|archmage||Date: Tuesday, 19-February-2013, 6:21 PM | Message # 1|
-- dragon lord--
|Farmers fear livestock crisis after thousands of animals killed by Schmallenberg disease |
Tens of thousands of lambs have been stillborn or deformed throughout Britain as a result of the deadly Schmallenberg virus, with the industry bracing itself for what could be a blighted lambing season.
In infected flocks the rate of lamb loss has been between 25 and 30 per cent on average, according to the National Farmers Union livestock chief, who has lost 40 per cent of the lambs from his early breeding flock to the emerging virus. Schmallenberg has been reported on more than 1,200 farms across the country, but there are fears the disease is being under-reported and that the Government is not taking the threat seriously enough.
Although there are hopes that many later-lambing ewes, which make up the majority of the national flock, have escaped infection, farmers warn that losses on a similar rate throughout the lambing season would plunge the sheep-farming industry into “crisis”.
“Farmers need a good lambing season to avert a crisis,” Robin Milton, the NFU’s Uplands chairman who keeps 700 ewes on Exmoor, Devon, said. “It’s a fragile state of affairs. If there was even a five per cent loss, in some flocks, that’s the profit for the year gone.”
Read more/Full article/source - http://www.independent.co.uk/news....45.html