NSA Members Update - 28th September 2012

By Suffolk Sheep Society 1st October, 2012

NSA calls for thorough SBV investigation, and reiterates need for a vaccine, NSA Wales and Borders Main Ram Sale grosses almost £2.2m, Sheep theme for BBC Radio 4's Farming Today all this week, Static farm safety picture reiterates need for on-going action, Eblex launched TV advertising campaign, NSA member hosting ADAS meeting on flock health and grassland,

NSA calls for thorough SBV investigation, and reiterates need for a vaccine.

Following the announcement on Tuesday (25th September) that Schmallenberg had been found in Dyfed, West Wales, NSA issued a press release voicing disappointment that the virus had spread so far, and offering support to the farming family affected.

 The statement said: “It’s disappointing to hear that Schmallenberg has been circulating in West Wales, as we thought it had not spread that far at this stage. We understand that investigations are going to be carried out at the farm by AHVLA and Welsh Government, and it is vital that these are carried out quickly and thoroughly, so we add to our limited understanding of the virus.

 “NSA continues to push for a vaccine to be developed and licenced for UK use as quickly as possible, as we just do not know what is around the corner with this disease. This new case proves that point and shows how important it is for Defra and others to continue to look at vaccination options. In the meantime farmers must be vigilant to signs of infection, as it is only by seeing different cases that we can lean more

 “Our thoughts are with the family involved, as it is very distressing to be hit by Schmallenberg through no fault of their own and with no real way of knowing where the virus came from or what long-term affects it might have.”

 NSA Wales and Borders Main Ram Sale grosses almost £2.2m.

Torrential rain could not keep bidders away from the Royal Welsh Showground on Monday (24th September) where prices topped at 6,800gns for a pure-bred Bluefaced Leicester ram – the second year running that the breed has claimed the highest figures. Commercial trade struggled above 400gns but overall the sale grossed almost £2.2 million, just a few hundred pounds down on the previous year. Click here for the full report and here for a picture galley.

 A report from last week’s NSA Eastern Region Ram Sale is also available online. Click here for more on the trade, which topped at 900gns for a strong Texel.

 Sheep theme for BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today all this week.

A different element of the sheep sector, from lamb prices to new entrants, has been featured on each of the five BBC Radio 4 Farming Today episodes this week. They have included an interview with NSA’s Phil Stocker, talking about optimism in the sector (on Monday), and also a report from Monday’s NSA Wales and Borders Main Ram Sale, with Jane Smith explaining the importance of the sale to sheep farmers in the region (on Wednesday). If you weren’t glued to your radio at 5.45am each morning, you can listen again on the BBC website! Click here for Monday’s episode and here for Wednesday’s.

 Static farm safety picture reiterates need for on-going action.

The next fortnight will see the Health and Safety Executive publish the farm accident statistics for 2011/12, which are expected to include around 40 fatalities, a similar figure to 2009/10 and 2010/11. The figures were discussed by the Farm Safety Partnership (in which the NSA participates), which concluded that much still needed to be done to help rid agriculture of its image of being the most dangerous sector to work in.

 HSE confirmed the main causes of death were transport (over-turned vehicles and being hit by vehicles), falls and falling objects (particularly bales), and animal handling. While HSE does not collect statistics on non-fatal accidents, NFU Mutual said the causes were similar, but with a recent increase in incidents linked to ‘self-build’ construction projects. Food for thought for members who have not been trained in first aid is that, in a St John Ambulance survey, more than 40% of people working in agriculture had been required to provide first aid at work.

 Eblex launched TV advertising campaign.

Monday (24th September) saw the start of a new ‘Simple Pleasures’ advertising campaign for English lamb and beef, focusing on recipes for easy-to-prepare dishes. The TV adverts will appear in the ad-break of every food programme shown on Channel 4 and its sister satellite channels from September through to the end of November – which is more than 750 slots, including during Come Dine With Me and programmes with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Gordon Ramsey and Jamie Oliver. The adverts will also be featured on the 4OD website, to catch people who watch TV through their computer, and concurrent advertising had been taken in magazines and on social media.

 NSA member hosting ADAS meeting on flock health and grassland.

ADAS has extended an invite to all NSA members for an event on Monday (1st October) at J.T. Baylis Farming’s Church Farm, North Stoke, Bath, BA1 9AT. Farm manager Kevin Harrison, who sits on the NSA English Committee, will open the farm gate at 3.30pm and be aided by the South West Healthy Livestock Initiated and grass expert Charlie Morgan to look at topics including flock health and grassland. If you would like to attend please call 08454 587485 or email rbs@duchy.ac.uk (so the caterers know numbers).


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