17 May 1996

BSES SILVER LINING?

Attention to detail will always pay. Both consultants and successful farmers will tell you so. But, as seen during the past couple of months in the cattle industry, politics do a fine job of ruining our best intentions.

The BSE crisis, grave as it is, should be used for the sheep industrys benefit. Lamb prices are expected to hold up as some consumers switch from beef to other meats. But producers need to guarantee their market by joining a quality assurance scheme which will give the housewife confidence in the product.

Premiums can also be secured on breeding stock by joining the new sheep health scheme. It will not be long before only enzootic abortion-free ewes can be sold both privately and at auction.

Although shepherding can be a lonely job, there are only too many salespeople desperate to gain access to the farmyard. Some of them offer value for money while others can be dubious to say the least. And at a time when minutiae make all the difference to an enterprises profitability, producers would do well to look closely at all offers before making a decision.

Take good advice; combine it with quality assurance and a guaranteed clean bill of health. This formula should help cope with rogue factors such as politics and the weather and allow producers to sleep more easilyat night.

The hills are alive with the sound of bleating. Secure this seasons lamb crop by paying attention to detail.