Wales/Cymru Chair, Kate Hovers BVSC Cert SHP MRCVS , is a vet and sheep flock consultant. She breeds sheep in the Brecon Beacons and is a regular at the NSA Wales & Border sales, buying and selling. And Kate feels it’s far too early to predict what form any sales will take this year.
She says: “I’d advise people to be looking after their rams as well as they would any other year. Keep on top of any lameness issues, keep them healthy, use blowfly prevention if needed and monitor to see if they need any worm treatments.
“Don’t overtreat, just keep them ticking along and keep them fit and active. Don’t neglect any treatment, particularly things like lameness that need to be treated sooner rather than later.
“Ideally, you’d hope your rams are growing steadily with minimum concentrates so that you’re buying them with their full potential, not artificially being pushed. Ideally they’re also kept outside and get enough exercise that helps keep them fit as well, because when rams go out you want them to work.
“They work quite hard, so you want them to be fit and fertile, not too mollycoddled. “
Kate added that it can be a difficult balance, because although buyers complain that rams are unfit and overfed, they usually want to buy the biggest and the fattest! She’s confident that the industry is resilient and flockmasters will have to buy rams for the next breeding season.
Kate Hovers 14th April 2020