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Farming

Antibiotic use examined by NPA

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Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 14.43.25THE NATIONAL PIG ASSOCIATION (NPA) has unveiled plans to “achieve minimum use of antibiotics” on pig farms through a new antibiotic stewardship programme.

The aim of the programme will be to collect more data on antibiotic use in pig farms, which NPA said will be achieved through the industry’s newly-introduced online medicines book, created by ANDS Pork working with Veterinary Medicines Directorate. Once the online ‘book’ has been populated, NPA said producers will be able to benchmark their antibiotic use with anonymised data from other farms and work with vets to bring down use.

NPA chief executive Dr Zee Davies said: “We recognise and share society’s concems about the level of antibiotic use in human and livestock medicine. hi particular we acknowledge the risk, albeit small, of antibiotic resistance developing in bacteria in pigs and this resistance spreading to humans.”

Late last year, scientists discovered a gene that makes bacteria resistant to colistin – a class of last-resort antibiotics – in humans and livestock animals in China. Reporting in medical journal the Lancet, the scientists pointed to an apparent link between animal agriculture and the spread of this anti-biotic resistant gene in animals and humans.

Shortly before Christmas, follow-up research found that the resistant gene, first discovered on a pig farm in China, had spread to several European counties and had been detected in an infectious bacteria sample in the UK.

Although NPA’s senior policy advisor Dr Georgina Crayford maintained on Tuesday that “Antibiotic resistance in humans is largely caused by over-use and misuse of antibiotics in human medicine,” she acknowledged: “The British pig industry has a duty to ensure it does not contribute to the problem.”

Dr Crayford said: “Overall sales of antibiotics for use in livestock in the United Kingdom sit mid-range compared to other European Union countries. We acknowledge the current perception that antibiotic use in our pig industry may be higher than in some other countries, but we don’t have my data to demonstrate what our actual on-farm usage is, hence the need for action.”

NPA claimed that, in light of the findings on colistin resistance in bacteria from UK pigs, the Pig Veterinary Society has re-categorised this product as Class 3 in its prescribing principles for antimicrobials, meaning colistin may only be prescribed as a last-resort when no other options are available.

Reacting to the announcement on Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Alliance to Save our Antibiotics, a coalition of fanning and environment groups commented: “The Alliance welcomes the NPA’s antibiotic stewardship programme, and supports each of the six strands outlined within it. Efforts to collate antibiotic usage data in this sector will be key to setting achievable and ambitious reduction targets, and better education in disease mitigation will be crucial to achieving these targets.

“However, we would also stress that routine mass medication of groups of animals — a form of administration which currently accounts for circa 90% of total antibiotic use in the UK and is commonly used in the pig sector — most also be tackled if the NPA’s programme is to be successful.

“This must be accompanied by measures to improve animal health and welfare and reduce the need for antibiotics in the first place; including lower stocking densities, later weaning for piglets, improved breeding which focuses less on productivity and more on animal health, and greater access to the outdoors.”

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Farming

Ceredigion farmers left high and dry by lack of UK-NZ trade deal protections

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PLAID CYMRU politicians have expressed significant concerns regarding the impact the new trade deal stuck between the UK and New Zealand will have on Ceredigion farmers. 

The free trade agreement between New Zealand and the UK Government was signed on 28 February 2022 and is set to open the doors to a significant import of meat produce which could potentially hit the farming sector in Wales harder than in any other part of the UK. 

NFU Cymru has recently raised concerns about the deal, stating that the potential negative cumulative impact of this cannot be overstated. 

The New Zealand trade deal follows another similar deal with Australia, and while it offers significant upsides for farmers on the other side of the world, it potentially creates significant marketplace changes for Welsh farming. 

Figures from the Farmers Union of Wales state the agreement could see the amount of beef that can be imported tariff-free from New Zealand rise immediately to 12,000 then gradually to 38,820 tonnes in ten years’ time. Further rises would occur in the subsequent five years, after which there would be no limit. A similar increase would also be seen in lamb, with the amount that could be imported tariff-free would increase by 35,000 tonnes per annum in years one to four, then by 50,000 tonnes per annum in years five to fifteen, after which there would be no limit. 

Plaid Cymru’s Agriculture Spokesperson, Mabon ap Gwynfor MS, has today (2 March, 2022) raised the issue as a matter of urgency with the Welsh Government in the Senedd. 

Mabon ap Gwynfor MS said: “While the spin will be about benefits, the truth is that this trade deal is a real cause for concern for Welsh farmers. 

“The agreement will provide a 15 year transitional period, and it states that they will only be able to ‘utilise new access to the UK sheep meat market once they have filled 90% of their existing World Trade Organization (WTO) quota’. 

“However, this leaves Welsh farmers at the whim of a market whereby they have no control nor input. Should something change in the sheep meat market then New Zealand meat would suddenly end up here or in the EU and undermine Welsh farmers. 

“By failing to ensure that there are tariffs on imports here the UK Government have left Welsh farmers completely open to the whims of a market which they have no say and no protection. 

Cefin Campbell, Plaid Cymru Member of the Senedd for Mid & West Wales added: “Let us be clear, this trade deal is a gross betrayal of Ceredigion farmers. The UK Government’s own analysis suggests that the number of people working in agriculture will be negatively impacted by this deal, whilst it also threatens to undermine the entire Welsh agriculture sector – which we know is far more susceptible to harm from a poor trade deal than other farmers in other parts of the UK.  

As we face a climate emergency, importing more food from the other side of the world that could be produced sustainably here in Wales, does not make any sense whatsoever. 

Clearly, efforts must now be taken at Westminster to ensure that the Welsh farming sector is safeguarded from the potential negative impact of this agreement.”  

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Farming

Total Dispersal of Hidden Gem Welsh Dairy Herd

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Clywedog Abro Katie

HARRISON & HETHERINGTON have today announced that they will be the sale managers for the dispersal sale of 700 pedigree Holsteins from the impressive Clywedog herd. 

The two-day sale will be held on behalf of Rhys and Huw Jones at Old Llwyn Onn Farm, Wrexham, on Thursday 24th and Friday 25th February.

Day one of the sale will comprise 320 milking animals and 180 heifer calves up to six months of age. 

Day two will see 200 youngstock selling with in-calf, bulling and heifer calves down to six months of age. Notably, a large percentage of the herd and most of the in-calf heifers carry pregnancies by female sexed sires.

In the last two years Harrison & Hetherington have expanded their on-farm dispersal sales service across the UK and Ireland and Glyn Lucas, Senior Pedigree Dairy Auctioneer, is delighted that they have been invited to manage this special sale: “The Clywedog Pedigree Holstein herd is one of the UK’s best kept secrets. This complete dispersal sale offers the modern kind of cow that the modern milk producer appreciates. 

Auctioneer Glyn Lucas

“The cows are powerful and exhibit outstanding width of rump and chest, and are in excellent body condition. The production records on two times a day milking is impressive and the potential these cows have to increase on a three times a day or robotic management system is exciting. In addition, all of the animals going under the hammer have been tested for export.”

At the most recent milk recording in mid-January the herd averaged 41kgs at 4.42% butterfat and 3.31% protein with somatic cell count of 63.  The herd has exceptional fertility with the current calving interval running at 378 days and the current days in milk is 134 days.

The latest classification saw 17 new Excellent cows, 39 new Very Good cows, 14 new Very Good milking heifers and 24 new Good Plus heifers.  The sale will have a total of 41 Excellent, 141 Very Good and 138 Good Plus animals in the sale.

Herd health status is exemplary with IBR, BVD and Lepto protocols all managed in conjunction with farm vet, Rob George from Nantwich Farm Vets. Additionally, the herd has never had a case of TB and all animals are tested for export.

Clywedog Group Two

Giving further background, owner and breeder Rhys Jones said: “We established our pedigree herd in 1990 and have worked hard over the years to create high yielding, long-lasting herd of beautiful cows. Our mission has been to produce high type cows, and to that end we have selected the best genetics from Cogent and Semex. The stock is in excellent condition, they have been looked after with loving care and I know that the animals will go on to do very well. 

“However, the time has come for Huw and I to ease off; I will soon be 64 and it’s time to hang up my hat.  We would all like to thank everyone who has supported us over the years.  We have taken great pride in producing a herd with long lasting cows and heifers and we will both get a lot of satisfaction in watching our breeding develop in herd around the UK.”

Harrison & Hetherington are renowned auctioneers, selling all classes of pedigree and commercial livestock and is one of the UK’s foremost auctioneers for Dairy Cattle. Being located in one of the largest milk producing areas in the UK, its weekly sales at Borderway, Carlisle, attract top quality dairy cattle and buyers. 

Harrison & Hetherington are also the principal official society auctioneers to many breed societies and area clubs, and regularly hold dispersal or collective sales on site and on farms across mainland UK and Ireland.

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Farming

Local MP backs Parliamentary inquiry into rural productivity

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BEN LAKE will join MPs from across the political divide to identify opportunities to grow the rural economy 

The All Party Parliamentary Group for the Rural Powerhouse is undertaking a comprehensive investigation into the health of the rural economy. 

The inquiry started in May this year, taking evidence from rural businesses and representative bodies, as well as academics, government ministers and other experts.  Oral evidence sessions have covered farming and land use, the planning system, access to skills, mobile and electrical connectivity as well as exploring how the tax regime could be used to encourage diversification and entrepreneurship in rural areas. 

Ceredigion MP Ben Lake took part in the final evidence session today – which investigated the role of government structures and procedures, asking whether they hinder or help in delivering rural objectives.  

Ben Lake MP told The Ceredigion Herald: “There are over 500,000 rural businesses across Wales and England – they are the backbone of the rural economy. Closing the productivity gap between rural and urban communities is essential to ‘levelling up’.  If we want to see thriving rural communities, we must ensure everyone has the opportunity for a good job and a good home. This inquiry will help identify changes in government policy necessary to deliver that goal.” 

Mark Tufnell, President of the Country Land and Business Association which represents 28,000 rural businesses in England and Wales, said: “Closing the rural productivity gap would add £43bn of gross value added (GVA) to the economy – creating hundreds of thousands of skilled jobs in communities everywhere.  This would be on top of the £261bn the rural economy already contributes to the national economy. 

“The reasons for the countryside’s lower productivity are complex but, thanks to this inquiry, we have gathered evidence that will be critical in determining what improvements should be made to ensure that levelling up the countryside really is at the heart of the government’s agenda.” 

The APPG inquiry will publish its findings early in the new year. 

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