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Worm control for long-term productivity

The recent VMD reclassification of the 4-AD orange drench of wormer from vet-only prescription means it is now available from suitably qualified persons (SQPs) working in agricultural merchants.

The recent VMD reclassification of the 4-AD orange drench of wormer from vet-only prescription means it is now available from suitably qualified persons (SQPs) working in agricultural merchants.

 

Independent sheep consultant Lesley Stubbings says: “Good worm control is vital for the success of all sheep flocks.


“Having the orange drench more accessible this year is a great opportunity for the industry to stop, question and relook at what they do and why. Knowing your farms anthelmintic resistance (AR) status and getting the right strategy is essential.”

 

A worm is said to be resistant when it can survive exposure to a dose of an anthelmintic which would normally kill it.

 

Ms Stubbings says: “Unfortunately, despite the efforts of SCOPS and the industry, the use of new actives (groups 4 and 5) has been low, representing just 1 per cent of total wormer doses in the UK in 2015/16.

 

“This is too little to have any significant impact on the development of AR to other groups. Added to this is the fact that the situation with AR is getting worse year on year, with reports of resistance to the 3-ML group now becoming commonplace.

 

“Group 4 and 5 drenches have no known resistance in the UK and, while more sheep farmers are aware of AR, there is still a lot to do.”

 

Matthew Blyth, flock manager at Didling Farm, West Sussex, says: “At Didling we will be using the 4-AD (orange) drench this year on two occasions during the season. Firstly to help break the cycle of selection for wormer resistance to the three older groups – by using in the mid/late period of the grazing season, as a single treatment for lambs.


“This is to maximise growth rates from summer grass and has the added benefit of minimising selection for anthelmintic resistance.


“I talk to many farmers who report their lambs are not doing very well. This is often because the actives they are using are not achieving the control they expect.

 

“Secondly, we will be using the 4-AD drench as part of a quarantine treatment for all sheep coming on to the farm, we do try to minimise the amount of bought in stock. Those we do bring in this year will be treated with an orange wormer and an injectable for scab on arrival and then housed for 48 hours before being turned out on to dirty pasture. This will ensure no resistant worms are imported onto the farm.

 

“It can be very easy to drown in all the knowledge available. My advice would be to think about taking the opportunity to review your current system and to seek advice from your SQP, sheep consultant or vet and create and more importantly follow a flock health plan.”

 

Fiona Hutchings, technical vet at Elanco, says: “For maximum benefit, farmers should start to use the orange drench in these two ways now, even if they do not know the AR status to other groups on the farm.


“However, if sheep farmers are to get the best from their worming programme it is important they establish their status to groups 1, 2 and 3. The industry needs to optimise the use of anthelmintics and encourage the adoption of sustainable practices so the activity of other groups can be maintained for as long as possible.”


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More action needed against worm resistance More action needed against worm resistance

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