ONE POSITIVE of the Covid-19 lockdown is that many farmers will have been persuaded to make use of information presented in the form of 'webinars' – web-based seminars – and the National Sheep Association has led that charge, organising online sessions to help sheep farmers in a variety of areas.

NSA has so far delivered webinars on 'iceberg' diseases in sheep, alongside the Moredun Research Institute, and on how to get started in the sheep industry, with input from independent experts and the Tenant Farmers Association,receiving excellent feedback for the value of the information shared with those attending.

It is hoped the next webinars will be equally popular as the association joins with others from the industry to cover topics including Contagious Ovine Digital Dermatitis (CODD), Sustainable parasite control and grassland management. NSA Next Generation is also planning webinars aimed specifically at the younger generation of sheep farmers.

For the CODD webinar – taking place this Wednesday, June 25, at 7.30pm – disease and expert and senior lecturer at Liverpool University Jennifer Duncan is onboard, alongside specialist sheep vet Liz Nabb, who is currently completing a PhD on sheep foot rot, and NSA chairman Bryan Griffiths and wife Liz, who have worked hard to try and eradicate lameness issues from their Devon farm.

NSA will then be teaming up with the Moredun Institute again, as well as Elanco Animal Health, to discuss sustainable parasite control on Wednesday July 1, at 8.30am, with the webinar repeated again on Wednesday August 5 at the same time. These webinars are designed to provide farmers with a practical overview of parasite challenges, covering the wider impact of worms and liver fluke on flock and herd productivity and profitability; the importance of monitoring and testing; practical application on how to make a difference on farm.

The third webinar will see NSA join with the Centre for Innovation Excellence in Livestock (CIEL) for the first time to deliver a webinar on the GrassCheck UK project, featuring Dr Debbie McConnell from Agri-Food and Bioscience Institute (AFBI), who will be talking through the GrassCheck GB project and how farmers can be using the information to plan their grazing and conserved forage during this tricky year caused by the weather, and Helen Mathieu from Germinal who will highlight options to boost forage production. This will take place on Wednesday July 8 at 7.30pm.

NSA chief executive Phil Stocker said: “The popularity of the webinar has no doubt been one of the positive outcomes of the Covid-19 pandemic as the sheep sector (as well as many others!) recognises the possibility to partake in valuable knowledge exchange from the comfort and safety of their own homes. NSA is proud to join up with so many leading bodies and companies to deliver, what we hope, will be truly worthwhile webinars.”

Further information on all of the webinars, including some additional upcoming online events that are still in process of being finalised on the NSA website,