4th October 2023

Farmers invited to Stirlingshire Monitor Farm to hear about iceberg diseases and their impact on flocks

Sheep farmers are invited to the Stirlingshire Monitor Farm next week to hear about managing OPA (Jaagsiekte), the benefits of blood-testing pre-tupping for mineral status and iceberg diseases, plus new business funding opportunities.

The evening meeting at the Duncan family’s Lands of Drumhead, Balfron Station, will see Dr Chris Cousens from Moredun join forces with the farm’s vet, Endrick Veterinary Practice, to talk about key sheep issues.

Ovine pulmonary adenocarcinoma (OPA), which is also known as Jaagsiekte, is a contagious lung tumour of sheep. There is no vaccine or treatment, but recent advances in ultrasound detection can help with proactive flock management decisions.

Endrick Vets have screened the Duncans’ flocks and will share their experiences of the screening process. This will be demonstrated by vets Ally and Ishbel, followed by a full discussion with OPA researcher Dr Cousens.

The vets and the Duncan family will discuss the results of recent flock blood testing, covering what the test results show and how to act on the results, what iceberg diseases to consider testing for, and the economic value of blood testing.

Visitors will also hear from SAC Consulting’s Daniel Stout about latest opportunities for funding to help move farm businesses forward.

Car parking at the farm is extremely limited, so please car share if possible. For biosecurity, please ensure vehicles, footwear and clothing are clean, and wear suitable outdoor clothing and sturdy/waterproof footwear. No children under 16 or dogs are allowed.

Lands of Drumhead is farmed by the Duncan family. Three of Bruce and Shona Duncan’s children - Sally, Rebecca, and Gregor - are becoming increasingly involved in running the farms and the family’s diversified agri-tourism enterprises, which include glamping pods and selling home-grown lamb, hogget and mutton direct from the farm.

Situated on the boundary of the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, the farm runs over 540ha (1,335 acres), with 165 suckler cows and 1,100 ewes with most progeny sold store.

It is one of nine Monitor Farm across Scotland taking part in the programme run by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and AHDB, and funded by the Scottish Government. This aims to help farms reach full economic, social, and environmental sustainability by optimising production. Over the next four years, other farmers and experts will be brought together to help the Duncans assess farm performance, explore opportunities, and develop solutions to the challenges they face.

The event takes place on Wednesday 11 October from 6pm-8.30pm.

Booking is essential, and can be done via www.monitorfarms.co.uk/events or by calling regional adviser Christine Cuthbertson on 07769 366 671.

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