NSA Members Weekly Update

By Suffolk Sheep Society 23rd April, 2014

For Thursday 17th April 2014

NSA Members' Weekly Email Update
Thursday 17th April 2014

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HAPPY EASTER:NSA wishes all our members a very Happy Easter with lots of healthy and fast-growing spring lambs around the farm! Please note NSA Head Office is shut on both Bank Holidays (Friday 18th April and Monday 21st April) and also on Tuesday 22nd April for essential maintenance work. During this time the phones will not be answered but please leave a message and we will respond as soon as possible.
30% OF LAMB TAKEAWAYS AREN’T LAMB! Recent random sampling by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has found that 43 out of 145 lamb takeaways (mostly kebabs and curries) were beef, chicken or turkey instead of lamb. No horsemeat was found. The FSA has asked local authorities to test 300 samples of lamb from takeaways from the beginning of May, with the threat of a £5,000 fine for takeaway owners who are found to be mislabelling food. NSA Chief Executive Phil Stocker made this statement to the press: “We are really disappointed that this is still going on and lessons haven’t been learnt from the horsemeat scandal. Transparency and honest labelling that people can trust is absolutely essential and NSA is pleased the FSA and local authorities will be is taking additional action to stamp out malpractice. Sheep farmers work exceptionally hard to do the job right and turn out a high quality and traceable product; they are subject to strict animal identification laws and onerous inspection regimes, and many voluntarily participate in additional assurance schemes too. This news is a slap in the face to a sheep sector that puts in so much effort. We have been let down by individuals further up the food chain who are not showing respect for the honesty, traceability and high value of the work sheep farmers do.”
INCOMPLETE CPH LIST CAUSING ENGLISH DATABASE PROBLEMS: More information about the problems experienced by English farmers trying to use the new ARAMS system has been provided following an emergency teleconference between Defra and stakeholders on Monday (14th April). It appears that a lot of sheep farmers who have registered holdings with RPA/AHVLA have never been registered as sheep farms, so the list of sheep holdings passed to SouthWestern (the ARAMS database provider) was incomplete and explains why the database does not recognise CPH numbers entered by farmers trying to register. Defra is in the process of giving a full list of all livestock holdings to SouthWestern, but NSA has been given to understand that this will not be instant. In the meantime, anyone wishing to register with the system may wish to call their local AHVLA office first, to check their holding is registered for sheep. People using the SouthWestern helpline (08445 730137) may be interested to know what the average time taken to answer is 4-8 seconds, with the maximum being 15-18 seconds. SouthWestern says a lot of people are ringing off after nine seconds if not answered; they are looking at putting in a queuing system but in the meantime ask that you ring for up to 20 seconds if needed.
NEW NUMBER FOR FARM ADVICE SERVICE: The Farm Advice Service, which helps farmers with sheep identification and movement rules amongst other cross compliance issues, has a new telephone number – 03453 451302. The email address advice@farmingadviceservice.org.uk remains unchanged.
NEW NSA CYMRU CHAIRMAN HITS A BUSY PATCH: Yesterday (Wednesday 17th April) at the Royal Welsh Showground, Paul Wozencraft chaired his first meeting as NSA Cymru/Wales Chairman. NSA Chief Executive Phil Stocker reports: “What a time for Paul to come to the job, with consultations responses on Glastir and RDP just having been submitted and similar work on sheep EID and movements reporting, plus the Welsh animal health framework, due over the forthcoming weeks. Paul is keen to push forward with the ANC approach in Wales, to provide support and recognition in particular for those sheep farmers in the upland/constrained areas. The meeting also paid tribute to committee member and NSA Trustee Margaret Dalton who was recently jointly awarded the George Hedley award for outstanding contribution to the sheep industry.”
THIRD AND FINAL YEAR FOR GWYNNE AS RAM SALE CHIEF: Also on Wednesday, the NSA Wales and Borders Ram sale held its committee meeting and AGM. Gwynne Davies was re-elected into his third and final year as Chairman, with John Owens continuing as Vice Chairman and Jeff Chilman as Treasurer.  As the UK’s premier ram sale offering the cream of the ram crop, the committee are looking forward to another two successful of sales in 2014 – make sure you have Monday 4th August and Monday 22nd September in your diary. Dates of the South West and Eastern ram sales are in the NSA diary below.
ENTER NOW FOR NSA MARCHES REGION YOUNG SHEPHERD OF THE YEAR: Entry forms are now available for the NSA Marches Region Young Shepherd of the Year Competition on Saturday 7th June at Upleadon Court, Newent, Gloucestershire, GL18 1EG, by kind invitation of Henry and Carol Dunn and family. There is a prize fund of £600 for the competition, with the top two competitors also qualifying for the national final at the NSA Sheep Event in July. Upleadon Court, which is a family-run mixed farm and home to the Mayhill Lamb Producer Group, will be open for the duration of the competition (11am-4.30pm) and all are welcome (NSA members and non-members alike) to call in and look around. There will be demonstrations and trade stands there all day. Click here for information and entry forms.
GET YOUR VIDEO CAMERAS OUT OVER THE EASTER BREAK! With good weather forecast over the Easter holidays, NSA hopes members will be making the most of it and collecting video footage for the NSA Sheep Event Video competition. You do not need to be a skilled videographer or even have a video camera to enter, as you can use your mobile phone (set to a high quality setting) and also submit unedited footage. The competition is run in conjunction with Farmers Guardian, the Sheep Event media partner, who will professionally edit the eight shortlisted finalists ahead of a big online cote to find the winner. Find out more here and remember the deadline for entries is Friday 16th May.
SAD PASSING: It is with great sadness that NSA reports the passing of Philip Bolam, a former NSA President (1982-1994) and ardent supporter of this organisation over many years. Philip was hugely passionate about the NSA and remained in regular contact and abreast of activity right up until his death on 12th April 2014. Click here for a remembrance of Philip from former NSA Chief Executive John Thorley.
NEMATODIRUS WARNING MAP NOW ONLINE: The nematodirus warning map is now on the SCOPS website at www.scops.org.uk. It shows southern England, East and West Midlands and the whole as Wales as being on red alert, with Northern Ireland expected to turn red within a few days. Updates on Northern England and Scotland will be posted regularly so keep an eye on the website.
POTASH AS IMPORTANT TO GRASS AS NITROGEN: The latest newsletter from Eblex’s Grazing Club includes some words of wisdom on potash from grassland agronomist Phil Torr. He provides this potash tips:-

  • The main role of potash (K) is to regulate cell water content, but is also essential for plant enzymes to work and energy metabolism.
  • Most soils contain native potash which is unavailable for crop uptake, accounting for up to 90% of all soil K.
  • Retention of available potash in soil depends on its clay content. Soils with high content (more than 20%) can maintain 300-400mg/l but lighter soils (around 5% clay) can retain only 100 mg/l.
  • Frequent applications of FYM will help build higher soil potash in lighter soils, as it helps it to increase its cation exchange capacity (CEC).
  • In good potash-releasing soils, 30-50kg of K/ha/year are released, but they may not have high enough CEC to retain it.
  • A ‘little and often’ application of K is required to optimise yield.
  • Potash should be regarded as important a nutrient as nitrogen.

To join the Eblex Grazing Club contact Dr Liz Genever on liz.genever@eblex.ahdb.org.uk.
APPLICATIONS OPEN FOR HCC LIVESTOCK SCHOLARSHIP: Hybu Cig Cymru is seeking applicants for its livestock scholarship. Successful entrants will receive £3,500 to fund four to six weeks of research abroad, and will become members of the HCC Scholarship Association of past winners. Scholars can choose their study and can undertake it anywhere in the world, as long as it remains relevant to Welsh agriculture. HCC are looking for passionate individuals working in Wales’ red meat industry. The deadline for applications is 20th June 2014. Find more information and the application form here.
Society has provided an honorarium to two students at Bridgwater College, Somerset, studying the performance of the breed within the college’s 200-ewe flock, half of which are Llanwenogs. Students Zac Gratton and David Curryer (second and third from the left in the picture) have benefited from the honorarium (the Trevor Kelland Memorial Bursary), plus advice from society members in setting up their investigative project, the results of which will be made available as independent evidence of the breeds’ performance.
ADDITIONAL SERVICES ON OFFER FROM TWO NSA GOLD SPONSORS: Tornado Wire has created a new online fencing forum - www.farmfencetalk.co.uk – to provide practical tips from experts and allow farmers and landowners to pose questions to professional fencing contractors, view fencing contractors’ profiles and contact contractors privately. Users will also be able to post details of fencing jobs to request help, view photos of contractors’ work, access Tornado Wire’s practical videos and keep up to date with the latest fencing news.
And Suzuki is offering a courtesy ATV scheme aimed to keep farmers on the move. Owners of any make or model of ATV can access a new Suzuki ATV whilst theirs is in for service or repair. George Cheeseman, Suzuki ATV Sales and Marketing Manager, says: “It’s great to be able to help farmers with our courtesy ATV scheme. We appreciate just how busy our customers are and how much they rely on their ATVs, so keeping them going whilst their machine is at a participating Suzuki Dealership is just our way of helping to keep their business running smoothly.” Details at www.suzuki-atv.co.uk.
SEVEN’S A CROWD?! Thank you to NSA member Clem Somerset who sent in this picture of a set of septuplets. Born last Saturday night, the seven Aberfield-sired lambs are still with their Romney mother, either feeding off her or from a bucket. Clem says they’re definitely all out of the same ewe: “They could not have been a mix up at birth, as she was the only ewe in the pen at the time! She cleaned them all up and got them going herself.”
EASTER OFFERING OF LAMB, DAFFODILS, RABBITS AND CHOCOLATE: Channel 4’s Food Unwrapped series is running an Easter special this Sunday (20th April) featuring all the stereotypical Easter treats of roast lamb, daffodils, rabbits and chocolate. The programme’s producers contacted NSA regarding our message that UK lambs should be stocked by retailers all year round, so we hope it will carry a positive for the sheep sector.
MEXICAN SCAM REARS IT UGLY HEAD AGAIN: A scam originating from Mexico, which has been doing the rounds for several years, has been spotted again. If you receive a letter offering you an advert in an ‘Exhibitors Directory for Fairs and Exhibitions’ please destroy it, as replying will result in a bill heading your way for €1,271. The document will list the NSA Sheep Event (or a number of other UK agricultural events) but does not carry any NSA logo, branding or the NSA charity number. You can tell the communication is not genuine if the address in small print at the bottom of the page is based in Mexico. If in doubt please do not hesitate to contact NSA Head Office.
SITUATION WANTED: Ashley Puffet (24), who currently runs a small holding of sheep and pigs, is looking for full-time work on a sheep farm. He lives at Hungerford, Wiltshire, but is willing to relocate if required. Ashley has done some tractor driving for a local farm and is a fully qualified forklift technician; he has a diploma and two NVQs in vehicle maintenance and repair and holds a full driving and motorcycle licenses. Ashley would prefer to be contacted by telephone on 07917 291908, but you can email him at apuffett1@gmail.com.

NSA WEEKLY EMAIL UPDATE ADVERT (diary of events below):-



  • THURSDAY 8TH MAY: NSA BREED SOCIETY FORUM:Open to all NSA-affiliated breed societies and association at Hafod a Hendre on the Royal Welsh Agricutural Showground. Click here for an agenda and email joanne@nationalsheep.org.uk for enquiries and bookings.
  • WEDNESDAY 14TH - FRIDAY 16TH MAY: NSA SHEEP CENTRE AT BALMORAL SHOW: Come and see us at the show and visit the Sheep Centre marquee packed full of breed society and trade stands. To exhibit contact Edward Adamson on 07711 071290 or edward.adamson1@gmail.com.
  • MONDAY 26TH MAY: NSA NI SHEEPDOG SALE:Held in conjunction with Norbrook Closamectin in Ballymena Market.
  • SHEEP EVENT:WEDNESDAY 4TH JUNE 2014: NSA SCOT SHEEP: At the Berwickshire farm of Quixwood, Grantshouse, courtesy of the Macfarlane family. Click here for hogg show and sale entry forms and contact Euan Emslie for more information on 01430 441870 or euan@appliedremedies.co.uk.
  • SATURDAY 7TH JUNE: NSA MARCHES REGION YOUNG SHEPHERD OF THE YEAR COMPETITION AND OPEN DAY: 11am-4.30pm at Upleadon Court, Newent, Gloucestershire, GL18 1EG, by kind invitation of Henry and Carol Dunn and family. Young Shepherd of the Year open to competitors aged 26 and under, and open day open to all! Click here for more information and competition entry forms.
  • MONDAY 9TH JUNE: NSA MARCHES REGION COMMITTEE MEETING:7pm at the Lower House Farm, Cannon Frome, Ledbury, HR8 2TG. All NSA Marches Region members are welcome, not just committee members.
  • WEDNESDAY 11TH JUNE: NSA EASTERN REGION FARM WALK: At Ickworth Park, Horringer, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, by invitation of Paul Seabrook.
  • THURSDAY 19TH JUNE - SUNDAY 22ND JUNE: NSA SHEEP CENTRE AT THE ROYAL HIGHLAND SHOW: Come and see us at the show and visit the Sheep Centre marquee packed full of breed society and trade stands. To exhibit contact Euan Emslie on 01430 441870 or euan@appliedremedies.co.uk.
  • MONDAY 21ST JULY – THURSDAY 24TH JULY: NSA SHEEP CENTRE AT THE ROYAL WELSH SHOW: Come and see us at the show and visit the Sheep Centre packed full of breed society and trade stands. To exhibit contact Helen Davies on 01938 590535, 07976 803066 or helen@nationalsheep.org.uk.
  • SHEEP EVENT: SATURDAY 28TH JUNE: NSA SOUTH SHEEP: Blackcap Farm, Firle, Lewes, East Sussex, by kind permission of Tony Monnington and family. Full details at www.southsheep.org.uk; book onto a bus trip from your local market with Bob Blanden on 01666 860308 or bob@nationalsheep.org.uk.
  • SHEEP EVENT:WEDNESDAY 30TH JULY 2014:NSA SHEEP EVENT: The Three Counties Showground, Malvern, Worcestershire. Full details at www.sheepevent.org.uk and enquires to Helen Davies on 01938 590535, 07976 803066 or helen@nationalsheep.org.uk.
  • MONDAY 4TH AUGUST: NSA WALES & BORDER EARLY RAM SALE: Royal Welsh Showground. Contact Jane Smith on 01291 673939 or jane@nsaramsales.co.uk.
  • WEDNESDAY 20TH AUGUST: NSA SOUTH WEST REGION RAM SALE: Exeter Livestock Centre. Contact Sue Martyn on 01409 271385, 07967 512660 or suem@nationalsheep.org.uk.
  • FRIDAY 22ND AUGUST: NSA EASTERN REGION RAM SALE:Rugby Farmers Market. Contact Jonathan Barber on 01953 607860 or carroll@ceressolutions.co.uk.
  • MONDAY 1ST SEPTEMBER: NSA MARCHES REGION COMMITTEE MEETING:7pm at the Lower House Farm, Cannon Frome, Ledbury, HR8 2TG. All NSA Marches Region members are welcome, not just committee members.
  • FRIDAY 19TH SEPTEMBER: NSA EASTERN REGION RAM SALE: Melton Mowbray Market. Contact Jonathan Barber on 01953 607860 or carroll@ceressolutions.co.uk.
  • MONDAY 22ND SEPTEMBER: NSA WALES & BORDER MAIN RAM SALE: Royal Welsh Showground. Contact Jane Smith on 01291 673939 or jane@nsaramsales.co.uk.
  • WEDNESDAY 26TH NOVEMBER: SHEEP HEALTH AND WELFARE CONFERENCE: At Yarnfield Park Conference Centre, Yarnfield, Stone, Staffordshire, ST15 0NL. Booking accepted soon at www.nationalsheep.org.uk/shawg.
  • MONDAY 8TH DECEMBER: NSA MARCHES REGION COMMITTEE MEETING:7pm at the Lower House Farm, Cannon Frome, Ledbury, HR8 2TG. All NSA Marches Region members are welcome, not just committee members.


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