NSA Members' Update 1th June 2013

By Suffolk Sheep Society 17th June, 2013

Update from NSA






FIRST EVER NSA YOUTH SHEPHERDS REPORT IS A HUGE SUCCESS: With more than 250 people of all ages attending, the inaugural NSA Youthful Shepherds Event was a huge success. The event was organised as part of NSA’s Young People in Sheep initiative, a multi-dimensional project that pledges to support the future of the sheep industrythrough young people. It was hosted by the NSA Eastern Region at Newmarket, Suffolk, but was open to youngsters all over the UK with an interest in sheep, whether they were already working in the sheep sector or wanted to in the future. A unique opportunity was provided 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 could do to better support them.

The NSA Youthful Shepherds Event was opened by Sir Jim Paice and started with an Open Forum (pictured right) that allowed attendees to quiz a range of people on every aspect of working in the sheep sector. There then followed practical demonstrations and also the Young Shepherd of the Year Competition, which was won by 25-year-old Marie Prebble. Marie (pictured left with Lady Paice) farms 230 acres with her parents, who are Ministry of Defence tenants near Canterbury. She is a member of Canterbury YFC and a NSA South East Region Committee Member.

Other competition results:-

  • Young Shepherd of the Year Competition: 1st, Marie Prebble (Canterbury); 2nd, George Hartley-Webb (Thetford); 3rd, Sarah Turner (Northants); 4th, William Mawer (Peterborough); 5th, Harry Lombardi (Lincolnshire); 6th, Matthew Phipps (Newmarket).
  • ‘Shear a sheep, eat a pie, drink a pint’ was won by Ed O Dell.
  • The sheep counting competition was won by Paul Moore, with his young son William Moore coming a very close second.
  • The fencing competition went to the talented partnership of Tom and Mattie Phipps.
  • The children’s quiz organized by Ellie Phipps was won by Jordan Paddock, with four-year-old Tilly Davies correctly guessing the lamb’s name in the children’s competition.

The event was held at Rutland Yard, Newmarket, Suffolk, by kind permission of Darley Stud Management Co Ltd. Dan Phipps, Head Shepherd at Darley and NSA Eastern Region Vice Chairman, was part of the Organising Committee that was instrumental to the event getting off the ground. He says: “I was very pleased with how many young people came along to the day, as I was with the number of people from all sections of the sheep industry who joined us to impart information and demonstrate the wide and varied opportunities the industry has to offer. The sheep sector is reliant on the people involved – and going forward it is reliant on the people it can attract – so to see people of all ages interacting was great.”

RECORD ATTENDANCE AT SHEEP SOUTH WEST: The NSA event on Tuesday (11th June) was a resounding success, with people flocking through the gate from early in the morning and reaching a record NSA Sheep South West attendance of 3,000 people. The huge number of trade and breed society exhibitors were delighted with the continuous flow of visitors, who were eager to do business. Over 1,000 people took the opportunity to go on the farm tour, learning more about the Snell’s farming enterprise and also enjoying the amazing views.

Various competitions were staged and Roger Vopser from Warbstow had an excellent show, taking first and second in the carcase competition for Waitrose producers, but it was Winston Grigg, also from Warbstow, who once again had the champion carcase. The long journey for Plumpton college student Andrew Flake was well rewarded when he won the student section of the Shepherd of the Future competition. Local competitor Sam Bullingham won the Open section and will represent the region at the National Final at the 2014 NSA Sheep Event. The party of children from the local primary spent most of the day on site and were enthralled with everything they saw, although the highlight for them was the shearing. Event Organiser Sue Martyn says: “Once again the NSA South West Region would like to thank Michael, Mary, David and Vicky Snell for agreeing to host the event and for all the hard work they put in to make it such a success. This really is going to be a hard act to follow!”

COMMUNICATION CONTINUING WITH NEW ZEALAND: NSA is continuing to engage with the New Zealand lamb sector on a regular basis, with NSA Chief Executive Phil Stocker joining representatives from NFU and Eblex this Monday (10th June) for a joint meeting with Don Morrison, director of Meat Industry Excellence (MIE), a lamb industry reform body in New Zealand. Phil reports: “New Zealand farmers are keen to understand the pressures facing farmers in the UK, and to understand the drivers in the UK market. We thoroughly support the aims of the MIE to reform their industry, and for the reform to be driven by the primary producer. We will be taking a close interest in how the industry works with Mr Morrison and his colleagues as their plans progress.”

Charles Sercombe, NFU Livestock Board Chairman (and NSA Central Region Committee Member), says: “Like sheep farmers in the UK, sheep farmers in New Zealand want a sustainable industry that allows farmers to invest, provides opportunities for the next generation and delivers a quality product to the consumer. We’ve all been hard pressed this year, with bad weather, high input prices and a volatile market, with many farmers getting prices below their costs of production. That’s not sustainable for the industry and it’s not going to secure top quality lamb product for consumers for the future. There is considerable appetite in New Zealand to reform the meat industry to restore confidence to the primary producer after a very difficult 12 months over there. They are also looking at their marketing strategies, after their strategy this year failed to deliver for grass roots farmers.”

NSA FEEDS INTO WELSH ‘FARM BUSINESS RESILIENCE’ REVIEW: As a result of the spring snow and the inpact on farm, particularly in the uplands, the Welsh Government are conducting a review into the resilience of farm businesses. Kevin Roberts is leading this review and the NSA was invited to take part in a meeting that took place on Wednesday (12th June). Phil Stocker, NSA Chief Executive, reports: “The review is looking at ways to better manage unexpected crises, such as the snow we saw earlier this spring, through more rapid information exchange, such as options for stock disposal, communications with the fallen stock collection services, derogations against regulations in areas such as drivers’ hours, stock burial or collective use of incineration. It is also exploring ways to help farm businesses become more resilient to future shocks, and here there are immediate opportunities to use CAP reform and the RDP to support and steer businesses in directions that achieve this. The meeting was a good opportunity to again explain the thinking behind the NSA’s proposal for an animal health and welfare scheme, because our scheme is about using RDP funds to incentivise health planning, health monitoring and accreditation schemes, faecal egg counting and similar activities, with the aim of increasing productivity and reducing resource waste.”

QMS MONITOR FARMER SEES BENEFITS OF CHICORY: Andrew Baillie of Carstairs Mains, South Lanarkshire has been speaking of the benefits of grazing sheep on chicory, as part of his role as the QMS Monitor Farm for Clyde. He planted 12 acres in June 2012 with a chicory, Timothy and white clover mix and turned ewes and lambs onto it ‘as soon as there was a bite’ in order to ‘graze it hard’. He said lambs showed no interest in creep feed when they were on the chicory and really thrived on the crop. Dr Jos Houdijk of SRUC (Scotland’s Rural College, formerly SAC) said additional work with Mr Baillie over the coming year would be investigating the effect of chicory on worm burdens. Commenting on previous SRUC trials with chicory, Dr Houdijk says it is possible that short-term grazing of pure chicory could be used for partial de-worming in a rotational grazing system. For more information on the QMS Clyde Monitor Farm project please contact Grant Conchie (01555 662562 / grant.conchie@sac.co.uk) or Raymond Crerar (01292 525458 / raymond.crerar@sac.co.uk).

BEWARE OF CLA AT SHEARING TIME: SRUC (Scotland’s Rural College, formerly SAC) has reiterated the need to test for CLA (caseous lymphadenitis), especially given that it can be spread at shearing time by the puncturing of bacteria-infected abscesses. Lumps and bumps on the skin are the most noticeable sign of CLA, but not every infected animal has them, so it is vital to blood test flocks to check for its presence. SRUC urges farmer to do this, and particularly if they are planning to see rams this autumn. Anyone who buys in stock this winter is also encouraged to test animals again when the get them home. For information on CLA you can contact Ian Pritchard, SRUC’s Sheep and Goat Health Schemes Manager, on 01467 625385, 07970 691726 or ian.pritchard@sac.co.uk.

SCHMALLENBERG MEETING IN NORTHERN IRELAND: Parklands Veterinary Group has invited NSA NI members to a meeting this coming Thursday (20th June) at Glenavon House Hotel, Cookstown at 7.45pm. The free meeting is an ‘information event’ on Schmallenberg organised as a result of the virus being found on more farms in Northern Ireland and the vaccine becoming available. More information from Parklands on Veterinary Group on 02886 765765.

HELP WITH WORMER PROGRAMMES AND FAECAL EGG COUNTS ON OFFER IN WALES: Farming Connect is inviting Welsh Farmers to contact them if they would like to participate in faecal egg count (FEC) workshops in the near future, where local vets will provide the latest information on parasites and set up monitoring programmes for the summer. A similar programme ran last year, where Farmers Connect organised workshops and encouraged farmers to test dung samples (offering subsidised testing). Fenton Farm Vets of Pembrokeshire were one practice to participate, and vet Kristy Syer says: “Results were very varied reflecting differences in the level of worm challenge on each farm. Several farmers were able to treat lambs less frequently than usual, but in a year when it was easy to blame poor grazing for poor growth and scouring lambs, some farms discovered lambs had severe worm burdens and likely worm resistance to some products.” To express interest in the 2013 programme, contact Lisa Pughe at Menter a Busnes on 01970 636565 or lisa.pughe@menterabusnes.co.uk.

MOREDUN MAKES MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH IN THE WAR AGAINST WORMS: The latest step in the Moredun Research Institute’s to create a commercially available vaccine to protect sheep from worms see the publication of a report in the leading scientific journal Vaccine. The paper reports the most successful attempt yet to protect animals against worms, using a laboratory produced vaccine, giving hope for a sustainable control strategy that does not rely on drugs.

NSA NORTH SHEEP WINNER: Robert Cloughton of Browna Paddocks, Leyburn, was the winner of a bottle of whiskey in the Dalesbred Sheep Breeders Association’s ‘Guess the Weight’ competition at NSA North Sheep. He made the closest guess that the Dalesmule ewe and two cross-bred lambs on the stand weighed 180kg. The Dalesbreds donated all the money from the competition to Parkinson’s UK. Ellen Gibson, Dalesbred Sheep Breeders Association Secretary, says: “We had a successful day at the Dalesbred sheep stand and would like to sincerely thank the hosts J.M. Wilson and Sons for providing an excellent showcase for the Dalesbred breed.”


  • 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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