Rapid transition off forage diets saw spike in sheep acidosis
Analysis of sheep carcases in late summer 2018 showed a spike in acidosis cases, which have been linked to increased concentrate feeding.

Analysis of sheep carcases and samples submitted to regional veterinary laboratories (RVLs) in late summer shows a spike in the number of ruminal acidosis cases.

As grass supplies dried up on many farms, farmers moved lambs on to predominately concentrate-based diets.

Vigilant

In the RVL quarter-three report, farmers were advised to “be vigilant regarding the dangers of rapidly transitioning from a forage diet to a diet containing concentrates in situations where forage is scarce”.

Cases of both enteritis and pulpy kidney in sheep carcases presented were less frequent for the same period in 2017.

Acidosis was the third-most common cause of mortality

Parasitic gastroenteritis and pneumonia remained the two most common diseases diagnosed in sheep following a post-mortem examination.

Acidosis was the third-most common cause of mortality.

During the late-summer period, 244 carcases and 662 diagnostic samples (eg blood, faecal, etc) were submitted for analysis.

The 10 most common diseases were:

  • Parasitic gastro-enteritis.
  • Pneumonia.
  • Ruminal acidosis.
  • Septicaemia.
  • Encephalitis.
  • Parasitic bronchitis.
  • Abscessation-miscellaneous.
  • Tick borne fever.
  • Enteritis and pneumonia.
  • Pulpy kidney disease.
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    EID tagging optional for marts and factories
    While sheep EID tagging will be compulsory for farmers from 1 June, it is possible not all marts and factories will have systems in place to utilise the technology.

    Marts and factories will not be obliged to install electronic identification (EID) tag-reading systems, even though EID tagging is compulsory for farmers.

    There is no obligation on marts and factories to install systems capable of reading EID tags and provide printed dispatch dockets to farmers.

    From 1 June 2019, farmers must tag all sheep and lambs with an electronic tag set, except lambs under 12 months of age moving directly to slaughter, which only require a single electronic tag.

    Tag details

    However, if a mart or factory does not apply to operate as a central point of recording (CPR), farmers will still have to detail the individual tag number of each sheep.

    The Department of Agriculture wrote to all relevant marts on 31 January to advise them of changes to tagging rules and their potential roles as CPRs.

    Applications are currently being accepted by the Department.

    Some €720,000 in grant aid is available to marts for EID system upgrades.

    Marts can secure a 40% grant on the cost up to a maximum of €10,000/mart.

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    Fashion retailer reverses its ban on wool products following public backlash
    Following strong criticism of a decision to stop selling wool products, Boohoo will now continue to use it "as a sustainable material".

    Online fashion retailer Boohoo.com made a rapid U-turn on its decision to stop selling wool products following major public backlash. Boohoo previously stated it would "not knowingly source wool products" by autumn of this year but it has now rowed back on that commitment.

    In a statement, it said: “Boohoo continues to assess all options as part of its ongoing commitment to a more sustainable future.

    “We are committed to ensuring the wool used in our supply chain comes from good husbandry and meets high levels of animal welfare, and will continue to use wool as a sustainable material.”

    Welfare

    When originally announcing the ban, the Manchester-based company cited concerns about sheep welfare at shearing time raised by a Peta video.

    In a joint statement, the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) and British Wool said: “Farmers and contractors in the sheep industry take animal welfare very seriously and any behaviour that is found to fall below that standard is not tolerated.”

    Boohoo said it was engaging with Peta and the relevant parties “to discuss options that will balance our customer demand, animal welfare and sustainable future”.

    Sheep farmer hit by two dog attacks in one night
    A sheep farmer from Co Leitrim had two groups of sheep and lambs attacked by dogs on Thursday night and he called on owners to be more vigilant.

    A Leitrim sheep farmer pleaded with dog owners to be more vigilant after 30 of his sheep were targeted by dogs on Thursday.

    Speaking on Shannonside radio, Paddy Farrell, who farms at Kiltoghert near Carrick-on-Shannon, said at least one dog was responsible for worrying two groups of his sheep.

    “Last night [Thursday] around 9.30pm my wife was coming home from the shop and she raised the alarm.

    Frightened

    “I rushed to the scene to find sheep huddled in ditches some of them bleeding severely and young lambs about a week old badly frightened and roaring for their mothers.”

    Paddy said he managed to hunt the dog or dogs away but shortly after that sheep at another location half a mile away were attacked. He said at least two sheep had been injured in the attacks.

    Had he not managed to chase the dogs away the damage caused could have been much greater and he urged owners to know where their pets were at all times.

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