Dolygarn Farm Case Study

PARASITE MANAGEMENT PROJECT, DOLYGARN

"Although we must take the efficacy results with a pinch of salt, it really has opened my eyes to some of the issues we might have on farm with our wormer usage. Going forward I will have to be very selective and careful on which wormers I use."

Posted: Tuesday May 19, 2020

Name: James Powell

Farm Name: Dolygarn, Llanbadarn fynydd, Powys

Farm Type: Upland

Stock Numbers: 1000 Ewes + 1600 lambs, 200 Hoggets. 40 cows + 40 Calves

Land Area: 450 acres

 

Key Findings

  • Discovery of wormer inefficacy to all 4 groups.
  • 16 tests submitted from March to September.
  • Reduced wormer treatments across the board, but improved lamb performance.

 

Parasite Control History

The ewes at Dolygarn are normally treated before or at lambing, and within the last few years they have been treated with a Moxidectin injectable. They will have also been treated with a pre tupping wormer, normally a combination with a flukicide. As for the lambs their first dose would normally be a white dose as a targeted treatment for Nematodirus for lambs at 5/6 weeks old around mid-May. Last year the lambs were treated every 4 weeks with a Levamisole drench alongside a mineral drench. It’s worth noting that James had just had a hip replacement and had casual staff in to help, whereas in most years he would use some FEC’s post weaning with the hope to spread the interval out.

Below is a summary of the 16 results that were submitted. James did struggle to find time to use the FECPAKG2 system himself and get to grips with it and this was partially due to work developing another on farm enterprise during the summer. Most of the tests were carried out by Techion in their lab or during a refresher training course for him. James commented that he knew he should have done some more testing, but still found what we did helped a lot with worming decisions: -

Ewe FEC’s pre lambing confirmed that the three groups of singles came back either with no eggs or a very low count, the decision was made not to treat these groups.

For the 2 higher groups tested pre lambing, the decision was made to treat all the thin and triplet ewes and to only treat 80% of the fat twins.

As for the lambs we would have liked to see more tests through the season. But for the lambs that were tested it gave a good indication of whether they need treating or not. Then lessening the pressures on the anthelmintic groups to resistance.

Ewe FEC’s pre tupping show little or no counts with ewes in good condition. Therefore, a saving of a treatment here whereas historically James would have treated with a combination. (*A fluke treatment might still be needed)

 

Stock Performance

James has been overall very happy with this year crop of lambs. Although in late summer he has suffered a little with Pneumonia in some lambs. Worm burden and challenge in general over the summer has been relatively low and being able to use the FECPAKG2 kit has given James more confidence in not drenching the lambs. This has resulted in a big reduction in his wormer use, reducing product and labour costs. As for the ewes, he has been very happy with how they have performed, and seeing the low counts pre tupping has given him confidence in not treating with a combination wormer and just going in with a straight flukicide.

 

Wormer Efficacy

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 a concern as shows inefficacy to 4 out of the 4 wormers tested. Although these are reported with a high level of caution. As the day 1 pooled test were well below the recommended threshold of 500epg we would require for a confident result. But finding some eggs still present post treatment in each group would raise a big concern for the future use of these anthelmintics on this farm and we advise further tests to confirm this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The results for the white wormer and Levamisole didn’t come as too much of a shock for James as he had already conducted previous anthelmintic resistance (AR) testing for these groups. He had last tested the levamisole in 2016 as part of the Sainsburys project where it stood at 92%. Having come down to 60% already is maybe no surprise if the lambs were treated with a levamisole wormer regularly in the previous few years. As for the Moxidectin, maybe an overuse in ewes pre lambing where worming was not required has led to decrease of inefficiency to this group.

 

Future Advice

Due to evidence of multiple anthelmintic failure controlling parasites effectively in the future will be challenging. However, by continuing to regularly monitor FEC and working closely with the vet or SQP the situation can be managed. We advise the strategic use of the two 4th and 5th wormer groups (Zolvix and Startect) to ensure roundworms are controlled effectively in the future. However, we must be careful of these two groups and only use when necessary so we don’t develop resistance to them as it could happen very quickly. The use of the other groups proved effective in the control of Nematodirus for James, with regular monitoring with the FECPAKG2 these parasites can be controlled with confidence with these 4 group of wormers. A targeted approach to parasite management on this farm will be critical in the years to come. The recommendation for James would also to follow the SCOPS guidelines on quarantine treatments and use the Group 4 (Zolvix) or Group 5 (Stratect) on any new incoming stock onto the farm.

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.


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