FarmSkills is an agricultural training programme run by XL Vets Training Services which first started in 2009.  It was increasingly recognised that there was a demand for the teaching of practical skills to people engaged in the livestock sector of farming.  We at Northvet, as part of the XL Vets group, are able to offer a range of courses.

FarmSkills courses are designed to put the farmer first, finding out what you know now and what you would like to know to improve your business.   The topics covered are varied and very much demand led so please let us know if there are any particular areas you would like us to cover. 

The courses are taught by our vets who themselves have undergone training to become LANTRA approved instructors.  The courses are designed for small groups of 4-8 people so there are plenty of opportunities for people to take part in the practical sessions.  They are open to everyone and are held at our training centre in Harray or on farm as appropriate.  We run both full and half day courses. 



Lambing - Full day

For anyone wanting to know how to care for lambing ewes, recognise the signs of lambing, how to deliver lambs correctly, correct problems and resuscitate the newborn lamb. Also looks at the facilities and equipment needed at lambing time. A practical class using a lambing simulator with classes of 4-6 people.




Calving - Full day

For both experienced and inexperienced farmers, this practical course looks at the birth process and some of the problems likely to be encountered. It shows how to recognise and correct calving problems and when to call in professional help. Resuscitation of the newborn and correct use of equipment and drugs are also covered. As it is a practical course using a simulator, numbers are restricted to 4-6 people.

Care of the newborn calf – Half day

One of the biggest causes of production losses are associated with the death of calves during and immediately after birth. This course explains what factors affect the calf’s viability during birth and what methods can be used to help resuscitate the newly delivered calf. It looks at the challenges a calf faces from its environment, nutrition and disease and how they can be influenced. The role of colostrum and how to assess its value on farm is demonstrated. A fun and interactive course that is essential for both the experienced and novice stockman.


Sheep Disease part 1 - Half day

White wormers or orange wormers? Nematodirus or Haemonchus ? Drench or injection? Confused? – Then this is the course for you. This classroom based course will give you a better understanding of the different types of parasites in sheep, what drugs to use and how to control the problem in your flock.


Sheep Disease part 2 -  Half day

This course looks at control and prevention of some of the other common major infectious sheep diseases. It looks at skin parasites such a lice & scab. Control of infectious abortion such as EAE & Toxoplasmosis.  How vaccines work and their correct use for preventing Clostridial diseases and Footrot.


Cattle mobility and foot trimming - Full day

This course will cover:  normal bovine locomotion and how to recognise lameness;  the anatomy of the bovine foot;  how to recognise the causes of foot lameness;  equipment and facilities required for foot trimming;  application of the theoretical knowledge of preventative trimming practically.  The day will be split between a theory session and a practical session.


Understanding Johnes Control – Half day

This course is aimed at those who are actively engaged in preventing or controlling Johnes disease on their farm. The aim of the course is to give a better understanding of the disease mechanisms involved in Johnes disease and how they can be used to develop specific control measures to be used on your farm. It looks at the various tests being used, biosecurity measures and other risk factors. By the end of the course you will be able to formulate a Johnes control Health Plan that is based on your own farm’s situation.


Safe & Effective use of Antibiotics and Medicines on Farm – Full day

There is increasing pressure on farmers from supermarkets and consumers to use drugs correctly and effectively. This course covers equipment for dosing, how to correctly calculate and administer dosages, withdrawal periods and residues. It teaches how to recognise common disease conditions and what is the best treatment for them. It also looks at when antibiotics should be used, when they shouldn’t and why they sometimes appear not to work. Primarily aimed at the beef and sheep farms.  After completing this course you will have a better understanding of diseases and treatments and be able to apply this knowledge more effectively.


Understanding Minerals, Trace Elements & Supplements - Half Day

this course gives a better understanding of common mineral and vitamin deficiencies seen in Orkney livestock production.  It looks at the importance of different minerals, the causes and symptoms of deficiencies and the various methods used to prevent and correct them.


Common Ailments of Backyard Poultry - Half Day

This course is an informative overview for the hobby hen keeper or those new to keeping hens.  It focuses on hen health and looks at what health problems could come their way.


All of our courses are delivered by LANTRA approved trainers and therefore qualify for training grants under the LMO scheme.  Part funding may be available through Skills Development Scotland depending on your eligibility.


Course Dates:


Tuesday 27th February - Safe & Effective Use of Antibiotics and Medicines on Farm

Friday 2nd March - Calving

Tuesday 6th March - Care of the Newborn Calf

Thursday 8th March - Lambing

Friday 9th March - Understanding Johnes Control

Tuesday 13th March - Sheep Diseases Part 1 - Worm and Fluke Control

Tuesday 20th March - Calving

Wednesday 21st March - Care of the Newborn Calf

Friday 23rd March - Lambing

Tuesday 27th March - Sheep Diseases Part 2 - Footrot, Orf, Waterymouth etc

Thursday 29th March - Lambing


Refreshments and/or lunch will be provided. 


Please contact us as soon as possible on 771444 to book a place.


Course Fees:

Full day  (10.00am – 3.00pm) - £80.00 + vat

Half Day (10.00am – 1.00pm) - £40.00 + vat