News from the NSA

News from the NSA

The National Sheep Association have published the following news about caring for your flock and the issues currently effecting livestock farming:

As many of our members may be aware, sheep worrying by dogs is an area NSA has, and is continuing to, put much effort and resource behind. Always keen to support campaigns which are striving for the same goals, NSA attended the launch of a new Sheep Watch initiative in South East England on Monday. Hannah Park, NSA Communications Officer, reports: “It is really encouraging to see local initiatives like this emerge, and it gave me the chance to present to delegates, sheep farmers and members of Hampshire Police’s rural crime team the extensive work NSA has and is continuing to do in this area in order to try and raise the profile of the issue to the wider public. NSA will stay in touch with SheepWatch to support its future activity where possible

After a two serious incidents in the Netherlands, the Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) is urging all livestock farmers to check bulk feed bins regularly for structural defects or corrosion. Two incidents in the Netherlands have occurred in quick succession – one a ‘near miss’ but the other resulting in the death of a farmer. George Perrott, AIC Feed Sector Head, says: “Feed bins are familiar objects on livestock farms but can be holding tonnes of feed up in the air. Over time, these static pieces of equipment are just taken for granted. Corrosion or accidental damage can make them unsafe. It is good practice to routinely inspect feed bins, looking at signs of corrosion in metalwork, loose metalwork or cracks in welds. Also, should there be an accidental collision with a farm vehicle or delivery truck, always carry out a visual inspection for any damage that could weaken the supports. The tragic and catastrophic incidents in the Netherlands are a timely reminder of how important it is to pay attention to regular inspection of equipment.”

The looming threat of bluetongue and future opportunities under RDPE were two of the many topics discussed by the Sheep Health and Welfare Group (SHAWG) recently. Joanne Briggs attended the meeting for NSA. She reports: “NSA, like Government agencies and everyone else, is constantly watching the bluetongue situation in France – and it was very useful to discuss the threat within the context of SHAWG and the different organisations and individuals involved. The problem is that the logical business decision – to vaccination if the risk looks high enough – only works if there is vaccine on tap. But there are no stores of vaccine anywhere in Europe and manufacturers (which have already had their fingers burnt with low demand for bluetongue and Schmallenberg vaccine in the past) are reluctant to produce something with no guaranteed market.” Funding for flock health planning looks to be all set for the new RDPE, which starts later this year. NSA will keep members updated when details are available. Also, SHAWG is planning its biennial conference again this November – details to follow in due course.

More information about the NSA can be found on their website.


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