Internal parasite infestation is one of the single best indicators of animal health, productivity and performance.
Parasites can have an extensive negative impact on farm productivity and animal health and performance.
FECPAKG2 modernises the traditional microscope-based parasite testing method by replacing it with an internet-connected, image-based kit. By doing so, parent-company Techion says FECPAKG2 makes an invisible problem visible and more intuitive to manage.
It says the innovative diagnostic platform makes on-farm faecal egg count (FEC) testing easier and faster to do virtually anywhere, by anyone. Frequent, accurate worm egg count testing enables farmers to treat the right animals at the right time, with the right treatment and is an important decision-making tool for vets.
This was clearly demonstrated in the recent large-scale project conducted with Sainsbury’s. Most case study farmers in the Sainsbury’s Project reduced drench use by using FECPAKG2 to shift from scheduled drenching to drenching when animals needed it, saving time and money and lessening the risk of drench resistance.
Sheep farmer Rhodri Lloyd-Williams, Aberystwyth, had been monitoring on-farm FEC tests using FECPAKG2 since 2015 through his involvement in the Sainsbury’s project, but last year he decided to implement more testing.
Ewes are either wormed pre-lambing or given a fluke and wormer in mid-winter. But, he says, in 2018 he did not test FEC as regularly as he wanted/should have. The farm is a long-established organic farm, so parasite control is more challenging as Rhodri is limited in how often he can treat and more so with the choice of wormers he is permitted to use.
Wanting more insight, last year Rhodri submitted 19 tests throughout the season.
Results of lamb tests showed quite high burdens, seen early in June and September and coinciding with when most lambs were grazing in-bye fields which are more intensive.
No lambs were wormed between June and September due to low FEC levels. At weaning (end of July) FEC levels were low and weights/growth rates were satisfactory, so he decided not to worm them then.
When yearling ewes returned from their summer grazing in Cumbria in early October, they were looking extremely poor. The FEC tests indicated a surprisingly high worm burden, so this helped identify the cause of performance issue and this year Rhodri aimed to instigate more testing of these ewes while away on summer ground.
Part of the project was also to determine the efficacy of the four main classes of wormers.
A simple test was carried out in a controlled manner by Techion’s technicians, based on pre- and post-pooled samples and provided a good indication of effectiveness, with results highlighting a definite lack of efficacy among two groups of wormers.
Rhodri says: “As with most testing nothing is black and white, but it provides valuable information to help make treatment decisions.
I need to keep better records of treatments and comments against submissions. When looking back at data over the season it helps me realise that we still have a big parasite challenge here, which will be difficult to reduce under organic restrictions.”
Eurion Thomas, European Operations Manager Techion UK, took part in our free-to-attend webinar ‘Preserving the future of farming’, at 8pm on August 19. Farmers Guardian editor Ben Briggs spoke to New Zealand agritech businesses about the tech development work they are doing to address climate change and looking at the lessons UK farmers can learn from them.
Visit the series home page for more information