31 August 2001

F&MDEMANDS ADAPTATION

It is difficult to conceive of any aspect of sheep production that has not in some way been affected by foot-and-mouth.

Time-honoured rituals such as attending autumn breeding stock sales and sending sheep away to tack, are likely to prove difficult if not impossible this year. Even moving sheep to new pasture is no longer the simple job it once was, providing you could get the dog under control.

But sheep producers are adapting to this change in circumstances. In this update, we look at how video and internet technology can be used to source breeding stock. With tack likely to be expensive or in short supply this year, we also take a look at overwintering options for hill sheep.

For producers directly affected by F&M, getting the go ahead to restock is something of a waiting game. One such flockmaster shares his thoughts on how he plans to restock his Lake District farm.

Away from F&M, attentions are turning to lamb finishing. Gloomy predictions about lamb prices mean cost control is vital this year, and our focus on finishing systems should assist with planning ahead.

With tupping approaching, a new sheep year is about to begin. Maybe it is time to make a concerted effort to get on top of disease once and for all, for the physical and economic health of the industry.