NSA Members Update 7th June 2013

By Suffolk Sheep Society 10th June, 2013

Update from the NSA






EXCELLENT INDUSTRY FORUM PROVIDED BY NSA NORTH SHEEP 2013:Be it at the opening ceremony, in the seminar tent, or conversations amongst the thousands of visitors who flooded through the gates, there was a great sense of optimism at NSA North Sheep, coupled with a lot of respect for the role of the family farm in the sheep sector. This was exemplified by the hosts, with all three generations of the Wilson family (J.M. Wilson and Sons; picture 1) showing their support for the event throughout the day. Our thanks goes to them, as well as the organising committee, willing volunteers, trade stands, demonstrators and visitors – what an amazing day. Results of the competitions included:-

  • Ripon Farm Supplies as best outdoor trade stand (picture 2); Logie Durno Sheep, from Aberdeenshire, as best indoor trade stand (3) and the Lleyn Sheep Society as best breed society stand (4).
  • The Young Shepherd of the Year title went to Josh Ryder (5) of Central House Farm, Haverah Park, Harrogate. Josh works at CCM auction and on the 300-acre family home farm where they run 1,200 Dalesbred and Swaledale ewes and a small herd of sucklers.
  • Winning stockjudgers were Cecil Hutchinson in the Gents section, Margaret Iveson (6) in the ladies section, Eddie Heard in the under 26s and Henry Forsett in the under 19s.
  • Andrew Atkinson (7), a lamb buyer of Felliscliffe Harrogate, proved he knows as much about preparing lamb as purchasing it when he won the Ready, Steady, Cook competition.
  • Coming top in the first ever NSA North Sheep Shearing Competition was 30-year-old Adam Berry (8) of Kendal.

The seminar tent also proved to be a draw throughout the day. Phil Stocker and John Geldard, NSA Chief Executive and Chairman respectively, had an opportunity to update visitors on the topics NSA is currently working on, including CAP reform and countering arguments that eating less meat will save the planet (see more below). They also answered questions on the new electronic movement database for England and what was being done to engage with New Zealand and prevent them repeating their 2012 marketing strategy. Another popular seminar was Dr Fiona Lovatt tackling liver fluke, Schmallenberg and scab. As a practising vet who recently set up her own sheep consultancy business, Fiona said she’s seen the impact of fluke on many farms in recent months. Using basic farm costing information for an average lowland flock, she calculated that fluke (by reducing scanning percentages, killing a small number of ewes and forcing a few more to be culled) could easily cut a flock’s lamb rearing potential from 160% to 120%, slashing margins from just over £33/ewe to only 21p/ewe. She urged farmers to test for triclabendazole (TBZ) resistance (rather than assuming a treatment failure automatically meant the farm had resistance) and to also quarantine incoming stock. There were several quarantine options to stop fluke getting onto fluke-free farms and TBZ-resistant fluke getting on TBZ-susceptible farms, and so Fiona urged farmers to talk about quarantine options with their vet.

… NEXT UP IS THE NSA YOUTHFUL SHEPHERD EVENT: Specifically aimed at young people working in the sector or looking to pursue a career in the sector, the first ever NSA Youthful Shepherd Event is tomorrow (Saturday 8th June). This will be a unique opportunity for new and potential new entrants to have access to industry leaders and influencers, gain information and advice, and have a say about what the industry can do to better support young people. The event starts at 2.30pm at Darley Stud Management Co Ltd, Rutland Yard, Newmarket, Suffolk, CB8 9RF. It is organised by NSA Eastern Region but open to young people from around the UK. The event will include:-

  • Advice and open discussion forumson store lamb production, pedigree sheep breeding, financing a start-up business, live and deadweight marketing, and breed types.
  • Demonstrationson Signet recording and ultrasound scanning, show and sale presentation, tagging and electronic readers, and sheepdogs.
  • NSA Eastern Region Young Shepherd of the Year Competition, which is a qualifier for the national and European finals. Pre-entry required.
  • Fun competitionsincluding electric fencing, sheep counting and eat-a-pie-shear-a-sheep-drink-a-pint!

The event will conclude at 6pm with a BBQ, to which all NSA Eastern Region members are invited for a social evening. This replaces the NSA Eastern Region farm walk.

… AND THEN NSA SHEEP SOUTH WEST: The penultimate NSA summer sheep event –
NSA Sheep South West – is being held this Tuesday (11th June) from 10am at Moortown Barton, Knowstone, South Molton, Devon, EX36 4RZ, by kind permission of Michael and David Snell (pictured here with their families). Tuesday will be an action-packed day with plenty going on, including farm tours, carcase and fleece competitions, stockjudging challenges, a sheepdog sale and Young Shepherd (and Student Shepherd) of the Future competitions. For the first time a seminar programme has also been introduced. Find out more at www.sheepsouthwest.org.uk.

NSA INVOLVED IN MEDIA ACTIVITY AROUND ‘MEAT AS A LUXURY PRODUCT’: This Tuesday (4th June) say the House of Commons Select Committee on international development release a report on global food security, which hit the mainstream press in the papers, radio and TV. This subject relates to the highest level of policy work the NSA is involved in, as it is likely to underpin many policies for future food production and land use. The report’s headline essentially said that the growing global population should eat less meat, but when you dug a little deeper it was saying clearly that increasing grain-fed meat was likely to be unsustainable whereas grass-fed meat would be an essential part of sustainable meat production and consumption. The media debate quickly (and unhelpfully) evolved into a meat versus non-meat argument, although this allowed Phil Stocker, NSA Chief Executive, to be quoted on the front page of the Tuesday’s Daily Mail and be involved in a live debate on Radio 5 Live, making the case that sheep production was one of the most natural and sustainable ways of converting our largely grass-based land area into nutritious and tasty food for the population – not only does it make use of grass but in doing so creates the sort of countryside that the public love. Phil says: “When you consider this debate and also the re-wilding proposals discussed in last week’s NSA Weekly Email Update, it is crucial NSA continues to get reasonable and practical facts across to a public, many of whom are enthusiastic about what we are doing but always need reassurance.”

NSA ENGLISH COMMITTEE GETS UPDATE ON CAP REFORM: In addition to NSA’s regular work on CAP reform, the English Committee also invited Gail Soutar, NFU Senior CAP and International Affairs Adviser, to provide an update at their meeting last week (Wednesday 29th May). One of the most pressing issues to come out of the discussion with Gail was a reminder that anyone interested in Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) only had until 1st September 2013 to apply, with the final ELS agreements to be offered on 1st December 2013. HLS closes at the end of July but Gail suggested Natural England already had to be aware of your interest and so no new applications could now be submitted. ELS and HLS schemes will then permanently close and be replaced with a new scheme from 1st January 2016, which is expected to be a middle tier between ELS and HLS. There is no firm information available on what will happen to existing environmental stewardship agreements that end in 2014 and 2015, but it is though unlikely that very few new/extended agreements will be offered.

Meanwhile IN WALES, the Glastir deadlines are:-

  • 31st July to be included in the next selection process for Glastir Efficiency Grants or Glastir Advanced.
  • 30th August for Glastir Commons applications (application forms will be issued next month, only to Grazing Associations who have already submitted an expression of interest form).
  • 30th September for Glastir agreements starting on 1st January 2014.

Also, from now until 4th July Glastir drop-in surgeries are being ran at Farming Connect divisional offices, with on-farm events also available until 5th July. Details at www.menterabusnes.co.uk/farmingconnect.

NEW DUNBIA LLANYBYDDER PREMISES OPEN: NSA Chief Executive Phil Stocker was one of many guests present today (Friday 7th June) to see Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones open Dunbia’s new premises at Llanybydder, Carmarthenshire. HCC (Meat Promotion Wales) has welcomed the £12m investment and 600 employed positions, saying it ‘shows faith’ in Welsh farmers and the quality of stock they produce. Gyn Howells, HCC Chief Executive, says: “Dunbia has demonstrated an eagerness to develop their domestic and export business and, working alongside HCC, has secured several business contracts in countries across the globe including Canada, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, Portugal and Italy. HCC works closely with Dunbia to market PGI Welsh Lamb and PGI Welsh Beef on the UK and world stage, generating business for the Welsh economy.” The investment at Llanybydder includes £2.71m from the Welsh Government.

IN-FIELD PROMOTION CAMPAIGN FOR RED TRACTOR: July will see Red Tractor Assurance launch a new Trust the Tractor campaign, which will see a great deal of promotional activity, including Trust the Tractor advertising banners appearing in farmers’ fields alongside around the country. If you are a farm assurance member and have a field in a visible spot near a major transport route that you think should be considered as a site for a 15ft by 4ft banner please email marketing@redtractor.org.uk.

BELGIAN SUPERMARKET CHOSES UK LAMB OVER SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE: The decision by one of Belgium’s largest supermarket chains to switch away from chilled New Zealand and Australian to UK product could see an additional 1,100 tonnes of UK lamb exported each year (we exported a total of 95,000 tonnes in 2012). Belgium is an important market for the UK, as Belgian lamb consumption is on the up, with lamb being the only meat species in 2012 to see an increase. Eblex/HCC believe an increasing number of cuts being offered in Belgium could further bolster this growth.

GRASS AND SILAGE FIGURES AVAILABLE IN WALES: You can follow the quality, growth and financial value of new and old leys on three Farming Connect beef and sheep demonstration farms in the ‘Grazing for Profit’ area of www.menterabusnes.co.uk/farmingconnect. Also check out the ‘Mileage in Silage’ area for analysis of grass samples from demonstration farms to determine sugar levels and sulphur requirements of second cut silage.

TAKE A FIRM GRIP ON RAGWORT: The common ragwort growing season has begun, with young plants forming low rosettes in fields and pastures. Landowners and occupiers have a statutory responsibility to prevent and control the spread of ragwort under the Weeds Act 1959, and it is also a cross compliance requirement. Control options include spot-spraying with a selective herbicide or hand-pulling – but remember ragwort remains toxic after the plant is dried, so proper disposal following clearance is necessary to protect livestock.

NUFFIELD SCHOLARSHIP DEADLINE IS 31ST JULY: Anyone considering applying for a 2014 Nuffield Scholarship Award has until 31st July to decide on their topic and complete an application. The Nuffield Scholarship Programme offers an incredible opportunity for people wishing to travel overseas for eight weeks to study a specific farming topic. The sheep sector (via some NSA members) has benefitted many times from discoveries made by previous scholars, and NSA encourages anyone under the age of 45 to consider applying. Applicants must be three year or more post tertiary education and been engaged in farming, rural land-based industries, food industries and agriculturally associated industries for at least two years, and intend to remain in these industries. Around 20 awards are available and applications are via an online process at www.nuffieldscholar.org.

GERMAN STUDENT LOOKING FOR TWO-MONTH WORK PLACEMENT: NSA has been contacted by 19-year-old Amelie Kreuzer, who is looking for a placement on a UK farm during July and August. Amelie is a fluent English speaker and has experience working on German farms, including her parents' pig unit. She has a keen interest in sheep and is eager to learn more through a practical placement in this country (with accommodation provided). She has a full driving licence. Amelie is not looking for wages but would be willing to accept a financial reflection of her commitment to the work placement at its conclusion. Email Amelie at amelie.kreuzer@gmail.com.


  • NEW EVENT: NSA YOUTHFUL SHEPHERDS’ EVENT:Saturday 8th June at Darley Stud Management Co Ltd, Rutland Yard, Newmarket, Suffolk, CB8 9RF. Organised by NSA Eastern Region but open to young people from around the UK with an interest in the sheep sector, with a BBQ and social event to follow in the evening for sheep farmers of all ages. Click here for more information and an application form.
  • NSA EASTERN REGION EVENT:The Youthful Shepherds’ Event on Saturday 8th June replaces the NSA Eastern Region’s annual farm walk and so all Eastern Regional members are invited to the 8th June event and the BBQ afterwards. If anyone wishes to help, either before or on the day, please contact NSA Eastern Regional Manager Jonathan Barber on 01953 607860 or jonathan@charollaissheep.com.
  • NSA SHEEP SOUTH WEST:Tuesday 11th June at Moortown Barton, Knowstone, South Molton, Devon, EX36 4RZ. More information here.
  • NSA SOUTH EAST FARM WALK:Thursday 13th June, hosted by NSA SE Regional Chairman Andrew Barr, 2pm at Place Farm, Firle, Lewes, East Sussex BN8 6LP. Please let Bob Blanden know you plan to attend – call 07860 689391 or email blanden@btinernet.com.
  • NSA SHEEP NORTHERN IRELAND:Monday 1st July at Ballymena Market, Woodside Road, Ballymena, County Antrim, BT42 4HX. Email Edward Adamson for more information by clicking here.
  • SHEEP BREEDERS ROUND TABLE:Friday 1st - Sunday 3rd November at Eastwood Hall, Nottingham. Organised by Eblex, Signet Breeding Services, NSA, HCC and Biosciences KTN, will John McEwan of AgResearch New Zealand as keynote speaker and a theme for the three days of ‘transforming data into profit’. To register an interest in attending email karen.morris@eblex.ahdb.org.uk or call 024 7647 8828.
  • Details of next year’s ram sales can be found by clicking here.

Stamp Out Scab Roadshow: To give the English-wide Stamp Out Scab campaign the best possible chance of success it is vital that everyone involved in the sheep sector is involved in the project, not just farmers. So please spread the word to vets and SQPs that a series of meetings is being held in June and July (click here for a full list). [Meetings for farmers will follow this summer].



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