BRITAIN’S sheep farmers are facing a major new challenge to reduce their dependence on antibiotics at this critical time in the farming cycle.
Sheep farmers today rely on antibiotics to treat new-born lambs suffering from potentially fatal infections such as watery mouth and scour caused by harmful bacteria harboured predominantly in the bedding used in lambing pens. 
But with the need for a drastic reduction in the use of antibiotics in agriculture, sheep farmers must find natural, non-pharmaceutical solutions to the health risks that can affect their stock and, ultimately, their profits.
A growing number of sheep farmers who have been using Stockmax pine shavings over the past five years have discovered that this purpose-made bedding appears to eliminate or dramatically reduce both the incidence of infection, as well as the need for antibiotics.
The scientific secret to this remarkable natural solution appears to lie in the pine timber used to make Stockmax shavings. 
Developed and produced by Bedmax – one of the UK’s leading brand of equine bedding – these shavings are purpose-made from 100% Scots Pine timber. 
Their unique antibacterial properties have been scientifically proved to be as true in fact as they are in folklore. 
Pine contains natural defence mechanisms that eliminate a wide range of harmful bacteria and fungal spores, including the E.coli bacteria that cause the most serious infections in the lambing pen and E. Faecium, both of which thrive in the warmth and moisture of manure in bedding.
Bedmax has recently completed a £750,000 programme of research and production development to understand more about the natural health protection offered by pine shavings.
This major investment is part of the company’s commitment to continuous improvement in understanding the problems their customers are facing. 
Tim Smalley, managing director of Bedmax said: “We started making Bedmax shavings in 2000 to offer horse owners a dust free, completely natural bedding that would help them prevent or overcome the main health problems they face in keeping horses in stables. The principal problem for horses in stables is airborne dust and spores, mostly generated by forage and bedding. 
“The research we have discovered or commissioned over the past 16 years has shown that pine really does help combat many of these infections.
"Our experience with sheep farmers over the past five years or more has also shown very clear evidence that it works as effectively for sheep and lambs in the lambing pen as it does for horses in the stable – or for any other animal kept inside on bedding,” said Mr Smalley.
Research is now proving that pine kills or suppresses many more strains of harmful bacteria that cause other common diseases and health problems.
Further information about Stockmax shavings can be found on or by emailing or telephone on 01668 213467.