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Westpoint Veterinary Group - Winter Sheep Meeting near Ashbourne

Westpoint Veterinary Group - Winter Sheep Meeting near Ashbourne

We will be holding the second of our sheep meetings in the following weeks. This meeting will be of a similar ilk to the first with small group discussions around a variety of stations. We will be covering topics including – neonatal lamb care and so lambing techniques including intra-peritoneal injections and stomach tubing; ewe nutrition – targeting twin lamb disease early to ensure that you get the most out of your ewes; and looking into fluke management on farm  - going further than just the right treatment.

Supper will be provided. Meeting is open to anyone and so please do get in touch if you’d like to book a place,

  •           Date: Wednesday 3rd February 2016
  •           Time: 4-6 pm
  •           Location: San-Fari-Ann, Sudbury, Ashbourne, DE6 5HX


Please contact 01335 361420 for more information and to book your place.

Many thanks

Best wishes,


Nicky Robinson

Westpoint Veterinary Services (Ashbourne)
Unit D, Ednaston Business Centre
Hollington Road, Ednaston, Ashbourne
Derbyshire DE6 3AE

Mobile: +44 (0) 7872 840355
Work: +44 (0) 1335 361420

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NADIS - Parasite Forecast and Disease Alert - January 2016

Worm control in lambs, lice in cattle and sheep, liver fluke in cattle and sheep – NADIS January Webinars.

January webinars are out now - click here to view.

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NADIS - Parasite Forecast and Disease Alert - December

Worms and Lice in sheep, Liver Fluke, SARA and Twin Lamb Disease – NADIS December Webinars

December webinars are out now - click here to view


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Texel breeders raise more than £6000 for charity

Members and friends of the British Texel Sheep Society have raised more than £6000 for the Society’s chosen charity for 2015, the Youth Cancer Trust. Much of the money was raised as a result of Society director Graham Hill of the Rolle flock, Clinton Devon Estates, Sidmouth, Devon, undertaking four punishing runs this autumn.

Mr Hill ran the Dambusters half marathon in Northern Ireland on 22 August, followed by the 8.7 mile Ben Nevis Fell Run on 5 September and then took on the 17 mile Exmoor Stagger on 18 October before tacking the Snowdonia Marathon on 24 October.

Running a total of 65 miles across the four events Mr Hill faced 45 miles of mountain running within that total and for the Ben Nevis Fell Run had a two hour deadline to reach the 4419ft summit of Scotland’s highest peak before coming down the mountain again.

Alongside this Society members used this summers series of specialist NSA sheep events to raise funds through a variety of means, including stockjudging and guess the weight competitions. Money was also raised at the Society’s recent AGM through a sealed envelope raffle.

Outgoing Texel Sheep Society chairman Henry Gamble thanked the membership for their support of such a worthwhile charity and paid special tribute to Mr Hill for his outstanding efforts. “I can’t praise Graham enough for taking on this challenge, these were long distance runs in tough conditions and certainly not something many of us would want to consider!

“Cancer is a disease which touches the lives of us all in some way, both young and old, but is particularly hard to see young people with their lives in front of them struck down with this horrible disease. Every single donation from Society members and friends will help make a difference to the lives of young people battling against cancer and that is something everyone can appreciate in some way,” he said.

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Texel Society continues to support youth and research

The Texel Society’s vision of developing the breed for the future continues to drive many of its initiatives, including the ever growing youth development programme (YDP) and the wide ranging research being undertaken on the Society’s behalf, not to mention supporting the largest collaborative breeding group in the UK, says Society chief executive John Yates.

Central to the YDP is helping our young breeders understand more about the future of the sheep industry and the latest breeding technologies and initiatives from across the UK and further afield. As part of this continued educational drive the Society is this year once again supporting a number of young breeders who are attending the Sheep Breeders Round Table conference in November.

“Alongside this the Society continues to support the next generation of sheep farmers with four educational awards every year at leading colleges and universities across the UK. These awards, now in their third year, see a student at each college or university awarded a £250 prize for the student who has excelled in sheep related studies each year,” he explains.

“On the research front the Society is once again at the forefront of the industry, with its ground breaking genomics project investigating the genetic element to mastitis incidence in meat sheep. The long-term aim of this project is to identify those genes associated with mastitis incidence in the breed and develop both EBVS and genomic EBVs for mastitis resistance,” says Mr Yates.

“Alongside this work on mastitis the Society is also building on previous work on footrot in the breed, with further genomic studies on the genes influencing resistance to this troublesome disease. This new work is building on existing research which has already found that there are some genomic regions which confer greater footrot susceptibility.”

Mr Yates adds that a recent study in collaboration with SRUC used CT analysis of more than  200 Texel-sired lambs suggests that Texel sires with a higher lean meat percentage produce crossbred lambs with higher values for this trait as measured by CT pre-slaughter. “Favourable relationships with other carcass traits, such as killing out percentage, fatness and gigot muscularity have also been observed in lambs in the trial.

“Despite the rams used in the trial all carrying high EBV values, there was still enough genetic variation in the selected sires for the traits of interest to see differences emerging in their crossbred offspring,” he adds.

This study epitomises Texel breeders’ benevolence in their appetite to support research programmes, said Mr Yates. “The Society’s vision to support youth, provide opportunity and drive research within the breed is sure to help produce just rewards for our future farmers, benefiting members at a breed level and all that have come to rely on the Texel breed within their commercial enterprises.”


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NADIS - Parasite Forecast and Disease Alert - November

Liver fluke forecast plus Worms in Cattle and Sheep, Winter treatment for cattle, Sole Ulcers and Toxoplasmosis – NADIS November Webinars

November webinars are out now - click here to view

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Maedi Visna threat ever present

Maedi Visna continues to pose a constant challenge for the UK sheep industry, with recent tests revealing that 25% of ewes tested for the disease were suffering from it. As a result, sheep farmers are being urged to consider the cause of ill thrift in ewes more urgently this autumn.

The tests, conducted by SAC Consulting Vet Services on flocks throughout England, were mainly in crossbred and Mule flocks, with owners reporting ewes being thin, breathless and sometimes lame. In flocks tested ewe mortality rates were increased and lambing percentages and growth rates reduced.  

Maedi Visna is a chronic viral disease which was introduced into the UK through imported sheep. It has since spread, especially in commercial flocks. The condition is highly contagious, difficult to diagnose and is fatal.

Flock owners seeing any signs of sill thrift in their ewes this autumn are, therefore, being urged to investigate any cases of ill-thrift in ewes with their vet.  

“Ewes should be in good condition at tupping this year given the good weather we have seen this autumn” says Brian Hosie, head of SAC Consulting Vet Services. “This makes it all the more important farmers quickly work out why some ewes may not be performing”.

Farmers worried about their flock should condition score their ewes and manage them accordingly; this will allow them to identify ewes which are not improving.

There are many diseases other than MV that can cause ill-thrift in sheep flocks. These include liver fluke, worms, trace element deficiency, Johne’s Disease and OPA/Jaagsiekte.  

Vet surgeons can find out what is causing ill thrift through collecting samples of faeces or blood for analysis or through arranging for some animals to be examined post mortem. Often more than one condition is responsible, however, the results will allow flock owners and shepherds to set up a suitable treatment and control programme for the flock.

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For the third year running, NSA Next Generation and Innovation for Agriculture is running an event to inspire future sheep farmers. This year’s ‘Getting on the sheep farming ladder’ open day for young people with a passion for the sheep sector will be at Newton Rigg College, Penrith, Cumbria, CA11 0AH, on Wednesday 28th October.

The event will kick off with guest speakers, followed by practical work-stations through the late morning and afternoon. Those attending will be able to decide which stations to go to, to pick up specific skills relevant to their sheep farming interests. Thanks to the generous support of Caltech Crystalyx, this year there will also be the optional extra for attendees to complete the day at the company’s nearby facilities, where a factory tour and hearty meal will be provided. This will deliver an insight into Caltech Crystalyx’s UK-wide set-up, as well as providing a light-hearted and social way to finish the day. Joanne Briggs, NSA Communications Manager, says: “The event is aimed at anyone with an enthusiasm for the sheep sector and, with everything from grassland management to sheep health included within the work stations, there will be something for everyone. It will also be a unique opportunity to meet people with similar interests and learn from them too, as well as find out more about applying to be an NSA 2016 Next Generation Ambassador. So whether you have been born onto a family farm or are a new entrant, I am sure it will be a good way to spend the day.” The event is free to attend and open to all, but pre-registration is required. Click here for more details.

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Levy boards promote lamb as price pressure holds

With lamb prices still under pressure across the UK both the English and Welsh levy boards have been investing in promotional activities to drive sales.

Welsh promotional body HCC has run a two season, multi-media promotion of PGI Welsh Lamb since July. This broad, multi-media campaign really seems to have caught the imagination of the industry, shoppers and the passing public,”said Laura Pickup, Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales’ (HCC) Market Development Manager.

The campaign included a touring mobile billboard, a cooking demonstration roadshow, a PR and social media blitz and a television advert that, when it finishes airing in October, will have been viewed an estimated 15 million times.

“The 30-second advert is expected to notch 15m viewings with up to 7m people spotting it on 26 different TV channels, while our consumer PR work since July has reached many more, as its £1.4m advertising spend equivalent indicates.

“The digital advertising campaign reached a total of 864,000 households across four regions in August alone and the consumer social media campaign earned 250,000 impressions across two months – a 266% in social media impressions on the previous two months.

“We know hundreds of thousands of shoppers spotted our mobile billboard – we have more than 100,000 acknowledgments from social media alone – as it visited 77 shopping locations across Wales and England and more will attend the Welsh Lamb cooking roadshow,” said Mrs Pickup.

HCC fast-tracked the two-season marketing blitz when UK lamb prices dropped after being hit by a set of external forces – including a glut of imports and a strong pound that affected exports. It was launched in July, two months earlier than usual.

“This really is a brilliant response to our campaign,” said HCC Chairman, Dai Davies. “HCC is driven to differentiate our PGI status and premium world class products from those of our competitors. This year’s summer and autumn advertising campaign is doing just that.”

Meanwhile, AHDB Beef and Lamb is launching a  new £1 million TV and online advertising campaign this autumn to promote Quality Standard Mark (QSM) and Red Tractor lamb and beef.

AHDB Beef & Lamb’s ‘Jetpack Journey Home’ advertisement, which was first aired last year, returns to the screen to air nationally in November.

It will promote lamb and beef mini-roasts as a quick, easy and versatile midweek meal and is being supported by extensive digital and press advertising and PR campaign as part of a wider £1.6 million consumer marketing campaign to promote lamb and beef consumption.

The five-week multi-channel campaign – featuring 10 and 30-second versions of the advertisements – is scheduled to run from the week commencing November 2 on ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky. It will again feature the ‘#miniroast. Why wait ‘til Sunday?’ message, underlining that consumers can enjoy lamb and beef roasts as a quick, simple and nutritious midweek meal option.

Other activity undertaken by AHDB Beef & Lamb includes the student society-style ‘LambSoc’ social media campaign to raise the profile of lamb as an exciting meal option and the benefits of cooking with it. Aimed at 18 to 25-year-olds, LambSoc has attracted more than 19,000 people through its Facebook channel, along with further followers on Twitter and YouTube.

To support Red Tractor week, AHDB Beef & Lamb have worked in partnership with Red Tractor Assurance to produce a digital marketing campaign to support quality lamb.  The ‘Max and Maggie’ campaign will run across a number of sites targeted at mums age 25-45 and across social media. 

The digital ads feature Max and his sheep dog Maggie who are campaigning for mums to cook family meals with lamb to help keep his dream of being a sheep farmer alive. All ads and social activity will carry #maxloveslamb as a sign off.

Jane Ritchie-Smith, AHDB Beef & Lamb head of consumer marketing, said: “The issue of lamb price, in particular, is well documented at the moment and we have been working extremely hard to promote home-grown product.

“The national TV advertising has always been part of our cohesive consumer marketing work to stimulate demand for Red Tractor and Quality Standard lamb and beef." 

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NADIS - Parasite Forecast and Disease Alert - October

Liver fluke forecast for Cattle and Sheep, Lice, PGE, BVD and Gid – NADIS October Webinars

October webinars are out now - out click here to view

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