NSA Weekly Update 9th May 2014

By Suffolk Sheep Society 14th May, 2014

All the latest news from National Sheep Association

NSA Members' Weekly Email Update
Friday 9th May 2014

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NEW LEGAL HELPLINE ON OFFER FOR NSA MEMBERS: NSA is delighted to offer a new legal helpline for members, at no extra cost over the existing membership fee. You can call Clarke Willmott LPP, a national law firm, for up to 30 minutes of free advice on the telephone, after which you can instruct them to take further action if appropriate or use an alternative company. When you call the hotline number of 08719 193505 and give your NSA membership number you will be directed to the best person to deal with the enquiry in Clarke Wilmott’s agricultural team. There is no limit to the number of times you can use the service, so you can access additional 30-minutes sessions if you have more than one legal issue over a year, but you must have your NSA membership number to hand.
STUN/NON STUN DEBATE CONTINUES: Following another All Party Parliamentary Group debate on this subject, the media focused heavily on halal and stun/non-stun slaughter yesterday and today (Thursday 8th and Friday 9th May). Phil Stocker, NSA Chief Executive, says: “One of the most disturbing things is how radio phone-in programmes  give a voice to callers irrespective of whether the information they give is right or wrong, and I’m sure many people will have got the impression over the last couple of days that if it’s halal it’s not pre-stunned – this is very wrong. New Zealand lamb attracted a lot of attention but we know the vast majority of lamb from NZ is to halal standards and is also pre-stunned, giving the best possible welfare at point of death. NZ processors do this so they have the widest access to all the markets they supply, and this is no different from our main processors here in the UK. While I can accept the value of giving maximum information to the consumer this somehow also needs to be backed up with accurate and realistic knowledge and the contentious issue here for most of the public is not whether it’s halal accredited or not, it’s whether its pre stunned or not. Defra has made it clear that the Government does not intend to take away the rights of religious communities, so non-stun slaughter will continue, but the derogation to the slaughter regulation is to allow for where this demand exists and as far as possible should be limited.” Read the NSA press statement here.
TWO DOZEN BREEDS REPRESENTED AT NSA FORUM: NSA’s annual event for sheep breed societies attracted a very healthy audience, with 50 attendees representing 24 breed societies. The event focused on the need for pedigree breeders to meet the demands of the commercial farmer and a full report can be read here. Pictured below pedigree breeders Dai Morris (far left), Margaret Lawrence (centre) and Tim Tyne (far right) with commercial farmers Sion Jones (left) and Martin Greenfield (right) – they all provided case studies of the working relationship between breeders and producers. A separate summary report has also been sent to all NSA affiliated breed societies.

LOTS OF AGENDA ITEMS FOR NSA BOARD MEETING: This Wednesday (7th May) saw the NSA Board of Trustees met at the Sheep Centre, Malvern, for the second of its meetings in 2014. Phil Stocker, NSA Chief Executive, explains the set-up here: “This body of men and women are Trustees and Directors of the Charitable Company of the NSA so oversee the governance of the association as well as giving guidance on more practical sheep farming matters.  The Board is supported by a Finance and General Purposes Committee and a UK Policy and Technical Committee in respective financial and HR, and policy and technical matters – it may sound complicated but it gives a sound base to the NSA and works really well in practice This week’s meeting included subjects as broad as ensuring that the association is optimising the use of our resources, including our HQ site at Malvern and our financial reserves, planning for our annual report and this year’s AGM, and also discussing our three main events for 2014; NSA Scot Sheep in Berwickshire on Wednesday 4th June, NSA South Sheep on Saturday 28th June, and NSA Sheep 2014 at Malvern on Wednesday 30th July.  Suffice to say our Trustees went home looking more tired than they arrived!”

LATEST ON MOVEMENT REPORTING IN ENGLAND: The new ARAMs movement reporting system is now just over a month into operation and although there were introductory hiccups we can report that (whatever is said in the farming press) that Defra and SouthWestern (the company operating ARAMs) are working hard, taking guidance from industry bodies including NSA, to make rapid improvements so the system operates effectively for the industry.  One of the first teething problems was that the list of CPH registered for sheep, provided by AHVLA to SouthWestern, clearly didn’t cover all the holdings actually keeping sheep. Phil Stocker, NSA Chief Executive, says: “We have been urging sheep farmers to check with AHVLA that all their holdings are properly registered, which has definitely helped, but AHVLA and SouthWestern also took this on board and on Wednesday night this week the ARAMs system was closed overnight to allow all CPHs registered for any species to be loaded into their system – simply allowing recognition when sheep farmers try to register.  There are now over 2,250 farmers with electronic accounts registered with ARAMs, around 7% of sheep keepers in England, and with many of the hiccups now being overcome and more numbers of sheep starting to move we would expect many more to register over the coming months. Of course paper moves from farms are still perfectly permissible and while ARAMs is still accepting the old ALMS forms, the new ARAMs movement forms should be being used and can be downloaded and printed from their website and should also be available from markets and abattoirs.”
FINAL REMINDER! This is your final reminder ahout the NSA Sheep Event video competition (with a prize fund of £700), as entries close on Friday 16th May. Click here for more details.

NSA WEEKLY EMAIL UPDATE ADVERT (more content below):-


EBLEX REPORT LINKS LAMBING BCS WITH WEANING WEIGHTS: An Eblex report has linked ewe body condition score (BCS) at lambing with lamb weaning weights. The study shows that for every one unit increase in a ewe’s BCS at lambing (up to BCS 3.5) her lambs would each weigh 1.5kg more at weaning. This pattern highlights the benefit of targeting optimum BCS at lambing, as thinner and fatter ewes are vulnerable to other problems too. Ewe BCS at eight weeks post lambing and the change in BCS from lambing showed no effect on lamb weaning weights. Nerys Wright of Eblex says: “Ewes with greater fat reserves are better placed to meet the milk production demands of lambs when diet is deficient by mobilising body fat. Thinner ewes are likely to struggle when the energy is deficient, because they have less body fat to mobilise. The rate a ewe mobilises body fat to meet requirements during lactation can affect her performance in the next tupping season. Ewes which are thin at weaning will require additional time and supplementary feed to achieve the optimum BCS for tupping.” Target scores for different types of ewe can be found in the EBLEX BRP publications Target Ewe Management for Better Returns and Improving Ewe Nutrition for Better Returns.
DON’T GET CARELESS OVER LIVER FLUKE: SAC Consulting has put out a warning this week following concerns that sheep farmers are getting careless about liver fluke because it did not hit the headlines as much this winter as last. Heather Stevenson, SAC Consultant, says: “The very welcome drier summer of 2013 put the brakes on fluke development. There were fewer wet areas for the mud snail that hosts the fluke during part of its life cycle and this in turn meant there were fewer numbers of infectious cysts on the autumn grass for sheep to ingest. In addition the increased awareness of fluke encouraged farmers to treat their stock for fluke and reduced losses. But if it rains a lot this summer fluke eggs passed in dung at this time of year will end up as infectious cysts on the autumn grazing. Since the weather can’t be accurately predicted it is better to be safe than sorry and the May/June period is a good time to treat sheep in order to break the fluke cycle.” Remember, treatment is specific to your farm so consult your vet or animal health advisor first and pick a product that is suitable for the time of year. More information at www.scops.org.uk. And read the latest instalment from ‘George’s Journal’/the Scottish Fluke Action Group here.
FLYSTRIKE WARNING: A couple of NSA members have already reported cases of flystrike, due to the wet and warm weather. The forecast is damp again for many places this weekend so many flocks will see an increased threat.
SEE YOU AT BALMORAL SHOW: If you’re at Balmoral Show this week (Wednesday 14th to Friday 16th May) call in to the NSA Sheep Centre, featuring trade stands from NSA, breed societies and commercial companies. It’s located next to the sheep judging rings.
EXCELLENT FARM TOURS AVAILABLE FOR SCOT SHEEP VISITORS: Visitors to NSA Scot Sheep 2014 will have the chance to look around host farm Quixwood and ask questions about its stratified closed flock system. A 45-minute guided tour will be running on the day of the event, taking in soil condition demonstrations by SRUC and display areas of different grass species courtesy of Watson Seeds. Quixwood is farmed by John Macfarlane and his son Ian, who run 1,500 ewes over its 2,500 acres. The farm policy is focused on minimising feed imports through the use of home grown feed. The Macfarlanes produce their own Mules to put to Texel tups, and breed their progeny with Suffolk rams to get slaughter lambs. Iain Macfarlane says “We are planning to take this policy one stage further by breeding our own replacement Blackface ewes in the future”. Find more information about Quixwood Farm and NSA Scot Sheep here

CALLING ALL YOUNG SHEPHERDS: It’s no too late to enter the NSA Marches Region Young Shepherd of the Year competition on Saturday 7th June. Under 27s can compete for a £600 prize fund. Click here for an entry form.
TWO FARM WALKS AT EASY CARE OPEN DAY: The Easy Care Sheep Society is inviting NSA members to its annual open day and farm visits at Abbey St Bathans, Dunns, Scottish Borders, TD11 3TX on Friday 6th June. The event will start at the village hall at 11am and tour the farms of Charley and Andrea Walker (1,000 Easy Care ewes and 65 Welsh Black sucklers) and Duncan and Laura Shell (2,000 Easy Care ewes and 150 Angus cattle) before returning to the village hall for tea and discussion. There will also be an annual dinner that evening in Berwick-on-Tweed. Contact Iolo Owen if you wish to attend – 01289 331133 or info@easycaresheep.org.uk. [Please note NSA Scot Sheep is in a similar area on Wednesday 4th June – consider combining the two events if you’re travelling long distances!]
ONE SHEEP FARM WALK AND FIVE RUSH CONTROL EVENTS IN WALES: Farming Connect demonstration farmers Richard Rogers is opening his farm gates on Anglesey on Thursday 15th May and inviting sheep farmer Neil Perkins (who also farms on the Welsh coastline but almost as far south from Anglesey as possible!) to look at his sheep management systems. Click here for information and booking instructions. Farming Connect is also running five events looking at rush management options on Monday 19th, Tuesday 20th and Wednesday 21st May. Click here for times and locations.
12-MONTH PLACEMENT WANTED: Liberty Turner (17) is looking for a 12-month middle year placement to start in September, as part of her level 3 extended diploma in agriculture at Reaseheath College. Liberty comes from a farming background of commercial and pedigree sheep and beef and is very interested in the sheep side. She has started her own pedigree Texel flock. Liberty says she is hardworking, full of enthusiasm and willing to take on any kind of work. Contact her on 07958 485327 or liblob.lt@googlemail.com.

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



  • 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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