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Attention to Detail at Longtown Farming Event – Free Meeting Focusses on Efficient Sheep and Beef Production

Published Wednesday, 30th January 2013 in SAC Consulting news

In the last twelve months Cumbrian farmers have been buffeted by weather on all fronts. Rain at home made the harvesting of grain and grass a nightmare and encouraged battalions of pests and diseases.

Abroad droughts and floods have created turmoil on international markets for livestock feed. At a free event planned for Jacksonrigg Farm, Longtown (CA6 5TZ), at 11am on Wednesday 13th February, local livestock farmers will be offered advice on how to improve their efficiency and cope with these challenges.

Organised by the Kendall office of SAC Consulting, a division of SRUC, Scotland’s Rural College, the event is funded via Rural Skills Cumbria. RSC is funded by DEFRA through the Rural Development Programme for England and managed by the LEADER Local Action Groups in Cumbria.

Hosts for the day are the Story brothers who, on their unit east of Longtown, have a flock of 450 breeding sheep and finish 200 cattle for slaughter each year. They grow some cereals and make their own grass silage. Before lunch on the day Brian Story will explain their farming system to visitors. Farm vet, Kevin Beattie of Capontree Vets, and SAC Consulting Specialist Rhidian Jones will talk about the nutrition and health of pregnant ewes as they approach lambing. Weather and disease have created additional pressure at what is already a difficult time.

After lunch a number of visiting experts from SAC Consulting will discuss some key issues affecting Cumbrian farmers. Dumfries based Heather Stevenson, of SAC Veterinary Services, an expert in diseases like Liver Fluke, will join Kevin Beattie in offering advice on controlling what has been a serious problem for sheep flocks across the county.

Farmers who finish cattle or sheep for the consumer have seen real volatility in the prices of ingredients used in fattening rations. Unexpected price hikes can make the difference between profit and loss. SAC Consulting Beef Specialist, Dr. Jimmy Hyslop, will highlight ways of improving efficiency and avoiding waste.

In Scotland there is a national campaign to address BVD disease in cattle (Bovine Viral Diarrhoea) and Cumbrian farmers are also showing a willingness to take action. James Hadwin of SAC Consulting in Kendal will explain the health planning opportunities offered by a BVD eradication programme.

While the event is free it would help those organising the catering if they had some idea of numbers planning to attend. They should book a place by contacting 01539 566987 or email

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