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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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‘This project will pay for farmer’s own vets to visit their farm’ – sheep scab meetings

A series of information meetings on sheep scab will take place across Northern Ireland in the coming weeks.

The first leg of the Northern Ireland sheep scab control programme will commence in early August with five meetings spread across the provience.

The meetings follow the NI Sheep Scab Group’s launch of a new “ground-breaking” £220,000 project to tackle the disease.

Speaking to That’s Farming ahead of the meetings, vet Paul Crawford said:

“Each meeting follows a similar pattern – a good feed followed by a talk on sheep scab and an introduction to the on-farm sheep scab control project, which commences in September.”

“This project will pay for farmer’s own vets to visit their farm, spending 90 minutes or so, talking not only about sheep scab, but about any health concerns the farmers have.”

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“If sheep scab is diagnosed (any costs for testing is also covered), the project will assist the farmer in getting the appropriate treatment delivered for, paying part of all of the treatment costs.”

Meetings as follows:

  • Greenan’s The Square, 1D Hilltown Rd, BT34 5EZ @7pm on August 3rd, 2022;
  • Dunsilly Hotel, 20 Dunsilly Road, BT41 2JH @ 7pm on August 4th, 2022;
  • Bushtown Hotel, Coleraine, BT51 3QT @ 7pm on August 9th, 2022;
  • Glenavon Hotel, Cookstown, BT80 8QS @ 7pm on August 10th, 2022;
  • Silverbirch Hotel, BT79 7DH @ 7pm on August 11th, 2022.

To attend a meeting, register using this link, alternatively, call Jennifer Martin on 0751 759 9497 or email –  [email protected].

Vets & SQPs

There will also be a separate event for vets to find out about the scheme on August 2nd, in Dunsilly. Furthermore, Bimeda will run two more events for SQPs later in August.

Previously, Crawford, stated: “With the combined efforts of scientists, farmers, vets, and other industry professionals, I am sure that we will one day be able to eradicate sheep scab in Northern Ireland.”

‘‘Farmers are certainly the driving force behind this initiative. That said, eradicating sheep scab from N.Iwill require an enormous effort from all parties and the collaboration of our colleagues in the south.”

“But to get to that stage, we first have to obtain relevant data which will give us a clearer picture of what is happening on farms across the country in terms of prevalence, spread and attitudes towards the disease.”

He hopes the project will act as a catalyst for change and lay the foundations for NI’s first sheep scab eradication programme.

The vet confirmed that there is already a reliable blood test available to test for sheep scab before symptoms appear.

Furthermore, he outlined that scientists are also “working hard” to develop a vaccination.

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