NSA hosts successful lambing webinar but warns farmers to remain vigilant this lambing season

26th January 2024

Top tips for a successful lambing season were passed on to an engaged online audience this week as the National Sheep Association (NSA) welcomed one of the UK’s leading sheep veterinarians as well as an experienced shepherd to discuss the upcoming lambing season.

Leading discussion, vet Fiona Lovatt of Flock Health Ltd looked at the varied issues to be considered at lambing time including colostrum management and factors causing lamb losses and impacting flock performance. Suggestions on how to mitigate risk at this most important of times were also provided to those joining the evening webinar.

Sheep farmer, Emma Harle, who manages a flock of 1300 ewes in the hills just outside Durham also joined the session explaining how she has applied principles learnt from 20 years in non-farming business to bring her lambing team together and make significant reductions in lamb losses over the past six years. Discussion concluded that several small steady steps and good team communication can lead to big gains in terms of improving lamb survival.

NSA Chief Executive Phil Stocker says: “The sheep industry has made exponential progress towards lowering the reliance on antibiotics and this webinar highlighted this as well as the key aspects to consider when preparing for lambing. We thank both Fiona and Emma for joining NSA for this discussion that provided some essential advice for anyone ahead of lambing season.”

One concern for sheep farmers across the UK this lambing time is an emerging spike in confirmed cases of Schmallenberg virus (SBV), as was also discussed in an industry webinar this week as well as the current, ongoing bluetongue - 3 (BTV3) outbreak affecting areas of south east and eastern England.

Mr Stocker continues: “During both webinars the impact of Schmallenberg at both lambing and calving times was discussed. It is extremely concerning to hear of proven (and assumed) cases of this virus. These are from naive animals that were bitten by infected midges back in the autumn during their early stages of pregnancy NSA would urge all working with sheep and cattle at these times to be vigilant to the signs of SBV and to contact their vets should they suspect the presence of any cases on their farms.”

The NSA ‘What makes a successful lambing’ webinar is now available to watch again on the NSA website at www.nationalsheep.org.uk/webinars.

For further information on the current BTV-3 and SBV outbreaks please visit the APHA website.