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No magic bullet for improving lamb production, FUW farm visit told

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no magicIMPROVING the efficiency of lamb production was the main topic of discussion during a Farmers’ Union of Wales-organised visit to independent sheep consultant Catherine Nakielny’s Carmarthenshire family farm.

Dr Nakielny, of KN Consulting, farms 800 ewes at her home at Talley, near Llandeilo. She previously worked for a commercial sheep breeding company and various industry consultants following her studies at Aberystwyth University where she completed an Animal Science BSc and PhD on Breeding Sheep for Resistance to Roundworms.

A Nuffield Scholar, she is chairman of the FUW’s animal health and welfare committee, the union’s Carmarthenshire county chairman, sits on the NSA Welsh committee and represents Wales on the NSA UK policy and technical committee.

She is also a Wales representative for the Moredun Research Institute, was a member of Farming Connect’s Agri Academy 2012 Rural Leadership Programme and received the National Sheep Association Cymru/Wales Award 2012.

She is a technical sheep specialist covering a variety of sheep production issues, has been involved in the sheep industry for over 15 years and has been working as an independent sheep consultant for the last five years.

Over this period she has been involved in a number of research and demonstration projects ranging from sheep breeding and genetic improvement to parasite control and winter forage costs.

In 2011 she was awarded a Nuffield scholarship and has since visited a number of countries including Ireland, New Zealand and Australia studying lamb production systems and new opportunities for improving flock profitability.

She studied the role of efficiency in reducing methane emissions from lamb production due to concerns that the climate change debate would lead to calls for a reduction in livestock numbers.

However, following a meeting with leading scientists and policy makers, it is clear that the need to produce more food to feed a growing population means that the focus will in the future lie with increasing efficiency of production and “sustainable intensification”.

Dr Nakielny has a particular interest in improving the efficiency of lamb production. She said:

“Whilst there is need to improve efficiency of production and much talk about sustainability, the future of lamb production lies in the ability of individual producers to create profitable businesses. Without this there is no sustainability.

“Policy makers and scientists have a role to play in supporting research and creating a framework in which producers can operate effectively but ultimately profitability results from taking control of an individual business and making the most of market opportunities and meeting the needs of consumers.

“Lamb is already a high value product on the shelves so we can’t expect to see rapid increases in what we receive for lamb so we need to think about the things we can control. There is no magic bullet and I believe that profitability will come from tackling a range of issues which currently reduce profitability.

“Risk management will also become increasingly important as well as being able to react to changing conditions based on a clear understanding of what drives the business.”

Dr Nakielny is therefore working with a number of producers to develop monitoring and benchmarking systems as well as working with Farming Connect to develop the Know Your Flock+ benchmarking groups.

Looking to promote innovation in the sector, Dr Nakielny has also developed The Ram Shop, a unique marketing tool for ram breeders as well as working on a number of tools to help with the monitoring and benchmarking of sheep flocks.

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European Parliamentary Election Guide

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ON THURSDAY next week, May 23, voters will elect 73 MEPs to represent the UK in the European Parliament.

At the 2014 European Parliamentary elections in the UK, turnout was 35.6%.

The deadline to register to vote for the elections was Tuesday, May, 7.

If you were already on the electoral register in your county of residence, you do not need to have re-registered and – in most cases – will already have your polling cards.

How you vote is up to you.

Most people vote at a polling station.

The UK elects 73 MEPs.

Of those 73, Wales elects 4.

In Wales, votes are cast on a closed list system. This means you vote for the party and not the candidate.

The political parties put their candidates in order from 1 to 4. This means that if a party gets enough votes, it can return more than one MEP from the list. While that seldom happens in Wales, the UK’s political crisis could mean there is a significant shift in voting patterns for this election.

Voters put one cross against the party or independent candidate they wish to vote for.

Polling Stations are open between 7:00 am and 10:00 pm.

In Pembrokeshire, there are 112 Polling Stations for the European Elections. The list of Polling stations is available from the County Council’s website.

The link is here: http://bit.ly/PembsPolling

In Carmarthenshire, there are 184 Polling Stations for the European Elections. The list of Polling Stations is available from the County Council’s website.

The link is here: http://bit.ly/CarmsPolling

In Ceredigion, there are 97 Polling Stations for the European Elections. The list of Polling Stations is available from the County Council’s website.

The link is here: http://bit.ly/CeredPolls

Counting can only begin after 10 pm on Sunday 26 May when polls across the EU have closed.

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Sheep take centre stage at Ceredigion Museum

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Icelandic film, Rams (2015)

ON 14 and 28 June, Ceredigion Museum will be screening three films centred on Wales’ most iconic animal, the sheep. Screened alongside the Museum’s current art exhibition simply entitled Sheep, this tryptic of films explore the intricacies of our relationship with these woolly creatures and the communities and lives that we have built around them.

The exhibition, which is open daily until 29 June, looks at the history, heritage and culture of sheep farming communities within Wales and offers an exciting opportunity to see Welsh artists exhibit their work alongside internationally significant works of art as well as Ceredigion’s own collection.

Ceredigion Museum’s Curator Carrie Canham said, “This exhibition and the events surrounding it bring our relationship with the Welsh uplands to the forefront of discussion, exploring how our traditional farming landscape has changed and how it might look in the future.”

The film series reaches out of Wales to shine a light on other sheep farming communities around the world, from two brothers battling the weather and the authorities in the Icelandic film, Rams (2015) on 14 June, 7pm – to the gruelling world of competitive sheep shearing in international documentary, She Shears (2018) on 28 June, 7pm. The tryptic concludes with a late night screening of New Zealand’s sheep zombie horror film, Black Sheep (2006) on 28 June at 9pm.

The exhibition and the surrounding events have been funded by the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund; created by the Garfield Weston Foundation and Art Fund, the Weston Loan Programme is the first ever UK-wide funding scheme to enable smaller and local authority museums to borrow works of art and artefacts from national collections. Further funding has been provided by Arts Council of Wales, The Ferryman Project: Sharing Works of Art which is supported by National Lottery players through the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the John Ellerman Foundation and Art Fund.

Alice Briggs, Assistant Curator at Ceredigion Museum said, “The funding for Sheep from the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund and others will have a lasting legacy beyond just the exhibition. Its support of the necessary upgrades and accompanying programmes will enable the museum to borrow other important artefacts and treasures to display in the future.”

For more information, visit www.ceredigionmuseum.wales.

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Coastal Awards for Ceredigion beaches

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Aberystwyth Beach

CEREDIGION COUNTY COUNCIL will pick up five Blue Flags at the Wales 2019 Coastal Awards ceremony on Wednesday 15 May 2019.

Five beaches across Ceredigion have each been awarded the internationally recognised Blue Flag this year in recognition of the quality of their bathing water, safety, cleanliness and standard of services and facilities. In order to achieve a Blue Flag award, bathing water must meet the Excellent standard and a total of 32 land-based criteria.

Three beaches have each been awarded the Green Coast award. For this award, beaches must meet the highest water quality standard and are judged by the provision of facilities for beach users along with demonstrating good management and safety provision.

Also, 13 beaches received the Seaside Award – awarded to those beaches who reach the national standard beaches across the UK. This award ensures visitors that they are guaranteed to find a clean, attractive and well-managed beach.

Aberporth Beach

Arwyn Davies, Corporate Manager for Growth and Enterprise said, “Tourism is a major contributor to the Ceredigion economy bringing in over £310 million to the local economy every year. Ceredigion’s coastline, our coast path and superb beaches are amongst the county’s greatest assets in terms of attracting visitors.

The coastal awards, be they Blue Flags, Green Coast and Seaside Awards, provide an indication of the quality of our beaches and the council is committed to working with our partners and coastal communities to ensure that the high standards required to achieve award status are met.”

The following beaches have been awarded 2019 coastal awards:

Blue Flag
Borth, Aberystwyth North, New Quay Harbour, Llangrannog and Tresaith

Green Coast
Llanrhystud, Mwnt and Cilborth

Seaside Award
Borth, Clarach, Aberystwyth North and South, Llanrhystud, New Quay Harbour and Dolau beaches, Llangrannog, Cilborth, Tresaith, Aberporth, Penbryn and Mwnt

Wales’s coastal awards are administered by Keep Wales Tidy.

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