Worm control and the development of an effective worm control plan for sheep farms comes down to understanding of what is happening on individual farms throughout the year, that includes the farm structure, stocking density, management facilities available, and being aware of potential anthelmintic resistance issues.
Understanding what is happening on each individual farm helps inform conversations around worm control planning. Points to consider include:
Anthelmintic products used previously and frequency of use; Grazing regimes – set stocking or rotational grazing, mixed grazing or species-specific grazing, Onset of the Nematodirrus hatch, Spring rise of worms, Fly control, Pre-tupping and Pre-lambing.
Conducting faecal egg count (FEC) tests will help to build up a picture of which parasites are posing an issue, to determine the need to worm and highlight certain pastures that may be more at risk at key times.
At Fane Valley Stores we would recommend conducting Faecal Egg Count tests on lambs prior to worming to ascertain if there is a need to worm and when this is determined we further recommend another test 10 to 14 days post worming (depending on product used) to check how effective the wormer has been. On farms checking for worm burdens in lambs every three to four weeks throughout the grazing season is good practice.
Currently it costs only £10 for a test and that is money well spent considering it may save in wormer costs if they are not required. Importantly though, it will help our Registered Animal Medicines Advisors prescribe the most suitable wormer for individual farms and in many cases reduce the frequency of worming. The importance of this is that all the licensed wormers fall into one of only five wormer groups and reducing potential parasite resistance to wormer groups on farms through unnecessary treatments is vital.
FEC tests are an essential part of a worm plan to give farmers an accurate understanding as to what is happening on their farm. They ensure a targeted approach to worm control, treating the right parasite, at the right time and with the right product.
Other factors to consider when putting together a worm control plan include accuracy of dosing to the correct weight of the animals, accuracy of application, handling equipment, animal husbandry and grassland management.
Currently Fane Valley Stores have four stores that offer Faecal egg count test facilities, Ballycastle, Claudy, Lane Ends and Omagh.
For further information and advice, please contact your animal health provider.
Pictured: Eimear McGovern – Omagh Store Manager, with NEW FECPACK testing kit available in-store.