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NSA Welsh Sheep 2015

Buzzing atmosphere’ as crowds flocked to NSA Welsh Sheep

A sell-out crowd, overflowing car parks, plenty of good cheer and a wonderful venue meant that NSA Welsh Sheep 2015 was a truly memorable event.

Jointly hosted by Geraint and Morton Powell and their families, the day showcased some of the finest livestock farming Wales has to offer. Trade stands, show areas and seminars were packed and the rainclouds were enough to enable farmers to leave their work at home, while the intermittent spells of sunshine lifted spirits.  The organisers were well pleased with a day that has become one of the highlights of the UK farming calendar.

Paul Wozencraft, NSA Cymru/Wales Region Chairman, said: “We had an extraordinarily large attendance. The weather was a bit unkind in the morning, but we managed to park everyone up which was a big achievement. The stewards and all the helpers were exceptional. The event as a whole was absolutely fantastic, the atmosphere was buzzing, and we appreciate the Powells for letting us stage it here.”

Mr Wozencraft, who farms near Rhayader, said the central location had contributed to the success of the event. It had been ideal to locate it in mid-Wales, pulling in people from all over Wales and beyond.

Event Organiser Helen Davies added that it had been the best ever NSA Welsh Sheep, with record crowds and trade attendance. She thanked the sponsors and host farmers, saying that the weather added to the pressure but had a positive affect the gate.

The event was opened by Chris Dodds, Livestock Auctioneers Association Chairman, who voiced concern over the effects of devolution on livestock trading.  He also stressed the critical need for competition in the red meat industry.

He said: “One thing that a lot of farmers both in England and Wales are concerned about is the devolved governments drifting apart and making slightly different rules and regulations about sheep and cattle. There are  issues such as EID and bovine TB where we’ve got very clear differences between the WAG stance and DEFRA’s stance. I believe that we as auctioneers and the NSA as the sheep organisation representative body have a big part to play in pushing governments to try and implement regulations that have similar consequences on both sides of the border.

“We cannot, as an industry, have a situation where it is difficult to trade between England and Wales, simply because our governments want to introduce small, but very important, tweaks to their decision making.”

Generally, Mr Dodds said he was very optimistic about the sheep trade and confident that exports would remain strong, even though it was heavily dependent on the exchange rate. It was, though, critical to retain competition as the growing power of the supermarkets concerned him. He warned that they already had a lot of power in the beef trade.

He added: “I think it’s up to us as an industry that we manage to maintain the open, transparent and competitiveness that we have within our red meat sector. Approximately a third of all our sheep are exported as carcases, one third are consumed by the ethnic trade and the other third go into the supermarkets and larger retailers. I genuinely believe the market system offers you that and that we need to use it.”

The first ewe hogg show and sale to be held at an NSA Sheep Event was a huge success, with upland, lowland and continental class winners in the show. The highest price at the sale was achieved by David Pittendreigh, a previous NSA Cymru/Wales Chairman, who had 580gns for his pair of North Country Cheviots. He was followed by John Price, who had 500gns for his pair of Suffolks.