NSA South East Region Sheep Health, Wealth and Production Conference

  • Event Info
  • Day 1
  • Day 2
  • Day 3
  • Sponsors

NSA South East Region will be holding its fourth Sheep Health, Wealth & Production (SHWAP) Conference virtually, in the form of a series of webinars on three consecutive evenings — 26th, 27th  and 28th October 2021.

The topics covered in each evening session will include:

  • Health Planning
  • Managing Mixed Swards in Arable Rotations
  • Attracting, retaining and supporting the next generation of flockmasters

Each evening session will host two to three speakers, and will provide plenty of opportunity for questions and discussion.

While NSA South East Region are disappointed not to be able to welcome attendees in person, with the opportunity to enjoy the usual post-conference meal, we hope that the virtual format will allow a wider, indeed even an international, audience.

Registration links and programme information can be found on the relevant tabs above.

We look forward to “seeing” you in October!

To register to attend, please click here.

The topic for Day 1, Tuesday 26th October at 7pm is Health Planning.

Yann Le Du, NSA South East Regional Chairman, will open the conference, providing an exciting overview of what attendees can expect for the next couple of days.

Dr Fiona Lovatt will kick off the evening with a talk on using flock plans to optimise flock health. Dr Fiona Kenyon from the Moerdun Research Institute will then follow with insight into the use of technology and tools in sustainable sheep production. Finally Eleanor Sanger from the Farm Safety Foundation, otherwise known as Yellow Wellies, will join to talk on their work to encourage good health and wellbeing in shepherds.

There will be time for questions and discussions following the speaker presentations. 

Speaker biographies

Yann Le Du

Yann Le Du has been Chair of NSA South East Region since 2019 and also sits on the NSA Board of Trustees. Through his Scholarship at the Grassland Research Institute, PhD at University of Reading and mixed farming background Yann is experienced in researching and evaluating the influence of different grazing regimes. Yann now carries out mentoring and advisory work across the UK and Europe.

Fiona Lovatt

Dr Fiona Lovatt runs Flock Health Ltd, a sheep veterinary business which encourages proactive veterinary involvement on sheep farms through individual health planning and Flock Health Clubs, and is also clinical associate professor at the University of Nottingham with active involvement in clinical undergraduate veterinary studies and supervision of small ruminant research.

Fiona Kenyon

Fiona Kenyon gained a PhD studying sheep scab mites at Moredun before completing a Post-doctoral position at Edinburgh University. She now works at Moredun on the management of anthelmintic resistance in sheep. Fiona is currently interested in how different anthelmintic treatment strategies affect the development of anthelmintic resistance and has been working on developing targeted treatment and targeted selected treatment strategies in sheep. 

Farm Safety Foundation

An award-winning charity dedicated to support the physical and mental wellbeing of the UK’s farmers. The ultimate aim of the Foundation is to have zero avoidable deaths on our farms. To achieve this, the Foundation works closely with partners in the industry to engage, educate and communicate strong and relatable farm safety messages.

To register to attend, please click here.

The topic for Day 2, Wednesday 27th October at 7pm is Managing mixed swards in arable rotations

Professor Tommy Boland will begin the evening by focussing on the benefits and challenges of multispecies swards in sheep production systems, which have received renewed interest alongside the use of herbal leys in recent years. Farmer Ian Metson will then outline his experiences with his 400 ewe flock utilising multispecies swards grown as a break crop on an arable farm in Essex. Finally Dr Becky Willson will consider the benefits of diversity both below and above ground in building soil health and carbon sequestration through multispecies swards.

There will be time for questions and discussions following the speaker presentations. 

Wednesday's session is additionally sponsored by Germinal.

Speaker biographies

Tommy Boland

Tommy Boland is from a mixed farming background in the South-East of Ireland and is currently Professor of Ruminant Nutrition and Sheep Production in University College Dublin, Ireland. His research work is focussed on enhancing the sustainability of ruminant livestock production, particularly pasture based production systems, with a particular interest in multispecies swards, enteric methane mitigation, reducing nitrogen excretion and alternative forages, fresh and conserved.

Ian Metson

Ian Metson farms 140 hectares near Ongar in Essex. Sheep were introduced to the farm in 2012, which had not kept livestock since the 1930s. Currently 400 Exlana ewes graze rotational herbal leys and floodplain land that has been reverted to pasture. They graze all winter, mostly on permanent pasture on neighbouring farms, and lamb outside from mid April. Herbal leys are part of a Countryside Stewardship Agreement and provide an alternative break crop.

Becky Willson

A passionate advocate for highlighting the economic benefits of sustainable farming, Becky currently divides her time between working for Farm Carbon Toolkit (FCT) and working for Duchy College Rural Business School as a technical specialist in resource management. In 2016 Becky was awarded a Nuffield Scholarship to study further how to communicate carbon reduction schemes to farmers, which has fed into her work at FCT and Duchy College.

To register to attend, please click here.

The topic for Day 3, Thursday 28th October at 7pm is Attracting, retaining and supporting the next generation.

Thursday will see a range of speakers discuss opportunities for the next generation of farmers. Firstly, Farmer Peter Lord will share Dyson Farming's approach to encouraging the younger generations to consider a future in agriculture. British Grassland Society (BGS) CEO Tom Goatman will follow by outlining the history and background to the BGS Mentoring Programme, it’s aims, objectives and the roles of those involved. Mentor Yann Le Du will then introduce two of the 2021 Mentees - Tom and Caroline Slay. They will discuss their reasons for applying for the programme, what they were hoping to get from it and how it has and will continue to help them with their grassland and overall business management going forward. 

Finally, NSA Communications Officer Katie James will introduce the NSA Next Generation Programme, which will soon be acceppting applications for 2022. Katie will be joined by an existing Ambassador who will expand on their experiences of the programme and what they have gained from their involvement with the organisation and associated networks. 

There will be time for questions and discussions following the speaker presentations. 

Speaker biographies

Peter Lord

South West Farm Manager at Dyson Farming.

Tom Goatman

Tom grew up on a dairy farm on the Gloucestershire/Monmouthshire border, and has 18 years experience working in the livestock industry.  Prior to joining BGS Tom worked for Genus ABS, the AHDB Dairy Knowledge Transfer Team and as a ruminant nutritionist for Trouw Nutrition GB. His role at BGS is to lead activities of the Society in accordance with the constitution and with guidance from the Trustees and Council, led by the Presidential Team, to ensure the overall progression and development of the Society.

Tom and Caroline Slay

Tom and Caroline Slay run a mixed unit in Northamptonshire, which includes sheep and calf rearing enterprises as well as a small arable area. The sheep enterprise has recently reached 350 breeding ewes, including a contract farming arrangement. The flock comprises of Romneys, Highlanders and Lleyns, with lambs sold deadweight. They are working towards a simple, grass based, outdoor lambing system with high health and welfare. The grazing is a mix of owned, rented and seasonal grazing licences. 

Katie James and NSA Next Generation Programme

Katie’s varied role means she has involvement in most areas of NSA Communications work, focussing mostly on press activity and NSA event organisation and publicity working with NSA regions and affiliated breed societies. She also leads the delivery of the NSA Next Generation programme and contributes to NSA Sheep Farmer magazine. The NSA Next Generation is a programme dedicated to encouraging and supporting the sheep farmers and service providers of the future. Through offering young people interested in the sheep industry opportunities to join ambassador schemes to helping them in securing work placements and employment, NSA Next Generation is helping the young shepherds of the future look forward positively and enthusiastically to a career in a sector that is crucial to UK livestock production.