NSA Weekly Update 30th May 14

By Suffolk Sheep Society 2nd June, 2014

Keeping you informed

NSA Members' Weekly Email Update
Friday 30th May 2014

Is this email not displaying correctly?
View it in your browser.






ONLY FIVE DAYS TO NSA SCOT SHEEP! It’s set to be a brilliant day so don’t miss this spectacular event on Wednesday (4th June) at Quixwood, Duns, Berwickshire, TD11 3RS, by kind permission of the Macfarlane family. Those who come along will see eight pairs of top open shearers compete in an inter-regional sheep shearing contest (the biggest of its kind!) plus a Scotland versus England challenge between the winning team and a pair from across the border. Other attractions will include a large collection of trade stands and breed society stands, the NSA Young Shepherd of the Year Competition, a show and sale of ewe hoggs, farm tours, open stockjuding competition, sheepdog trial, crook making, sheep dressing and spinning demonstrations, presentation of the NSA Scottish Region Silver Salver and a full seminar programme. Everything you need to know is at www.scotsheep.org.uk, and you can download a farm tour guide here, telling you everything you need to know about the host family. Don’t forget your NSA membership card to get into the event for half price (only £6). One discounted entry per membership card.
CONTINUING ACTION ON TSEs: With the new MEPs now known after the election last week, NSA has written to all 73 of them to ask that one of their first priorities in the new parliament be to force the EU to re-evaluate the TSE rules and remove the need for carcase splitting. NSA members may remember the launch of the NSA TSE report in Sheep Farmer magazine earlier in the year, and this a continuation of that project. The report was sent to key figures within DG-SANCO and the European Food Safety Authority, who developed and informed the current TSE legislation, a few weeks ago, and has now been sent to MEPs to encourage them to lobby on the matter. The report makes it clear that no evidence has ever been found to link scrapie/TSEs to BSE or human health problems, yet we are saddled with a regulation that costs more than £23m per year through costs in auction markets where teeth have to be checked for, in abattoirs by slowing down the slaughter line to split carcases, and in processing facilities by devaluing the carcase because it is not whole. Phil Stocker, NSA Chief Executive, says: “£23m is an incredible amount of money to lose every year and does not even take into consideration the value of the export markets currently closed to the UK because of the negative connotations of us having TSE regulations in place – the presence of rules suggests the presence of disease when in fact the exact opposite is true. The UK voting public gave a very clear mandate at the European election to revisit the relationship between UK and Europe, and NSA strongly believes the reassessment of burdensome regulations such as those surrounding TSEs would go a long way towards removing the negative elements of our relationship with the EU. Many positive things come out of Europe, and UK sheep farmers would certainly not want to lose access to the single market, but we have to move away from a situation where regulations passed by European quickly become set in stone when it is vital they evolve as and when new evidence and science is developed, ensuring they are always based on risk and fact.”
The report has been endorsed by Patrick Wall, Associate Professor of Public Health in University College Dublin’s School of Public Health and Population Sciences, former Chief Executive of the Irish Food Safety Authority and former Chairman of the European Food Safety Authority. It is also supported by the Association of Independent Meat Suppliers (AIMS), Farmers Union of Wales (FUW), Livestock Auctioneers Association (LAA), National Beef Association (NBA), National Farmers Union (NFU), NFU Scotland, Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers (SAMW) and Ulster Farmers Union (UFU). Read a summary of the report and endorsement from other bodies here, or visit www.nationalsheep.org.uk/hot-topics for the full version of the report.
MARKET REQUIREMENTS HIGHLIGHTED AT ORGANIC LIVESTOCK EVENT: Yesterday (Thursday 29th May) saw Phil Stocker, NSA Chief Executive, join Nerys Wright of Eblex and others in a livestock marketing panel debate at a Soil Association-organised National Organic Livestock event in Gloucestershire.  The debate allowed Phil to raise the subject of TSEs and carcaes splitting, alongside delegate interest in allowing all abattoirs to kill cattle over 30 months of age, and collectively the panel managed to get across the need for farmers to understand their market and associated specifications and to make sure animals hit those specs. Phil reports: “Nerys pointed out that last year only 54% of lambs fell into the desired EUROP grid categories of EUR and fat class 2 and 3 and we all know that there are many overweight lambs where we often ‘give meat away’. Liz Stockdale, soil scientist from Newcastle University, talked extensively about the need for good soil management, and made the case that without healthy soil we would struggle to get productive and good quality grass and forage crops upon, which healthy and productive livestock production is based.  Liz spoke about the need to balance the physical, chemical and biological properties of soil and told delegates that within a jam jar of healthy soil there could be 10 kilometres (6 miles) of fungal hyphae and 10s of thousands of biological organisms – all living organisms that we rarely see.  This biological activity works to unlock nutrients into forms that are utilisable by plants, and as long as it is being fed will also improve soil and root structures.
“We also learnt that the organic retail market, although still small, is back into growth after several years of decline, with an overall increase of 3% value last year with meat, fish and poultry showing a 2.2% value increase.  More indicative of what is happening is that organic red meat sales through independent non supermarket outlets (farm shops, mail order, catering and specialist outlets) grew by 16% over the year – a trend that is being seen across the board.”
NSA UKP&T TACKLES THE BIG TOPICS: The NSA UK Policy and Technical Committee met on Wednesday this week (28th May 2014) in London, with representatives from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland looking at issues as diverse as disease surveillance and greening payments. There was real concern about whether the greening elements of future SFP claims would be paid at the same time as the main cheque or delayed, and this is a topic NSA will keep members updated on in the months to come.
SCOPS WARNING ON WORM AND FLUKE BURDENS: Wet conditions and warm temperatures are good for grass growth, but they also favour our old enemies stomach worms and liver fluke. To try and help you stay on top of this, NSA is working with SCOPS to provide NSA members with timely warnings and advice on actions through the season. Faecal egg counting is a very useful way to monitor worm burdens along with a check on growth rates and general health. Post drench egg counts are extremely 

valuable to indicate how effective the worming had been (even more so if a pre-treatment count was carried out).
SCOPS is also watching the situation with regard to liver fluke carefully because the conditions so far, coupled with the mild and very wet winter, has resulted in many liver fluke overwintering. This means stock may have been picking up large numbers of infective liver fluke since turnout and after 12 weeks will be putting eggs on the pasture in their dung, potentially storing up a huge challenge for the late summer and autumn. One option in high risk areas is to consider treating grazing animals with a product that kills adult egg-laying liver fluke NOW to reduce contamination for later. If you are in this situation please discuss product choice and testing options with your vet or adviser. Visit www.scops.org.uk or more detail and look out for more messages and guidance as the season progresses. 
TOP OF £1,010 AT NSA NI SHEEPDOG SALE: The NSA Northern Ireland Region sheepdog sale on Monday (26th May) was hit by heavy rain, making for difficult conditions for trainers to show off their dogs in; the sale even had to be stopped for a time until the rain eased. Despite this, top prices went to John Kinney, who received £1,010 for a three-year-old bitch, while John McKillop got £1,000 for a 14-month-old dog.

Generation Ambassador Group meet for the second time next week (Monday 2nd and Tuesday 3rd May) for a two-day session investigating the lamb supply chain. The trip will involve visits to Skipton Mart and a nearby farm (supported by the Livestock Auctioneers Association) and an abattoir live/dead day and supermarket visit (supported by Dunbia). Some of the ambassadors will then travel onwards to NSA Scot Sheep on Wednesday. Meet the Ambassadors here.

NSA NI MEMBERS MAKE THE MOST OF WELSH TRIP: A group of NSA members from Northern Ireland spent a few days in Wales last week on a sheep farming tour. They packed an incredible amount into the three days, including four farm walks and visits to Dunbia at Llanybydder, Innovis and the National Phenomics Centre. Edward Adamson, NSA NI Regional Development Officer, says: “After a hectic three days those on the trip returned home with a lot of information gained from all they had seen. Good management and production efficiency has to be the sheep farmers’ goal if they are to succeed and this visit to Wales certainly allowed all to see this in practice.” Click here for a full report of the visit.

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


NON-EU SHEEP MEAT EXPORTS HIT NEW HIGH: Volumes of UK sheep meat exported to non-EU countries hit a record high in the first quarter of 2014. Shipments were up 53% on the same period last year at 5,430 tonnes. The Far East and West Africa were the leading destinations; Hong Kong is now second only to France as the largest volume importer of UK sheep meat, with an increase in first quarter volumes of 38% over last year, and Ghana has become the ninth largest destination for UK sheep meat exports. Jonathan Eckley, EBLEX export marketing executive, says: “We’ve experienced a strong growth in trade with non-EU markets since 2008 and the first quarter figures for 2014 are very encouraging. While Hong Kong remains the largest non-EU market for UK sheep meat, we’ve also seen growth in exports to other destinations in the region, such as the Philippines and Singapore. Similarly, Ghana is very much the gateway to West Africa, with volumes also increasing to Congo, the Ivory Coast and Liberia.” For more information on domestic and export markets visit the Eblex website here.
ADDED VALUE FOR FARM ASSURED LAMBS IN 2013: Farm assured new season lambs fetched a better price than non-assured equivalents last year according to Eblex, raising an extra 6.5p/kg. These figures were provided by the Farm Assurance Price Analysis Update 2013, which summarises farm assurance price data from last year. Liz Ford of Eblex says: “Farm assured cattle and lambs have historically always tracked above the market average for some supply chains. The data for 2013 again highlights that farm assurance adds value at the farmgate.” Red Tractor Assurance Sector Manager Philippa Wiltshire adds: “These latest figures show that Red Tractor assured farmers selling more than 57 new season lambs per year will benefit financially as a result.” Read the Farm Assurance Price Analysis Update 2013 here.
SHEEP JOBS FOR JUNE: Rhidian Jones, SAC Consulting Sheep and Beef Specialist, provided this useful guide for jobs in the month of June in SAC Consulting’s Sheep and Beef News:“This year is completely different to last year. Grass is abundant, which means creep feeding may not be an option worth considering, although you should always weigh up the pros and cons carefully. Feeding some lambs to get away earlier will still benefit the remaining lambs. However on most farms it will be crucial to keep on top of grass to prevent heading. This may involve taking more ground out for conservation or for cattle grazing. Some other tasks that may need to be carried out this month include:-

  • Faecal egg counting lambs to assess the need for worming.
  • Keep a close eye for nematodirus and heed any warnings – treat if it is a risk on your farm.
  • Clostridial vaccines for lambs when due.
  • Dag ewes with dirty backsides prior to shearing.
  • Pour on against fly strike will be needed earlier this year.
  • Shear ewe lambs, tups etc and any ewes that are ready – they may be ready sooner this year so get them done.
  • Keep a close eye on ewes for fly strike and ewes being stuck on their backs until they are shorn.
  • Fluke dose to break life cycle.”

 CHARITY CHALLENGE FOR NORTHERN VICE CHAIRMAN: NSA Northern Region Vice Chairman Greg Dalton is one of 15 ‘Dales Farmers on Tour’ cycling the 135-mile Coast to Coast challenge in three days from Thursday 5th June. The intrepid 15 have an average age of 45 and have never been on a bike (bar a quad bike) since their childhoods! Greg and his brother-in-law Dan Bell will be cycling in memory of Dan’s father, who lost his short battle with cancer last year at just 55 years old, and Cancer Research is one of four charities the team hope to raise money for, alongside the Great North East Air Ambulance, British Heart Foundation and Meningitis Trust. Click here to make a donation via Dan’s Just Giving page.
SHEEP CROSS COMPLIANCE WORKSHOPS ON OFFER IN SOMERSET AND DEVON: The Farming Advice Service and Exmoor Hill Farming Network are running four workshops in late June offering information on cross compliance responsibilities, what’s covered in RPA and animal health inspections, identification requirements, recording and reporting movements, upcoming changes and the new ARAMS sheep database. There will be two workshops on Tuesday 24th June at the Moorland Hall, Wheddon Cross, Minehead, Somerset, TA24 7DL  and two on Wednesday 25th June at Bishops Nympton Parish Hall, Bishop Nympton, South Molton, Devon, EX36 4NY (10am-12.30pm and 2pm-4.30pm on both days). The workshops are free but booking is essential; call 03453 451302 or email bookings@farmingadviceservice.org.uk.
SITUATION WANTED: Sally Shepherd (23) is looking for a full time position working with sheep in England or Wales (with accommodation). She has just finished her Level 3 Extended Diploma in Agriculture at Hadlow College. Sally has experience working with sheep, including indoor lambing. She holds her tele-handler ticket, tractor driving and health and safety certificates. She says she is currently taking driving lessons and can provide excellent references. Contact her at sally.shepherd@icloud.com or on 07572 408326.

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



  • 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.


Leave a comment