Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), in conjunction with MSD Animal Health, is running a series of free workshops in the coming weeks which will focus on the prevention of sheep lameness and offer advice on treatment options.
Sheep lameness is a significant problem in Scottish flocks and can affect ewe condition, lamb production, growth rates and ultimately profitability. However, by addressing it in the farm flock health plan, farmers can tackle the challenge of lameness.
The workshops, which will take place at six farms across Scotland, will be run by Dr Fiona Lovatt, a Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) specialist in sheep health and production who has considerable experience working with both sheep vets and farmers in lameness and flock planning. The farmer’s own vet will also be on hand at all meetings to talk through flock health planning with local examples.
Each workshop will cover the advantages of having a flock health plan, an overview of the common types of foot lameness problems, and a fully interactive session to explore treatment and control costs, cost of lost production and the cost-benefit of different control measures. There will also be a demonstration of LivestockPro a new health planning software programme from MSD Animal Health which is designed simplify planning.
Michael Blanche, QMS Knowledge Transfer Specialist said: “The workshops will offer really helpful information on two aspects of flock health – lameness and general health planning.
“Each session will be very hands-on, using attendees own figures in a computer model to compare the cost-benefit of different lameness control options. Footrot is one of the major costs in a lot of flocks and is significantly underestimated by many.
“I would really encourage farmers to attend these meetings as they offer a great opportunity to learn from key industry experts. It’s sometimes hard to find the time for meetings but these workshops offer real information that can reduce costs of production and increase flock performance significantly.”
Dr Lovatt said: “I’m really looking forward to these meetings. We will be working in small groups handling lame sheep and all participants will be involved in interactive sessions looking at on-farm costs and control measures. Within the sessions, we will encourage farmers to consider their own farm situations so they can take home solutions that will really make a difference in their own flock.
Attendance at the workshops is free and lunch is provided.
Thursday 10 September
Hosted by Allan Macmillan, Garroch Estate, Glenlee Mains, New Galloway, Castle Douglas, DG7 3SG
Monday 14 September
Hosted by Mr Kevin Stewart, Springhill, Kelso, TD5 7QA
Thursday 17 September
Hosted by Alan MacArthur, Cretlevane Farm, Buchlyvie, Balfron, G69 0QY
Friday 18 September
Hosted by Sir Michael & Lady Sally Nairn, Balnabroich, Pitcarmick Estate, Bridge of Cally, Blairgowrie, Perthshire. PH10 7NW. Farm Manager Alex Smith.
Wednesday 23 September
Hosted by Anne MacPherson, Blackford Farm, Croy IV2 5PS
Thursday 24 September
Hosted by T & M Lister, Dunadd, Kilmichael Glassary, Lochgilphead PA31 8QE
All workshops begin at 12pm and finish at 4.30pm. To register your attendance please contact Kirsty at QMS on 0131 472 4040 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, address and telephone number, stating which of the meetings you would like to attend.