QMS to address sheep lameness

Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) is working alongside MSD Animal Health in running a series of free workshops that will focus on preventing sheep lameness. 

The workshops are to take place in the coming weeks at six farms across Scotland. Sheep specialist Dr Fiona Lovatt, Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), is excited to be running the programme.

“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.”

Sheep lameness is a serious condition that can affect ewe condition, lamb production and growth rates. Ultimately, this can all contribute to loss of profitability for sheep producers.

In an attempt to overcome these concerns, the meetings will discuss the advantages of having a flock health plan. They will also deliberate the common types of foot lameness problems and host interactive sessions exploring treatment and control costs, the cost of lost production and the financial benefits of different control measures.

Additionally, a demonstration will take place of LivestockPro – a new health planning software programme developed by MSD Animal Health and designed to simplify the process of health planning.

“The workshops will offer really helpful information on two aspects of flock health – lameness and health planning,” said Michael Blanche, QMS Knowledge Transfer Specialist.

“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. Foot rot is one of the major costs in a lot of flocks and is significantly underestimated by many.”

Blanche continued to urge sheep manufacturers to be present at these workshops as it could greatly benefit their operations.

“I would 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.”

Workshop details:

Thursday 10 September
Hosted by Allan Macmillan, Garroch Estate, Glenlee Mains, New Galloway, Castle Douglas, DG7 3SG

Monday 14 September
Hosted by 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

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