Welfare focus for new sheep network

Sheep welfare will be examined in the new Eblex initiative.

Sheep welfare will be examined in the new Eblex initiative.

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A national network of focus farms are being established to examine cattle and sheep health and welfare issues, and a number of farms in Yorkshire are set to be involved.

Levy payers’ group Eblex is setting up the 12-month project and confirmed that a number of the region’s farms are in discussions to join in. The initiative will involve a series of events taking place on 19 sheep focus farms around England.

Several meetings will take place this summer looking at sheep lameness and specifically focusing on the five-point lameness management plan, which gives producers a clear strategy to reduce lameness in their flock.

Steve Dunkley, north east regional manager for Eblex, said: “Lameness represents an enormous cost to the British sheep industry, with the losses from footrot alone estimated to be around £6 per ewe.

“It may not be possible to eradicate lameness entirely, but by implementing the five-point plan, producers have the best chance of minimising costly lameness problems on their farm.”

The network of focus farms is being delivered in partnership with other organisations, including Duchy College in the South West, Westpoint Vets in the South East, ADAS in the Midlands and SAC Consulting in the North.

Alongside the focus farms network programme of events, Eblex is also planning separate seminars about beef health and in-depth workshops looking at cattle and sheep health. Key areas of focus include health planning, lameness, infertility and scab in sheep, and BVD, Johnes, and pneumonia on the beef side.

For information about forthcoming focus farm events, visit www.eblex.org.uk/events

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