The future of animal health planning and it’s benefits to vets, farmers and the environment was the main topic of the recent animal health conference held in Llandrindod Wells and hosted by Hybu Cig Cymru -Meat Promotion Wales (HCC).
Attended by Wales Chief and Deputy Chief Veterinary Officers as well as veterinary practitioners and industry representatives, the conference discussed the successes of HCC’s Stoc+ project which is funded by the Welsh Government and the EU.
Stoc+ has aimed to assess and advance livestock productivity through improved animal health planning.
Speaking at the Conference, Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, Dr Gavin Watkins said: “Stoc+ has been a successful project between farmers and vets on many levels. Welsh Government is delighted that HCC has been able to engage with 360 farms in the 5-year project timescale. This offers the industry real evidence baselines for us to progress and plan Wales’ animal health strategies for the future.”
“Stoc+ trialled animal health planning on Welsh sheep and beef farms, an approach that can benefit farmers, vets and wider society through increased profitability, safer food and enhanced consumer confidence in Welsh produce; a reduction in antibiotic use; reduced greenhouse gas emissions as well as many social benefits, including safeguarding the well-being of farmers and vets themselves.”
A number of research projects formed part of Stoc+ during its tenure including a Sheep Lameness project, sheep fertility research and cost benefit analysis.
Research carried out during the latter end of the project showed that 93% of Stoc+ vets introduced and increased health management tools to farmers on farms as a result of Stoc+ and that 82% of the vets who participated in the scheme felt confident in giving animal health advice and guidance to farmers in Wales
John Richards, Producer and Processor Lead who has been tasked to head Stoc+ on behalf of HCC said: “We have had great teamwork in delivering the project and there has been real appetite for vets to work closer with farmers to improve the health and welfare of livestock. We are extremely grateful to everyone who has been involved in making the project the success that it has become.
“As we come to the concluding part of the project, 100% of the vets surveyed believe that they will continue to work pro-actively with their farmers, as a result of Stoc+. That should be music to the industry’s ears,” concluded John Richards.
HCC’s Stoc+ is nearing the end of its 5 year completion as part of the Red Meat Development Programme. Funded by the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.