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This summer MSD Animal Health is offering three lucky UK sheep farmers the opportunity to win an AWR300 EID Stick Reader complete with large colour display, convenient keyboard and 4GB memory.

The free-to-enter competition is open until 31st July 2019 with entry forms available from the MSD Animal Health stands at some of the NSA regional events in England and Scotland during June and at the Royal Welsh Show at the end of July.

 “The importance of using simple recorded flock data to understand what is happening in the flock cannot be stressed too much. Knowing where the relative flock performance falls below industry benchmarks helps to prioritise actions to reduce production losses. Additionally, where flock recordings exceed benchmarks, then this data can be used to inform best practice strategies,” said competition organiser Sean Riches from MSD Animal Health.

Sheep farmers will also have the opportunity to take advantage of lameness control advice at the summer events, as well as in the national farming media when the industry puts the focus on better disease control practices throughout July. Indeed, independent experts point out that the later summer months are a great time to start implementing the proven1 Five-Point Plan for reducing sheep lameness.

“The sheep industry has made real progress with lameness over the last few years but must maintain momentum if it is to meet the Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) target of 2 percent disease incidence in the national flock by 2021,” said Dr Ruth Clements, head of veterinary programmes at farm-based research and development organisation FAI Farms, which developed the Five-Point Plan.

“Implemented correctly and given long term commitment, the Five-Point Plan gives sheep farmers a clear framework for managing lameness effectively because it builds natural disease resilience within the flock, reduces the disease challenge and spread on the farm, and improves flock immunity through vaccination. More widespread adoption on farm will also help the sheep sector cut its use of antibiotics for foot infections and meet new industry targets; a sheep sector task force facilitated by RUMA has already signed up to a 10 percent reduction in antibiotic use by 2020.”

Dr Clements added that sheep farmers are generally keen to get on top of any flock lameness issues, but sometimes feel helpless and often find it difficult to know how and where to start.

“Now’s the time to start thinking about it seriously. Weaning is an ideal time to cull out any ewes with chronic feet, re-set the breeding flock for the new sheep year and build from there.”

Farmers keen to stamp out lameness in their own flock can ask for bespoke advice for their own farm situation from their vet or SQP at a local animal health product retailer.


  1.  Clements et al. Veterinary Record (2014) 10.1136/vr 102161