Farmers needed for pioneering Welsh animal health project

A new flock and herd health initiative aiming to offer Welsh beef and sheep farmers specialist veterinary support is looking for its first cohort of farmers.

Part of the £9.2 million Red Meat Development Programme announced earlier this year, the project, delivered by Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) will bring farmers and vets together to compile, review and enact comprehensive animal health plans which will be tailored to individual farms.

This will help farmers to proactively prevent diseases in their herds and flocks, maximise the health and performance of their livestock, and target interventions effectively to reduce costs.

3-year projects

Dr. Rebekah Stuart, HCC’s new flock and herd health executive, said: “This is a long-term project, with support available for up to three years, to trial a range of proactive interventions to maximise animal health and increase on-farm profitability.

“The project will engage with farmers and vets to create an action plan, manage on-farm biosecurity, monitor progress and collect data.

We’re now looking for the first cohort of farmers to engage with this exciting project, with an expression of interest window open from November 26 until the end of 2018.

Those interested can fill in the form on the Meat Promotion Wales website.

Dafydd Jones of Ystwyth Vets in Aberystwyth said: “Pro-active flock and herd health management can make a real difference on-farm and can increase the sustainability and profitability of a business.

“I would encourage beef and sheep farmers to find out more about this project, to see how they could benefit.”

Professor Christianne Glossop, Wales’ chief veterinary officer welcomed the new project.

“This is an exciting development which will help sheep and beef farms in Wales to maximise their performance by achieving high standards of animal health, welfare and productivity.

“Ensuring optimal animal health and welfare is key to the success of livestock businesses, and is one of the main goals of the Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework.

This initiative will enable sheep and beef farmers and their vet to embed health planning in their business.

“While the principle of prevention being better than cure is an old one, this project has several new features designed to deliver measurable, long-term improvements of flock and herd performance.

“I would urge all sheep and beef farmers in Wales to consider, with their vet, whether they can make use of this important new initiative.”