NSA Weekly Update 16th May 14

By Suffolk Sheep Society 19th May, 2014

Latest news from National Sheep Assoc.

NSA Members' Weekly Email Update
Friday 16th May 2014

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NSA SPEAKS AT UPLANDS CONFERENCE:NSA Chief Executive Phil Stocker spoke at the Uplands Conference on Wednesday, a two-day event on 14th and 15th May organised by the National Centre for the Uplands at Newton Rigg College, Cumbria. Over 100 delegates attended and the programme was broad enough to cover, in addition to sheep and farming activities, English and Scottish policy direction relating to the uplands, shooting activities, education, the National Trust’s vision for the uplands, peat restoration and afforestation. As you would expect, there was much debate (and much agreement) on the need for more ‘triple bottom line accounting’ in all upland land management. Phil reports: “This was a worthwhile conference bringing together various interest groups to discuss optimising the balance of environmental, production, economic and social outcomes from upland activities. Interestingly there was little reference to sheep being a problem in any way and it appeared that the tide has turned in terms of the majority accepting the fundamental and beneficial role of traditional upland farming. One of the most significant pieces of information that was shared was that the only peer reviewed research that has been done on the impact of grazing on upland ecology provides no evidence at all to support cuts in sheep numbers on unimproved pastures, rough grazings and heather hills. The research shows diversity in swards is beneficial and that there are always trade-offs between species. This gives real credence to the argument that if we allow upland farmers to get on with what they know best, to farm in a sensitive and traditional manner, the outcome will be healthy wildlife as a natural by-product. Managing wildlife by prescription, and reductionist research that doesn’t explore the whole picture, is not the answer.”
DO YOU KNOW YOUR DINMONT FROM A THRUNTER?! NSA is supporting the Foundation for Common Land in an attempt to document all the regional variations for sheep terminology that exist in different areas. The information will be used to inform organisations who engage with farmers (particularly in the uplands) of particular regional language. This initial survey is a pilot for England, with the intention to invite inputs from Scotland and Wales to extend coverage across the hills and uplands of Britain. Complete the survey at www.surveymonkey/sheepdialect.
AHWBE CELEBRATIONS SECOND BIRTHDAY: The Animal Health and Welfare Board for England (AHWBE) marked its second anniversary with a joint AGM and stakeholders workshop in London today (Friday 16th May). AHWBE continues to be unique within Government as the only board that includes both senior civil servants and appointed directors with a direct responsibility to advise and communicate with Ministers. AHWBE commitments included continuing to increase its communication with stakeholders and seeking ways of working in partnership and collaboration. Phil Stocker, NSA Chief Executive, reports: “NSA has made a point of speaking with AHWBE and this has been reciprocated by them attending several of our various committee meetings and listening to our priorities. Today’s meeting again gave the opportunity to make the case for a serious redistribution of Pillar Two CAP funds to be used to support better health disease and parasite management. With the treasury continuing to wield the axe on public sector funding, we should be more imaginative in how we make better use of CAP and make sure that funds are increasingly used to support productive, resource efficient farming that also provides a better environment.” Another topic of interest at the meeting included the opportunities to improve efficiency if Government departments working in a more cross cutting way, for instance Defra and the Department of Health.
STRONG NSA REGIONAL ACTIVITY: A meeting of NSA regional managers and secretaries yesterday (Thursday 16th May) at the NSA Sheep Centre revealed the strength of the NSA regions and the quality of activity being planned for members. The meeting allowed regions to share different ideas and optimise links with NSA Head Office, ensuring a huge amount if achieved by NSA with minimal resources or funding. The meeting discussed the three NSA sheep events this summer and also upcoming regional activity – see diary at the bottom of the page for full details:-

  • NSA Northern Ireland sheepdog sale a week on Monday (26th May)
  • NSA Central Region committee meeting on Wednesday 28th May
  • NSA Marches Region committee meeting on Monday 9th June
  • NSA Eastern Region farm walk on Wednesday 11th June
  • NSA South West Region farm walk on Tuesday 8th July


MORE THAN 40,000 SHEEP MOVEMENTS REGISTERED WITH ARAMS: Defra and stakeholders groups are continuing to have a weekly teleconference to keep up to date on developments with the new English sheep movements database, ARAMS. On Wednesday (14th May) Defra reported that uploading a whole list of CPH numbers to ARAMS (not just those registered for sheep) last week appears to have solved most of the problems that were being experienced by both farmers trying to register an account and SouthWestern staff trying in input paper movements. This is because a lot of CPH held by sheep farmers were not recognised by Defra/RPA/AHVLA as sheep holdings. Now ARAMS recognises every single CPH number a process will have to begin of working out which CPHs are for sheep, cattle and/or pigs. SouthWestern will facilitate this by informing Defra which CPH numbers are being used on ARAMS that Defra did not previously know were sheep holdings. SouthWestern will also begin contacting farmers who tried and failed to register an ARAMS account because their CPH number was not on the list. In the meantime, Defra has confirmed that 41,881 sheep movements were recording with ARAMS between 1st April and 12th May, 28% electronically; 2,813 sheep farmers have registered an electronic account, 74 abattoirs, 33 markets, eight collection centres and one show. The free holding register for farmers with an electronic account is expected to be launched soon. NSA will keep members updated.
OPs DISCUSSED IN HOUSES OF COMMONS: NSA attended an All Party Parliamentary Group meeting about organophosphates on Wednesday (14th May) in the Houses of Commons. Andy Burnham MP hosted the event, supported by the Countess Marr, and listened to presentations from two leading toxicology scientists and various OP poisoning campaigners. He agreed to communicate with the Committee on Toxicology regarding their current report looking at the risk of low-level exposure to OPs. Joanne Briggs, NSA Communications Manager, says: “NSA recognises there are farmers who connect their ill health to OPs and urges members to use all veterinary products responsibility and effectively, especially when it comes to such a highly toxic compound as organophosphates. OP dips have a very important role in quarantine procedures and sheep scab control and it is highly regrettable that the only alternative products are injectable MLs, which can increase anthelmintic resistance if used inappropriately. We strongly support development of alternatives treatment options, particularly for sheep scab, and in meantime ask members to use the right product, at the right time, in the right way.” Information about quarantine treatments and anthelmintic resistance at www.scops.org.uk.

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


NO SBV SEEN DURING SCOTTISH LAMBING SEASON: SAC Consulting Veterinary Services, part of SRUC, say that despite several suspected Schmallenberg cases, veterinary investigation has not confirmed a single deformed lamb (or calf) reported in Scotland so far in 2014 was caused by the midge-borne disease. This does not mean the risk has disappeared and all sheep keepers, particularly those that lamb early or farm in high risk areas, should discuss vaccination strategies for late summer/autumn with their vet. Click here for the full SRUC story.
NEW VARIETIES ON THE 2014 RECOMMENDED GRASS AND CLOVER LISTS: The newly published 2014 Recommended Grass and Cover Lists feature seven new ryegrasses and a red clover. All grasses and clovers on the list have undergone at least six years of UK testing, with factors such as yield, feed quality, disease and persistence being assessed. Eblex livestock scientist Dr Liz Genever says: “The lists give details on the performance and characteristics of each variety, helping producers make informed decisions about which one best meets their needs. Selecting the appropriate variety to suit their purpose, whether that is to improve first cut conservation or grazing mid-season growth, will help producers maximise the productivity of their grassland.” The 2014 RGCL handbook, together with the full lists for merchants, are now available to download here. Hard copies of both booklets will be available from Eblex at technical events this summer, including Grassland and Muck, the Welsh Grassland Event, NSA South Sheep and NSA Sheep Event.
SURVEY OF EUROPEAN YOUNG FARMERS: The European Commission has launched a major study to identify the needs of young farmers and the main problems they face, their knowledge and training needs. The survey also reviews agricultural exchange schemes. Farmers under the age of 40 are asked to complete the survey here.
SHOW OFF YOUR STOCKJUDGING SKILLS AT NSA SHEEP EVENT: Visitors to NSA Sheep Event will have plenty of opportunity to show off their stockjudging skills. An open carcase classification competition, courtesy of ABP, will be run at the Eblex stand. Four lambs, suited for four different markets, will be marked with their weight and one half of their classification. Contestants will be asked to identify the missing classification and specify which lamb is the best match for the retail, export, domestic butcher and aalal markets. A top prize of £200 is up for grabs. Visitors who’d rather judge live lambs can donate £1 to RABI and enter the Texel Youth Development’s stockjudging challenge for the chance to win Ritchie Farm Implements lamb scales. Click here for the NSA Sheep Event website.
ANNUAL EBLEX EXPORT CONFERENCE ON 25TH JUNE: The annual Eblex export conference at Stoneleigh Park, held this year on Wednesday 25th June, has an excellent line up of speakers, including Food and Farming Minister George Eustice and Victoria Santini, Head of Asia for the Institute of Grocery Distribution. The event is free to attend for English levy payers – register with Claire Sayers-Smith on 02476 478820 or claire.sayers-smith@eblex.org.uk. Full event programme here.
SHEEP IDENTIFICATION EVENTS IN YORKSHIRE: Yorkshire Farmers Livestock Marketing has arranged two free events looking at sheep identification and movement reporting and recording. NSA members are invited to Bishop Burton College, Beverley, HU17 8QG, on Tuesday 10th June, or The Crown, Horsefair, Boroughbridge, YO51 9LB, on Wednesday 11th June, both from 6-9pm. Please register your attendance with Lizzie Jennings on 01653 697941 or lizzie@yorkshirefarmers.co.uk before 31st May.
HUNGARIAN FAMILY LOOKING FOR WORKING HOLIDAY: Endre Nagy, his wife and two children are looking for a one-week (possibly more) farmstay holiday this summer, where they would live with a farming family and work with them each day. They are willing to pay for the opportunity and are particularly interested in finding a family in Scotland or Wales. Endre has worked in the pig and poultry processing sectors for many years and also owns a bit of land for growing arable crops, but none of the family have any experience of UK livestock farms and are very keen to experience it first-hand. Endre speaks reasonably good English and his children (a 12-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter) are learning. He has a driving licence and is willing to hire or borrow a car to move the family around. Contact Endre on endre.nagy.hu@gmail.com.

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



  • MONDAY 26TH MAY: NSA NI SHEEPDOG SALE:Held in conjunction with Norbrook Closamectin in Ballymena Market. Click here for details.
  • WEDNESDAY 28TH MAY: NSA CENTRAL REGION COMMITTEE MEETING: To be held at the Travellers, Brough, in the Hope Valley, Derbyshire, S33 9HG (which is at the intersection between the A6187 and the B6049) at 7.30pm for a 7.45pm start. Meeting open to all NSA Central Region members, not just committee members; click here for an agenda.
  • 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; 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • TUESDAY 8TH JULY: NSA SOUTH WEST FARM WALK: 3pm at North Wyke Research Farm, Okehampton, Devon, EX20 2SB.
  • 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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