Cutting edge practical information, plenty of content from producers working in the field and interactive sessions to ensure delegates get their views across.
That is the promise from organisers of the 2014 Sheep Health and Welfare Conference, designed for people running sheep enterprises of all sizes, large and small, on Wednesday 26th November at Yarnfield Park Conference Centre, Stone, Staffordshire.
The Sheep Health and Welfare Group (SHAWG) is made up of industry stakeholders and collaboratively addresses relevant health and welfare issues; it is regularly used by Defra and AHVLA to discuss proposed initiatives and programmes that potentially have an impact at farm level. SHAWG also took on the additional role of conference provider with its inaugural event in 2012, which was received very well by more than 200 attendees.
Peter Baber, SHAWG Chairman and Devon sheep farmer, says: “On the back of the hugely successful conference two years ago, SHAWG has once again pulled together an excellent programme focused on delivering innovation with practical application for the farm. We have focused on two key areas – sourcing replacements and taking scab eradication seriously. The practical, information-packed day will include interactive sessions and plenty of opportunity to mix informally with speakers, sponsors and other delegates.”
Dominic Naylor, an estate manager in Northumberland with responsibility for 12,000 ewes, will be speaking at the event to provide a practical case study on keeping stock safe and disease at bay. Mr Naylor, whose ewes are split between a hill and lowland flocks, says: “We run very big sheep and cattle enterprises so it’s essential to keep disease out of both.
There is so little margin in sheep and beef enterprises that disease is an expense no farmer can afford, whether they’re running three sheep or 1,300. We tackle this by having a stratified system on the estate, breeding our own replacements wherever possible. When we need new bloodlines we use AI or buy direct from another farm that we know the disease status of. Very occasionally we buy from a society sale but we would always investigate the vendor before making any buying decisions.”
Paul Roger, independent veterinary consultant, echoes Mr Naylor’s comments. Looking ahead to his conference presentation on safely sourcing replacements, he says: “One of the easiest ways to spread disease is by introduction through another animal. It’s not the only way but it is an easy way, and within the sheep industry movement of animals is a traditional and accepted approach. Perhaps it is time that we started to look these traditional issues and how we can manage them more safely in the future. I think this conference has something for everyone, because it’s in our interests to keep our own flocks safe.”
To attend the event download a booking form at www.shawgconference.org.uk or call the booking line (managed by NSA) on 01684 892661.