AHDB Beef & Lamb is working with the British Institute of Agricultural Consultants (BIAC) to deliver the Developing Sheep Expertise programme, offering continuous professional development (CPD) to consultants and advisers who want to expand their sheep knowledge.
The scheme has been launched following the success of the Developing Beef Expertise group, which has been running since December 2015.
The programme consists of five meetings which will be held from November 2016 and run through to November 2017. The events will cover breeding, health and fertility, feed and forage, selection for slaughter and business improvements.
Nerys Wright, AHDB knowledge exchange manager and one of the programme coordinators, said: “We want to build on the success of the beef expertise group and extend the programme to the sheep industry. The objectives are to ensure well-trained and experienced consultants and advisers continue to be available to the sheep industry.
“The Developing Sheep Expertise programme will produce a group of trained consultants and advisers that can be called upon to deliver at AHDB Beef & Lamb events and help develop written material.
“In addition, it is a great way of informing key people in the industry on the tools and technical information available from AHDB Beef & Lamb.”
Consultants, advisers, vets and industry representatives are encouraged to apply to join the group and it is open to people who aren’t members of BIAC.
Liz Genever said “The second meeting of the DSE group followed on quickly from the first meeting to avoid the busy lambing period. The group went down to Mount Vets near Cullompton in Devon to take part in a post-mortem session run by Alasdair Winearls, which involved a discussion on how the members of groups, whether vets or consultants, use health data with their clients. The group shared techniques during the practical session and identified a lamb that had died due to strangulation in an electric fence.
The group also heard the results from a recent AHDB Beef & Lamb funded project conducted by Emily Gascoigne of Synergy on encouraging producers to post-mortem young lambs to understand how losses can be reduced. There was some discussion on the recent results from the producer-focussed post-mortem scheme based at a Fallen Stock Collection Centre in County Durham plus the data from the new Sheep Health and Welfare Group report .
During the second day, there was a group discussion about how to engage clients with benchmarking. David Pett, AHDB’s regional benchmarking officer, discussed Stocktake Lite and Farmbench and how the group could engage with these tools with their clients. There was a lot of discussion on how to get quality data from farms and how to get producers to recognise the value of the data and time needed to analyse it.
The final session was Pete Bone from Ruminant Mineral Consultancy answering the group’s questions on how to diagnose and treat mineral deficiencies. He also discussed the various sources of minerals in diets and the care that is needed to avoid toxicities.
This meeting had a very positive feel about it and the group seem to be enjoying the opportunity to meet with other people who enjoying working with sheep producers.
The next meeting is on the 3rd and 4th of May and is based around Lancaster. It will involve James Hadwin who attended the Developing Beef Expertise group and he will share how he works with his clients. Lesley Stubbings will be taking the group through a body condition score workshop and will discuss the results from the sheep KPI project. On the second day, Lesley will be working with the group on worm control strategies.
Developing sheep expertise members