Schmallenberg virus has certainly affected our region.
Schmallenberg virus has certainly affected our region. It has been terrible for those individuals who have experienced the appalling problems the infection can cause at lambing time. You all have our sympathies, but much more than that, I am afraid it is watch and wait. At the time of writing the disease has been reported on 243 holding in England of which 215 were in sheep. It is expected that we will continue to see cases in cattle, with the incidence in sheep hopefully drawing to an end.
The concerns over lack of water have lessened in the last few days as there has been a little rain. This has turned the grass and arable fields into more spring-like green growth, but the ground water levels are still perilously low.
New season lamb prices prior to Easter were good and are continuing at the same level, which helps cover costs and leave a reasonable margin. 20kg lambs have averaged £112 locally, so far.
We had a very good meeting with Jim Paice, our Minister of Agriculture at Darley Stud, by kind invitation of Liam O’Rourke and Dan Phipps. Jim was keen to hear first hand from members who had experienced Schmallenberg in their flocks and what the effects had been. We were pleased to have a positive, open discussion with Jim on many issues affecting our sector, certainly which not all were negative! The hospitality at Darley is second to none and our thanks to Liam and Dan and the team at Darley for hosting the meeting.
Our congratulations go to Charles Sercombe on being elected National Chairman of the NFU Livestock Board. Charles is an NSA member, who actually lives outside our region but is on our Eastern Region Ram Sale committee and a long standing friend. Charles’s hard work and dedication to the sheep sector, through NSA and NFU, sheep breed societies and many organisations, puts him in a great position to understand the good, the bad and the ugly and what needs to happen. Good luck Charles – you have a lot of friends supporting you.