Network of Associates

Mark Spilman
Mark Spilman BVSc, MVM, MRCVS

Mark was born and bred in North Yorkshire, growing up on a mixed livestock/arable farm. He qualified from Liverpool Vet School in 2006 and joined Bishopton straight from university having seen practice there. After 3 years in practice at Bishopton Mark spent a year in New Zealand to widen his knowledge and experience of block calving and grass-based systems. Mark returned to Bishopton following his time in New Zealand and became a partner in 2018. Mark's main interests lie in herd health and cattle reproduction. He is advanced breeding director for RAFT Solutions Ltd, performing embryo work, bull fertility assessments and semen collections. He leads the SemenRate laboratory at RAFT, and was awarded a Master in Veterinary Medicine (MVM) for work looking at AI in cattle and objective semen analysis.

Neil Eastham
Neil Eastham BVSc, DBR, NSch, MRCVS

Neil joined Bishopton Veterinary Group in July 2007 after graduating from Liverpool University. An upbringing on a dairy and sheep farm in Lancashire played a large role in him deciding to specialise in farm animal work.

Neil is actively involved in the delivery of Bishopton's dairy, beef and sheep health schemes and enjoys all aspects of veterinary work. Neil's main interests are fertility and dairy genetics. He is actively involved in the delivery of specialist advanced breeding techniques (ET and OPU/IVF), as well as working with clients to utilise female genomic testing. Neil has achieved his Diploma in Bovine Reproduction from Liverpool University and was awarded a Nuffield Farming Scholarship in 2018 to explore how UK dairy farmers could benefit from the use of genomics.

Phil Alcock
Phil Alcock BVetMed, CertCHP, DipRN, MRCVS

Phil's interests involve all aspects of cattle work in particular herd health management, nutrition and lameness control. As a founding director of RAFT Solutions, Phil is principally interested in livestock skills development and is very active in farm training initiatives and knowledge exchange. This training interest led to the establishment of the national ‘FarmSkills’ programme delivered by XLVets in the UK. Phil has provided technical input for a variety of industry bodies including pharmaceutical companies, milk recording organisations, milk and meat processors, feed companies and the AHDB and has contributed across a wide range of the farming press. He holds the RCVS Certificate in Cattle Health and Reproduction, a Diploma in Ruminant nutrition from Harper Adams University College and is a licenced Category 1 foot trimmer.

Nigel Woolfenden
Nigel Woolfenden BVSc, MRCVS

Nigel qualified with honours from Liverpool University in 1986, after which he moved to Ripon and Bishopton to work in mixed large animal practice. Over the following years he quickly became an integral member of the pig team and moved to 100% pig work from 1993. He is a past president of both the Pig Veterinary Society and the Yorkshire Veterinary Society; he is a current member of the Pig Health and Welfare Council; he is the Food Futures director for RAFT Solutions Ltd, and he is part of the delivery team for a large number of pig production research projects. His main interests are preventative medicine, training on farm, and the management of health.

Duncan Berkshire
Duncan Berkshire MA, VetMB, MSc, CertPM, FRCVS, RCVS Advanced Practitioner in Pig Medicine

Duncan joined the pig department at Bishopton in 2009 having previously worked extensively with pigs in Yorkshire since graduation. He qualified from Cambridge Vet School in 2004 and obtained his Masters in Livestock Health and Production with the Royal Veterinary College while in practice. Duncan also holds the RCVS Certificate in Pig Medicine. Improving herd health and reproductive physiology are particular areas of interest, along with farm based investigations to introduce preventative medicine programmes on unit. He is a past President of the Pig Veterinary Society and is currently Honorary Treasurer. In 2020 he was awarded a Fellowship of the RCVS.

Nigel Penlington
Associate Partner
Nigel Penlington CEnv, MSc, HND, MIAgrE, FACTS
Associate Partner

Qualified from Harper Adams Agricultural College as an Agricultural Engineer. A three year period in Saudi Arabia followed, managing an irrigated farm growing wheat and potatoes. On return to the UK went on to gain an MSc from Cranfield University (Silsoe), also in Agricultural Engineering, specialising in soil and water.

A spell working for a land drainage contractor followed before moving on to join ADAS as a Farm Mechanisation Consultant. During 13 years with the Company specialised in livestock manures and slurries their management, handling and utilisation, as well as odours, bio-aerosols, soil management and other environmental pollutants from agriculture. During the FMD outbreak of 2001 was seconded to Defra in the Midlands taking responsibility for ensuring sites were cleaned without causing pollution and in a cost effective manner.

When pig farmers were facing having to apply and comply with environmental permits joined the Meat and Livestock Commission (MLC) to navigate the sector through the challenges in partnership with Defra, EA and other stakeholders. This and other environmental challenges including sustainability, improving farm animal welfare and a diminishing technical skill base in the Industry, lead to the creation and expansion by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) of its Environment and Buildings Team which Nigel lead. The Team went on to be recognised for its work, particularly in the fields of ammonia and livestock buildings. H

e is now an independent consultant Solutions to improve agricultural performance to deliver sustainability, environmental compliance, and animal welfare.

Roger Govier
Associate Partner
Roger Govier
Associate Partner

Roger graduated from Reading University in 1967 with an Honours degree in Agricultural Economics and Business Management. Following a number of years working for a firm of Agricultural Consultants he joined a subsidiary of Dalgety Agriculture called Pig Improvement Company which was the largest pig breeding organisation in the world carrying out genetic selection to produce leaner faster growing pigs to meet the demands of the market, as well as being more profitable for the producer.

He joined as Production & Development Manager but quickly rose up through the company to become its UK General Manager. On leaving that company, Roger established his own pig farming business and continued to provide consultancy services to the pig industry, including the Meat & Livestock Commission.

Roger bought his first desktop computer in 1978, and taught himself to program and created a program to manage the records for his business. He soon found that other producers wanted to buy his software and he moved increasingly into the world of IT.

In 1982 he took his software products and joined a small software company as Commercial Director. In this role he was instrumental in the company being awarded the Royal Warrant as suppliers of Computer software to HM Queen Elizabeth II.

In 1996, Roger set up his own IT Consultancy business, Technology 4 U, and having worked with every spreadsheet since the introduction of Visicalc in 1978, he has worked with every version of Excel through to the current Office 365 versions.

His extensive business experience, coupled with his detailed knowledge of Excel and all of its functions has allowed Roger to easily understand the problems of his clients worldwide, and to build models and develop solutions for them, including the automation of many systems through writing code with VBA. In addition to all the functions of Excel, Roger was an early adopter of Pivot Tables and has enjoyed working with the newer Power Pivot, Power Query and Power BI products to derive solutions for clients.

Over the years Roger has spoken at numerous conferences on Excel in the UK and in Europe as well as Australia and New Zealand.

He has also trained hundreds of employees at various companies to improve their knowledge and efficiency in using Excel in their day-to-day work.

In 2007, Microsoft recognised his extensive knowledge of Excel and his work in helping other users to better understand the product and they invited him to become a Most Valuable Professional (MVP). This is a one-year award and Roger has been re-awarded each year since then and has just had notification that he has been re awarded until July 2022. He is one of around 120 people worldwide to hold such an honour and one of just 4 people in the UK.

Ines Adriaens
Ines Adriaens

Passionate about animals and technology, I develop tailored, data-based solutions for the livestock sector. My current expertise is in statistical (time-series) modelling of sensor data of dairy cows, including all the mining and editing of real-farm data. Topics I have worked in previously include Fertility monitoring, Resilience and Robustness, Udder health and Milk production dynamics.