Tackling Scab - a farmer led approach
Sheep scab causes serious economic and welfare losses and costs the Welsh sheep industry an estimated £5.86m a year between costs of treatment and loss of production. A key issue regarding tackling scab within and across sheep flocks is the ease of infection from flock to flock, due to the challenges of biosecurity, which is of particular concern in extensive/upland grazing systems, and communally grazed areas. The best long-term solution to scab treatment is to eradicate the disease from Wales and the rest of Britain. The best chance we have of achieving this is if farmers take a collaborative approach to tackling the disease.
In this three-year project a group of farmers within the Ceulanmaesmawr parish, Talybont, North Ceredigion, investigated how working together, rather than a single farm effort, can improve the successfulness of scab treatment.
The project was able to:
- Increase the level of management, and knowledge of scab within the Ceulanmaesmawr area.
- Improve the communication and liaison between the farmers, as well as between farmers and their vets on the topic of scab identification and management.
- Show the benefits of using ELISA blood testing to detect early outbreaks of scab before clinical signs are present, allowing farmers to coordinate treatment of flocks with neighbours to ensure scab control on those farms.
- Increase the farmers understanding of flock specific infection routes, diagnosis methods, treatment options and the importance of monitoring for infection, even when there were no clinical signs.