3 April 2019

 

Internal parasites are one of the most common and important diseases that livestock farmers have to deal with on a daily basis. The Parasite Management Project will be monitoring parasite burdens on 10 farms across Wales and will report the findings on a regular basis to keep farmers updated on progress and the action taken to manage and monitor parasites.

The project will focus on the gastro internal parasites (roundworms) and regular faecal egg counts will be used to monitor worm burdens in both sheep and cattle.  As well as reporting on the burdens found through the season, the project will also report on any changes to worm control on farms such as timings and choice of wormer treatments.

The project will be managed by Techion who have vast experience in parasite control and each farm will have access to the FECPAKG2 platform which is technology that allows on farm FEC testing through submitting a digital sample image online for analysis and results reported back by email. As the system automatically collates the animal and FEC information online, it is easily available for reporting to the wider farming community. Results can be automatically copied to the farm’s vet to help with further advice and fit in to the farm’s herd and flock health plans.

Each of the farms will receive bespoke advice and recommendations from the SCOPS and COWS initiatives. Where possible each farm will test for wormer resistance / efficacy and this will enable our host farms to manage situations where multiple resistance is present.

It has been widely reported that resistance in wormers used for sheep is now widespread. The findings from HCC’s WAARD project in 2015 showed 60% of study farms had resistance at some levels to all three of the common wormer groups (1BZ, 2LV, 3ML). (see full report here). 

“Roundworms are the 2nd biggest influencer on lamb performance (after nutrition) and therefore this extensive resistance should be considered as one the most important health challenges facing our industry” says Eurion Thomas of Techion. “The story in cattle is less clear as less work has been carried out on cattle farms, but regular blanket treatments of cattle is still common practice and something we need to reduce to delay the development of resistance to the cattle wormers and reduce reliance on medicinal treatments”

Despite good success in raising awareness, there has been a lack of real changes to on farm practices with majority of farmers not regularly monitoring egg counts and most do not know their wormer resistance status. This project will see if using technology to make FEC testing more accessible and easier to help buck this trend.

“Helping farmers to improve stock performance by better managing parasite burdens and resistance is one of the main objectives of this project” says Gwion Parry from Farming Connect. “At the same time, we need to consider moving the industry away from regular blanket treatments for worms. Farmers have shown the way by the fantastic progress in reducing the use of antibiotics and we hope through this project we can further provide farmers with the knowledge and tools to apply the same principles to anthelmintics (wormers).” 

The project will initially run for a 6-month period between March 2019 and September 2019.


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