Dartmoor farmers urged to shed light on sheep scab

Farmers across the Dartmoor area have until the end of March to share their knowledge and experiences in dealing with sheep scab in an anonymous survey.

The study requires just a short phone call survey and the possibility of a follow-up farm visit to understand how flocks are equipped to manage sheep scab risk.

Vet practices, specialists and local farm suppliers will also be consulted through the initiative, which is being led by the Westcountry Rivers Trust (WRT).

Hazel Kendall, head of land management at the WRT stressed all information gathered will be anonymised and confidential.

Scab in numbers

  • 1992 Government ended mandatory sheep dipping
  • 17 days How long scab mites survive off host animal
  • 2010 Year Scotland Sheep Scab Order, which made sheep scab a notifiable disease, was passed

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She warned research is showing that scab is becoming more of an issue nationally, although local evidence in Devon is only anecdotal.

“Our research will help us to find out whether or not sheep scab is a widespread problem on Dartmoor,” she said.

“It will also give us more information on the treatments that are being used and their effectiveness.

“If farmers are still dipping or reconsidering this, we can work with them to build a case for future funding options including training and investment that balances animal welfare, livestock returns with risk reduction for themselves and the environment.”

Get in touch

Anyone farming on Dartmoor is invited to contact Dave Valder at the Westcountry Rivers Trust on dave.v@wrt.org.uk or 07498 915 616 by 31 March 2018.