2nd August 2018

Free Workshops Focus on Flock Breeding Potential

A series of practical workshops to assist sheep producers in making the most from genetics and management to improve flock performance, is being held across Scotland in the coming weeks by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS).

The six farmer-focused workshops will be hands-on and practical.  They will guide participants through identifying the best rams for flocks, ewe selection, ram MOTing, ewe body condition scoring, flock health and ewe nutrition pre and post-tupping.

The workshops will be led by sheep veterinary consultant Fiona Lovatt of Flock Health, a specialist in sheep health and production who works closely with veterinary surgeons, farmers, processors and retailers in both the UK and abroad.  Dr Lovatt is also closely involved in a number of sheep breeding projects, including AHDB Beef and Lamb’s Ram Compare and Challenge Sheep.

Dr Lovatt will be joined by vet Dr Graham Baird, also a specialist in sheep health and production. Dr Baird has worked in mixed practice, as a small ruminant specialist for Zoetis and in SAC’s VI Centres in Inverness, St Boswells and Perth where he was involved in disease surveillance and health schemes. 

Quality Meat Scotland’s enterprise profitability publication shows that better financial returns for breeding sheep enterprises are closely linked to production performance, for example, more lambs weaned per ewe and at heavier weights. 

Whilst each farm will have an environmental limit to production, improvements in flock performance can be achieved when the right genetics are combined with good ewe and tup management before and after mating. 

Emily Grant, QMS Knowledge Transfer Specialist said the workshops will also offer a valuable opportunity for sheep farmers to get to grips with EBVs and how they can benefit their businesses.

“Even though the 2018 lamb crop is still largely on the ground, as ewes are weaned and ram sales approach, we’re heading to the sheep equivalent of New Year,” said Ms Grant.

“Whilst the sales offer the opportunity to select the best new genetics, early preparation up until, and just after, mating sets the ewe’s production potential for that next crop. 

“Given the challenging spring and summer and low forage availability, getting ewe condition right during this period will be crucial to next year’s performance."

The workshops start at 10:30am with coffee, followed by a mix of practical sessions and presentations to cover the key topics. Lunch will be provided, and booking is essential. Please note that clean clothing and disinfectable footwear must be worn. Please click here to book a space.

Workshop details:

Moffat - Friday 17 August 2018 - Sandy and Mary Duncanson, March Bank, Beattock, Moffat, DG10 9RH

Blairgowrie – Monday 20 August 2018 - Debbie and Neil McGowan, Shealwall Farm, Alyth, Blairgowrie, Perthshire, PH11 8HJ

Tain – Tuesday 21 August 2018 - John Scott, Fearn Farm, Tain, Ross-shire, IV20 1TL

Aberdeenshire - Wednesday 22 August 2018 - Louise and Ahren Urquhart, Boghead Clatt, Huntly, Aberdeenshire, AB54 4PB

Selkirk – Tuesday 28 August 2018 - Sion Williams, Caterhaugh, Bowhill Estate, Selkirk, TD7 5HE

Crianlarich – Thursday 30 August 2018 - Ewan Campbell, SRUC, Auchtertyre Farm, Crianlarich, Perthshire, FK20 8RU.

Sign up for the latest news and views