An animal health project has welcomed a new veterinary ambassador to support proactive animal health planning on beef and sheep farms in Wales.

Alun Evans, who practises at Market Hall Vets, St Clears, joined the Stoc+ ambassador team a few months ago and has been advising farmers on vaccination uses and best practice through online videos through his role as a Stoc+ vet ambassador.

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 lockdown, the Stoc+ project has adapted to working remotely with meetings and visits being held on virtual platforms. Its veterinary ambassadors have also taken a different approach, promoting proactive animal health planning and sharing advice on the red meat development programme (RMDP)’s website and social media channels.

Stoc+, which is coordinated by Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC), aims to improve overall health of flock and herd on Welsh farms and ultimately, enhancing animal health planning and boosting production efficiency.

Alun Evans explains: “Vaccinations against clostridial diseases are essential for beef and sheep farmers in Wales. Unfortunately, one of the first signs of clostridial disease is sudden death and so knowing the best time to give vaccinations is key for a healthy herd or flock.”

Vaccinations are an important part of disease control, but there are other factors to consider such as the animal’s general health and specific antibodies of the disease.

“Cattle and sheep usually require two doses four to six weeks apart. Some immunity can be passed from ewe to lambs; however, protection is only offered for a short period of time, therefore, it is important to vaccinate the lambs and calves as they grow.”

Dr Rebekah Stuart, HCC flock and herd health executive, adds: “Farmers who are part of the Stoc+ project are advised to keep their health plans updated and to follow the tailored vaccine timetable developed during the visits. For further advice, farmers should consider consulting their vet to discuss the best way forward.”