23 August 2002

WHATPRODUCERSCANDO…

SHEEP producers need no reminding there are many things affecting their businesses over which they have little control – lamb prices, the 20-day standstill rules, burial bans and the weather to name but a few. That is why it is increasingly important to focus on factors they can influence.

With the autumn sales period approaching, in this Update we take a look at how to avoid introducing disease into your flock through bought-in stock. Infectious diseases cost the British sheep industry a massive £236m/year, so avoidance tactics will definitely pay.

Selecting lambs at the correct weight and with the correct level of finish to suit ever-changing requirements will also add to bottom line, and one lamb buyer provides a few timely tips in this Update. Our weighing crates guide may also help keep you one step ahead of the mart.

After the trials and tribulations of the past couple of years, it would be easy to become despondent about sheep production. But we feature two excellent farms, which, in different ways are making technical improvements that are adding substantially to bottom line.

The first is a Welsh hill farm making £10/ewe more than the MLC Flockplan average through improved breeding and grassland management. The second farm has gone down the easy-care route using New Zealand-bred Romney ewes, leading to lower costs and a better quality of life for sheep and shepherd alike. Surely thats something every flockmaster aspires to?

How to avoid buying in disease 3

Better lamb selection 4

Medicine regulations latest 6

Leading Flockplan farm 8

Successful flushing 10

Cereal-based finishing 12

Beefing up hill breeds 13

Pasture renovation tips 14

Creating an easy-care flock 16

Weighing crates guide 18

Edited by Marianne Curtis