This year AgriScot took its show and seminar offerings online and welcomed hundreds of visitors through its virtual doors. Hannah Noble reports.
‘Do not guess, test’, was the advice from Dave Bartley, Moredun, who was speaking on the importance of monitoring and controlling parasites in livestock.
He said the most obvious reason for monitoring and testing for parasites in cattle and sheep was to increase productivity and efficiency as most round worm species were production limiting parasites and resulted in a reduction in health and welfare.
He added that as a result of climate change and the increase in mild, wet weather the timings of parasite problems were
He explained: “We are starting to see nematodiris occurring in the autumn and haemonchus in areas we have not previously seen it.
“This means we really need to get a good handle on it.”
He said by identifying problems early it helped to reduce waste and also the carbon footprint of livestock by avoiding growth checks and an extended period on farm.
“By using the testing tools we can develop a risk map of what is happening on farm so we can identify areas where parasites or other pathogens are a problem.
“Finally we need to look at being able to maintain the effectiveness of treatments both now and for the future. We have products but we need to make sure we will still have them in the future.”
As for the range of diagnostic tools, in sheep there were fewer options than in cattle and they tended to revolve around egg counts and genotype studies.
He said serological and milk-based tests were able to identify whether or not there were parasites in cattle and whether they were causing damage. However, he added that faecal egg counts were equally as important for cattle as for sheep and the information they could provide on farm was often underestimated.
TAKING the Super Heifer of the Decade title was Bruchag Talent Evelyn jointly owned by the Lawrie family, Prestwick, and James McAlister, Bute, who bred her. It won the Supreme Heifer competition at AgriScot in 2015 and now in its fifth lactation has averaged over 11,000litres at 4.8 per cent fat and 3.7 per cent protein.