Passionate vet helps farmers with ‘all things wormy’

// Worms

Sarah Williams, a dedicated vet and Beef + Lamb New Zealand Wormwise Facilitator is thinking outside the box to help North Canterbury farmers get up to speed on effective parasite management.

image of Sarah Williams in yards with workshop members

Sarah says parasitism can be such a production limiting disease when we don’t manage worms well. 

“Many of our systems have traditionally relied heavily on drench to control worm populations. We are now entering a new era where we need to think differently about how we do things. The good news being, that there are lots of different ways to achieve the same goal, we just need to find the best fit for each individual system,” she says. 

“We need to brave and remember that with every challenge comes the hidden treasure of opportunity. 

“Farmers are the most resourceful people I know so I am confident that some good will come from the challenges we are currently facing with drench resistance,” she adds. 

Sarah is working with Kristin Kirkpatrick, B+LNZ North Canterbury and West Coast Extension Manager, to create a workshop called ‘All things wormy’, a fresh approach to delivering the key principles of B+LNZ Wormwise.  

Kristin applauds Sarah's commitment to supporting North Canterbury farmers. She says, “Sarah is constantly looking for creative and meaningful ways to help North Canterbury farmers gain knowledge and have support with Parasite management. She is all about creating the most impact through participatory activities, so knowledgeable and just all-round amazing.” 

B+LNZ’s first ‘All things wormy’ event is taking place in Waiau on 8 May.  

Sarah says, “We are aiming for the workshop to be interactive, thought-provoking and hopefully a little bit fun. My biggest challenge is to try and not fit too much information into such a short space of time. But that is one of the exciting things about worms, there is always more you could talk about!” 

The workshop truly covers ‘all things wormy’ from integrating refugia into grazing management, understanding faecal egg counts for decision-making, optimising pastures and nutrition, and right through to leveraging genetic selection. Attendees will also hear from Wairarapa farmer Sam Johnston, who successfully navigated triple drench resistance on his farm. Sam is also a member of the B+LNZ Research and Innovation Parasite Management Group. 

An important aspect of the workshop is getting attendees to hear from other farmers, so shoutout to Sam who is travelling to share his story about his journey so far changing parasite management on his property,” says Sarah. 

Tailored for farmers, this workshop aims to raise awareness, share expertise, and empower local farmers.  

Featured speakers include Sarah Williams, Glenn Judson (Agricom Animal Nutritionist), Kathryn McRae (AgResearch Senior Scientist), Sarah Powdrell, (B+LNZ Genetics Operations Specialist for Sheep), Sam Johnston (Wairarapa Farmer). 

 Registration is essential for this event. Learn more and register for the Waiau event here

Lookout for B+LNZ Wormwise events on our events calendar.

image of Sarah Williams

Sarah Williams, North Canterbury Vet and B+LNZ Wormwise Facilitator