NEWS IN DETAIL...
Healthy Livestock Launches Practical Sheep Parasite Control Strand
The Sheep Parasite Control strand of the Healthy Livestock (HL) was launched in March.
By Olivia Philp and Catherine Ede
It is being delivered through all the farm veterinary practices working with the Healthy Livestock Project across the south west. This strand will be separate, but complementary to the current sheep focus farm strand.
Currently the sheep element of the project is being run in a focus farm format; 18 focus farms have been set up across the region and serve as a basis for training events and discussion groups inviting other farmers the opportunity to attend free of charge. Each focus farm holds three meetings per year, incorporating case studies on the focus farms along with expert speakers discussing key topics within the sheep industry such as lameness, nutrition, breeding and parasite control. The events involve the farm vet with the support of the HL sheep vet and a sheep production specialist (provided through ADAS outside Cornwall). The aim is to demonstrate how improved animal health contributes to improved production and thus profitability.
Parasite control and anthelmintic resistance is a burden on today’s sheep farmers which was identified as a priority to the project. The separate, but clearly linked, Sheep Parasite Control strand creates an opportunity for sheep farmers to receive 1 to 1 sessions with their farm vet to help understand their own farms anthelmintic resistance status and parasite control strategy.
The strand will run in a similar way to that of the cattle BVD and Johne’s with an initial awareness meeting run by vet practices across the region and 1 to 1 farm visits to follow. An awareness meeting will cover SCOPS principles, anthelmintic resistance, the benefits and how and when to use faecal worm egg counts and the impact worm burden has on farm businesses. This meeting will allow farmers to be more aware of anthelmintic resistance and ways to counteract it by best practise and use of faecal egg counts. Those farmers wanting to proceed with the strand will benefit from 1 to 1 farmer: vet communication on farm where drench check’s will be carried out with the help of some diagnostic funding. From these results and the knowledge of the farm both the vet and farmer will create a sheep parasite control plan of which will be implemented on farm and reviewed.
This strand will act as a stepping stone for farmers to become aware of their own situation on their farm and put into place an action plan with their vet to tackle the situation. As with the focus farm programme, the aim is to boost sheep farmer/vet communication which is often reduced between a sheep farmer and vet compared to other livestock producers. For further details contact your farm vet or the Rural Business School.
The Healthy Livestock project is a Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) funded initiative, led by the Rural Business School at Duchy College. Healthy Livestock (HL) can provide up to 70 % funding towards health improvements for priority diseases. The project works with beef, dairy and sheep farmers throughout the south west of England with the aim to improve the health of the herds and flocks and therefore to improve profitability.