Posted: Wednesday May 20, 2020
Name: Irwel Jones
Farm name: Aberbranddu,Cwrt Y Cadno, Pumsaint Carmarthenshire
Farm type: Upland
Stock Numbers: 860 Ewes, 200 ewe lambs, 1400 lambs, 40 Suckler Cows and calves (sold as stores)
19 tests submitted from March to September
Generally good levels of wormer efficacy
No ewes wormed since Spring 2018
Irwel had been applying a lot of the SCOPS principles and advice to his parasite control policy for over 10 years now. This included FEC testing (using the original on farm microscope based FECPAK system) through the season to help decide when to worm, although this wasn’t maybe done as rigorously as it should have. Ewes were normally wormed in the spring at or before lambing and lambs were wormed for Nematodirus early in the season and then FEC testing would help determine treatment intervals from then on.
Moving away from the microscope-based method to the new image based online FECPAKG2 system meant Irwel was able to carry out FEC testing on a more regular basis as he found it much easier. Although he admits there were occasions, he could have done more tests. The results of the 19 samples he did submit are summarised here.
The ewe tests carried out pre and post lambing (March and April) showed very low FEC’s across multiple groups. This meant no ewes were given a pre or post lambing wormer and these hadn’t been wormed since the previous spring. The ewes were in very good condition and on good quality grass supplemented with a high-quality protein feed which means they could maintain their immune status despite the nutritional demands and stresses of parturition.
Lambs that were left on the farm by the end of September would have by then received their 3rd wormer.
However, the table shows fairly low FEC results in lambs throughout and maybe treatment interval could have been extended more for some groups.
An example of this is for the Welsh Lambs tested on 4th July which had comment ‘Drenched anyway as weaning’ despite only having a FEC of 175epg. In hindsight, Irwel commented he probably didn’t need to worm them.
Part of the project was to determine the efficacy of the four main classes of wormers. A simple efficacy test was carried out in a controlled manner by Techion’s technicians based on pre and post pooled samples. Although not as accurate as the gold standard full Faecal Egg Count Reduction Test (FECRT) it provides a good indication of efficacy. The results are summarised here, a full detailed report on the wormer efficacy was provided separately (see WormerCHECK report).
The results are generally very good and are the best out of all the farms which carried out efficacy testing under the PMP project. Although the Levamisole result shows only a 90% reduction (which is an ‘use with caution’ category) we had less confidence in this result due to low FEC test at day of treatment. Although resistance to white drench is confirmed, it still achieved an 82% reduction. Interestingly, the results very closely mirror the results we had from the wormer check test completed in 2016 under the Sainsburys FECPAKG2 project. It is encouraging to note that Irwel had already been applying some of the SCOPS principles and had been monitoring FEC (using the original FECPAK system) for over 10 years now. It’s a good sign that following the guidance over the years has helped protect against multiple resistance development.
Keeping a close eye on parasite burdens and using daily live weight gain data has enabled Irwel to treat at the correct time and this was seen with improvements in growth rates this year in some groups. The Welsh male lambs this year achieved growth rates of 170g / day on average since the 1st of August where the corresponding group in 2018 only achieved 100 g/day at that same time of year. Indeed, they have grown better than the crossbred lambs which achieved 140g/day growth over the same period. Despite this improvement, Irwel is still disappointed with post weaning growth rates, but continued low worm burdens means he will investigate other potential causes such as trace element issues.
Continue the good work and keep monitoring and using that as the basis of treatments. We advise the strategic use of the two new 4th and 5th wormer groups (Zolvix and Startect) to help maintain the efficacy rates at the current level. Other on farm management strategies can help such as grazing management, using alternative forages in the pasture and sheep bred for natural resistance against worms.