VETERINARY surgeon, Ruth Clements, has won the Oxford Farming Conference/RASE Science and Innovation Award for her 'five-point plan' developed to tackle sheep lameness.
Sponsored by Adama UK, the blueprint, developed by Ms Clements, of Benchmark Holdings, has been embraced by the UK’s sheep sector as a ‘multi-action’ programme, designed to tackle the endemic and complex diseases that cause lameness. 
The industry’s need to address this problem, coupled with a chronic lameness problem within the company’s own 1200-ewe flock on their FAI farm, in Oxford, drove Ms Clements to find a solution alongside stakeholders including, Defra, AHDB, the National Sheep Association, Moredun and the State Veterinary Service.
Ms Clements was also presented with £10,000 prize money at the Oxford Farm Conference, earlier this month, which will be used to support further research work into the subject. 
“Lameness is thought to affect at least 10% of sheep at any one time, costing the industry an estimated £24m each year as a result of lost productivity and the direct costs of antibiotics,” explained Ms Clements. 
The ‘five-point plan’ principles are:

  • To cull repeatedly affected animals
  • Quarantine incoming animals
  • Treat clinical cases early
  • Avoid spread during handling
  • Vaccination to stimulate immunity

A new online educational resource at explains how to build flock resilience to the infectious causes of lameness and steps needed to reduce disease challenges on the farm. 
Farmers visiting the website can also access the University of Reading footrot cost calculator model to see how much the disease is costing the flock, as well as download a copy of the MSD Animal Health Lameness Control Planning tool. 
Visit for further information.