Northumberland firm helping new-born lambs get a healthy start in life

Stockmax pine shavings.Stockmax pine shavings.
Stockmax pine shavings.
For sheep farmers, reducing the loss of lambs to E. Coli infections like watery mouth and scour, whilst minimising the use of antibiotics is a priority.

Pine shavings made by Belford-based Bedmax which offer a naturally antibacterial and highly effective alternative bedding solution have now received international accreditation.

The BETA NOPS bedding badge certifies that it conforms to the current best practice in minimising the risk of contamination by naturally occurring substances which can be harmful to livestock.

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Straw bedding traditionally used in lambing pens is a common source of contamination by pathogens and naturally occurring harmful substances, and damp conditions are ideal for bacterial reproduction.

In recent years, farmers have recognised the need to look at new ways of effectively managing disease spread and reducing antibiotic use to increase efficiency and profitability.

The switch from straw to Stockmax pine shavings in lambing pens has helped a growing number of farmers do just that.

Tim Smalley, managing director at Bedmax which produces Stockmax, said: “Producing a bedding product for farmers that is going to help them reduce disease, and also reduce antibiotic use, has been a priority since we began Stockmax production.

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“Unlike feeds and supplements, you don’t get a list of ingredients on a bag of bedding or a bale of straw, so it’s important to know that the manufacturer has taken steps to ensure the product does not contain harmful substances.

“There is also a growing focus on producing food in a more sustainable way, and biosecurity plays a key role in this. Pine is naturally antibacterial and so is extremely hygienic, helping farmers to keep their lambing pens as clean as possible and producing healthier lambs.”

Bedmax has carried out years of intensive research into the antibacterial power of pine which has highlighted just how successful it is at fighting E. Coli.

In 2016 an independent study commissioned by Bedmax and conducted by Dr Kelly Yarnell at Nottingham Trent University found that, while E. Coli survived in significant quantities in straw, it remained below the minimum level of detection in pine shavings.

Another comparison study commissioned by Bedmax in 2018 showed 18% more lambs survived on pine shavings than on straw over the first 48 hours of life.

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