Top tips to prepare for shearing during the coronavirus pandemic

There may be delays to normal shearing service due to coronavirus and social distancing measures. Use this advice to prepare and plan.

While some have already begun their 2020 shearing, others are only just beginning to think about it. If you fall into that latter category, please use the following advice to help you prepare and remember there may be delays due to coronavirus and social distancing measures.

  • Contact your usual shearer in good time to confirm the number of sheep to be sheared this year and their availability. Remember – with little or no shearers coming from overseas this year, some contractors may have lower capacity than usual. If there is an issue with your usual provider see the NAAC list for contractors or NSA list for local shearers in your area
  • Ensure you have a comprehensive plan for bringing outside shearers onto your farm. For a sensible template, look to the NAAC’s industry agreed checklist. Remember, due to social distancing guidelines, normal shearing service may be slower than usual – but ensuring you maintain social distancing is vital
  • Due to the above, it is possible shearers may be later coming round. Consider the flystrike risks for your farm and decide if a preventive treatment would be beneficial, or if dagging or crutching dirty animals might be necessary. Be even more vigilant on your daily checks to identify strike early
  • If the weather is warm, ensure there is shade in the fields and consider the heat stress factors for the sheep. Do routine tasks early morning or later in the day when it is cooler
  • Limit contact with external shearers by only having the necessary labour to support the shearers present. Do not bring family in to the shearing area whilst shearers are present
  • Offer hand washing and changing facilities to shearers where possible – this will allow them to enter your farm in fresh clothes with clean hands to help limit the spread of any germs that may be present
  • Please do not send in wool that has been damaged by Fly Strike.  Fleeces containing maggots are likely to damage other wools
  • Remain alert to the risks – shearing is a necessary task, but all involved must carefully observe the guidance to ensure disease isn’t spread into farming communities

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