Whole-farm approach needed to manage internal parasites

With weaning about to get underway, now is an opportune time for sheep farmers to review their parasite management plan for the up-coming season.
Monday, 9 December 2019

Vet and Wormwise national spokesperson Simon Marshall, says many farmers routinely drench lambs at weaning and a ‘Drench Check’ (Faecal Egg Counts (FECs) carried out seven to 14 days after drenching) will give an indication of the efficacy of the drench they used and/or their drenching technique.

If there are still eggs present, and problems with drenching technique such as a faulty gun can be eliminated, then a FEC Reduction Test will be required to determine what drench families are still effective on their property.

He says a lot of farmers still don’t know the drench status of their farms and using ineffective drenches are not only a waste of money, they are not good for the long-term sustainability of the farm.

“Managing internal parasites is not as simple as just drenching lambs every 28 to 30 days, you need to look at the whole farm management.”

With the emergence of triple-drench resistance, he says it is important farmers take a holistic approach to managing internal parasites and make use of the range of tools available rather than relying solely on drenches.

These tools include using breeding, refugia, regular monitoring and the use of forage crops as part of a total management package.

Simon stresses that every farm and situation is different and variables such as the mix of livestock classes, irrigation, grazing management and seasonal variations will all influence the shape of an internal parasite management programme.

He recommends farmers seek advice from their animal health advisor, attend a Wormwise workshop or use the resources on the Wormwise website when putting together an internal parasite management plan. Farmers can also work through the Wormwise online module https://beeflambnz.com/knowledge-hub/module/wormwise-managing-sheep-and-....

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