The National Sheep Association’s (NSA) Eastern Region Winter Fair at Melton Mowbray Market on February 9 will include information, activities, demonstrations and competitions for a wide range of sheep producers.
When: Friday 9 February, 10am-4pm
Where: Melton Mowbray Market, Scalford Road, Melton Mowbray, LE13 1JY
Cost: Entrance will be free for NSA members, but remember to bring along your membership card
Non-members will be charged £5
More information: Contact Jonathan Barber, event organiser, on 01953 607 860
With lambing imminent for most flocks, the event poses an opportunity to brush up on ewe nutrition, vaccinations, worming policies and maybe decide on some new products for identification and handling, while also looking forward to the grazing season with fencing and grassland management solutions.
Dan Phipps, NSA regional chairman, says: “With the increasing interest from arable farmers on integrating sheep into arable rotations to tackle black-grass and improve soil fertility, this subject will feature in our seminar programme and in many of the exhibits at the event.
“Visitors can visit stands, attend seminar sessions and take part in the stockjudging competition.”
10.20am-10.30am Phil Stocker, NSA chief executive, welcome and introduction to the conference
10.30am-11am Kate Hovers, Reducing lameness in flocks
11am-11.30am Charles Sercombe, NFU livestock chairman, Future developments for the sheep sector
11.30am-12noon Robert Spink, former NSA Young Ambassador, Sheep in an arable rotation
12noon-12.30pm Phil Stocker, Improving the welfare and longevity of rams - findings of the Animal Welfare Foundation-funded project on ram welfare and longevity. He will discuss the recommendations for ram breeders and buyers to ensure sires have a long and productive working life.
12.30pm-1pm Charlie Thompson, Zoetis veterinary consultant, Controlling worms in sheep
1pm-1.30pm Liz Genever, AHDB senior beef and sheep scientist, Managing young ewes at lambing
1.30pm-2pm Howard Gilbert, young animal specialist for Volac, Successful rearing of surplus lambs - A study carried out by IBERS at Aberystwyth University will be reported on which looked into the most successful way to rear surplus lambs and the margins which can be achieved
2.30pm-3pm Melton Mowbray Market, Live marketing of sheep
NSA will be on hand with information of its work and with details of its NSA Next Generation Programme for new entrants to the sheep industry – encouraging and supporting sheep farmers and service providers of the future. Information on where to access education, training or funding or a helping hand to find a job, work experience or placement are some areas NSA Next Generation can help.
Ahead of presenting findings of an Animal Welfare Foundation-funded project regarding ram welfare and longevity, NSA chief executive Phil Stocker says: “In pursuit of answers around the working life and cost of rams in commercial sheep flocks, the study has gathered information from almost 600 UK sheep flocks through focus groups and an online survey.
“We are now in a position to respond to claims from members that rams do not work on commercial farms for as many seasons as hoped for with data, and pin-point practical on-farm solutions for commercial producers wanting to maximise the working life of rams.
“While those surveyed online were generally satisfied with how long their rams were lasting, expectations of rams working for four or five years are not matched with the reality of 3.8 as highlighted in the study. Several areas of improvement have been identified, specifically around nutrition and health issues which could improve the working life of a ram, but also reduce cost per lamb sold.”