Fferm Carreg Plas Case Study

PARASITE MANAGEMENT PROJECT, FFERM CARREG PLAS

“I have learnt a lot about the importance of regular monitoring. It turns out worms aren’t as much of an issue for the farm as assumed and this has saved a lot of work and cost on unnecessary treatments. I still need to make more use out of it and get into the routine better, as weeks go past without realising and sometimes the gap between testing is too long. The more I use the FECPAKG2 system the easier it gets. I will definitely continue to monitor as it gives valuable insight”.

Posted: Wednesday May 20, 2020

Name: Ianto Pari

Farm Name: Fferm Carreg Plas, Aberdaron

Farm Type: Lowland

Stock Numbers: 150 Suckler Cows and calves and 150 youngstock, 300 ewe flock

Land Area: 111 hectares

 

Key Findings

  • Main focus of project is on cattle youngstock.
  • 13 tests submitted from March to October.
  • Significant reduction in treatments.

 

Parasite Control History

Young cattle in their 2nd grazing season are given a wormer approximately 3 weeks post turnout and then receive a further 2 wormers during the summer / autumn period. Spring born calves are weaned in September and normally wormed at housing in November. Ivermectin Pour-On is normally the wormer of choice for the cattle.

Ianto was also trialling rotational grazing as part of Farming Connect activities and they are trialling finishing a small group of 17 steers on grass instead of the normal housed system. Keeping track of parasite burdens coincides well with that project.

 

FEC Monitoring Results

Ianto submitted 13 samples using the FECPAKG2 system and the results are summarised in the table below.

Monitoring was mostly done on the R2 cattle (2nd season grazers). They were a mixed group of 41 heifers and 17 steers from turnout in Feb/March until mid-June and then split into a Heifer and steers group.

Decision was made to still give the cattle their 3/4 week post turnout pour on wormer as they did register a moderate egg count of 40epg 2 weeks before, and performance was only moderate.

From then there was a significant saving in worming for these cattle –

  • On 13th June – combined group a count of 60epg.
  • When heifers split and tested again their result was 0epg.
  • Decision was made to just treat the 17 steers with an oral Combinex wormer (2LV). The 41 Heifers weren’t treated.
  • Neither group have been wormed since as FEC levels were low and performance was good.

 

Normally all the R2’s would have received 3 Ivermectin Pour on’s in the same time period. Heifers only treated once, and steers treated twice.

Number of treatments saved = 41 Heifers twice and 17 steers once = 99 less cattle treatments.

Estimated cost saving if using Ivermectin Pour-on @£0.90 per animal = £ 90. Add to this the saving in labour and unnecessary stress in handling.

Following advice, Ianto also changed the choice of wormer after the initial Ivermectin Pour-on to using oral Levamisole for the 2nd wormer. According to Ianto, drenching yearling cattle is harder work than doing pour-on but it’s not much extra if it helps reduce risk of resistance to the ML group.

Calves were checked twice after weaning in September and October, as when they are still suckling they are slightly more protected from parasite challenges.

Although FEC’s were low in the calves these were treated in mid-October to cover Lungworm as there was an autumn problem last year with vulnerable calves and some signs of coughing. Users are always reminded that FEC will not pick up any lungworm infestations.

 

Wormer Efficacy

Unfortunately, the planned efficacy test couldn’t be completed due to low FEC levels throughout the season on the R2 and the low post weaning FEC in calves.

 

Stock Performance

After the first worming the R2’s have performed very well and have hit their target weights and look fantastic at the end of the season despite not being wormed since April. The fattening of the 17 steers on grass-based system was a trial this year and has gone very well with good performance. The average DLWG for these steers between the middle of February and middle of October was 1.03kg per day which is bang on target. Keeping a close eye on worm burdens was important as parasite challenge was one of the factors Ianto was worried could affect performance.

 

Future Advice

Continue the good work and keep monitoring and using that as the basis of treatments.

After the small trial this year it is planned to finish a much bigger group of steers off grass and as agreed, keeping track of parasite challenge will be important to ensure nothing is unknowingly impacting performance.

Don’t go back to the old policy of just relying on the easy option 3ML pour-on wormers. Keep changing between the 3 wormer groups when treating as this will help delay resistance development.

Make part of the routine and plan ahead – e.g. if planning to handle cattle at a certain date schedule that you do a test a day or two before.

Other on farm management strategies can help such as grazing management and using alternative forages in the pasture.

 


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