NSA Welsh Sheep Event 2023

Award-winning and pioneering Welsh animal health programmes will be on show at next week’s NSA Welsh Sheep 2023 (May 16th).

To be held at Red House Farm, Aberhafesp, near Newtown in Powys, NSA Welsh Sheep is the major on-farm event for the sector in Wales. 

Showcasing technical expertise and the very best of commercial sheep farming, NSA Welsh Sheep attracts thousands of visitors from across the sheep industry. 

This year, there will be a new emphasis on reaching out to tell the public of the positive story that is Welsh sheep farming, and an important part will be the dedicated efforts to increase animal health and welfare.

At stand number 176, sheep producers will be able to find out about advancements in topics that impact their industry, including sheep scab and antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Just launched this week (May 10th), Gwaredu Scab is the first nationwide test and treat project of its kind. Delivered free of charge to farmers, the Welsh national sheep scab eradication programme is funded by the Welsh Government and led by Coleg Sir Gâr.

Visitors to the show will see a sheep dipping machine demonstration. They can talk to members of the Gwaredu Scab team about the initiative and how the project can improve the welfare of the Welsh flock and ultimately help benefit the Welsh sheep industry as a whole.

The treatment provided by the Gwaredu Scab project is dipping sheep in an Organophosphate (OP) dip in a carefully controlled environment by a contract mobile dipper. Used dips will be disposed of by dippers at chemical treatment plants at no cost to the farmers.

John Griffiths, Gwaredu Scab Programme Manager, said, “Welsh Government have committed £1.5 million each year, for a minimum of two years, to tackling sheep scab. Gwaredu Scab is a 100% funded programme offering a complete service from testing to treatment at no cost to farmers.

“As we all know, sheep scab is highly infectious and can cause significant welfare issues among flocks. So, we’re looking forward to NSA Welsh Sheep to get the message out to as many people in the sheep industry as possible that Gwaredu Scab is available to help farmers tackle sheep scab.”

Alongside Gwaredu Scab at the animal health section of the show will be the Arwain DGC (Defnydd Gwrthficrobaidd Cyfrifol/ Responsible Antimicrobial Use) programme who helps vets, farmers and equine owners to address the spread of antibiotic resistance in animals and the environment in Wales. 

Working in partnership with key Welsh agricultural stakeholders, veterinary delivery partners, and academic institutions, Arwain DGC utilises training, new technology, and data gathering to help improve understanding and reduce the need to use antibiotics and anthelmintics and so lessen the risk of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) developing.

Earlier this month, Arwain DGC’s work was recognised at the prestigious Antibiotic Guardian 2022 Shared Learning & Awards – where the programme received two awards.

Dewi Hughes, Menter a Busnes Animal Health Services Manager and Arwain DGC programme leader, said,“We are proud to be working with sheep farmers and vets across Wales to reduce the need to use antibiotics, whilst also improving their health and productivity.”

There will also be a discussion and demonstration of the recently developed Biosecurity App – created as part of the Arwain DGC programme.

Joining the Animal Health section at the show will be the Welsh Sheep Vets/Milfeddygon Defaid Cymru group (WSV/MDC), with a programme of discussions and demonstrations featuring vets from around Wales and the Borders. 

Activities will begin with an investigation into the causes of thin sheep and a demonstration of scanning sheep lungs for Ovine Pulmonary Adenocarcinoma (OPA). This demonstration will be followed by a post-mortem video and a session with vets on ticks. Taking part will be the Wales Veterinary Science Centre, which will be telling and showing farmers the importance of accurate disease diagnosis, particularly post mortem investigations.

Kate Hovers, chair of WSV/MDC and chair of NSA Cymru/Wales, said, “We want to demonstrate the large number of vets with interest in – and knowledge of – sheep who work with and for the sheep industry in Wales. This is particularly important as we look towards future sustainable farming schemes.”

There will also be particular activity looking at parasite control at a mobile laboratory from The Moredun Foundation – a registered charity supporting livestock health and welfare through research and education. 

Formed by farmers for farmers in 1920, The Moredun Foundation is dedicated to improving the understanding, treatment and prevention of infectious diseases through research and education. The Foundation develops various outreach programmes for farmers, vets and the general public; and supports a broad and varied range of research initiatives within the Moredun Research Institute.

Professor Lee Innes, Director of Communications of the Moredun Group, said, “We have always maintained a close working relationship with the farming community to ensure that the scientific research is focused on delivering practical solutions on the farm.

“At NSA Welsh Sheep, we will have a range of informative resources, including fact sheets and video animations, along with information boards on the key diseases affecting sheep in the UK. Also, visitors can speak with our specialists to learn more about the latest advances in the prevention and control of diseases in sheep.”