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Schmallenberg taking its toll

THE beleaguered UK sheep sector – already reeling from plummenting prices and a major abattoir closure – has been dealt another blow as the Schmallenberg virus inflicts heavy losses on England's early lamb crop.

Figures issued by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate make grim reading and confirm that the disease, which is particularly damaging to pregnant stock, is moving closer and closer to Scotland.

Some flocks south of the Border have reported up to 50% lamb losses in both pedigree and commercial flocks, costing their owners thousands of pounds. A 24% increase in the disease has been recorded between December 2012 and mid-January.

(For the full story see The Scottish Farmer this week, January 19, 2013)

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