The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) has launched a new manual to help farmers control liver fluke in grazing livestock, in a joint levy-body effort to control the disease.

AHDB, along with Meat Promotion Wales/Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC) and Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), produced the manual, which explores the latest research and advice on control practices in relation to liver fluke.

The manual aims to inform farmers on the potential animal health and welfare damage posed by the disease.

Using five farmer case studies from across the UK, the manual covers a variety of management systems and fluke rise levels.

Key areas covered are:

  • On-farm risk assessment to talk through with a vet;
  • Sustainable use of flukicides to reduce parasite resistance;
  • Farm management options to reduce fluke risk;
  • Reducing the impact that flukicides may have on the environment.

Animal health and welfare scientist, Dr. Bethan John, said: “Now is an ideal time to consider fluke risk on your farm.”

“As the risk of infection to grazing cattle and sheep peaks, evaluating which testing and control measures best suit your situation is key,” she said.

“With a viable liver fluke vaccine still yet to be developed, and the ongoing issue of anthelmintic resistance, this timely release brings together the latest evidence-based expert guidance for successful disease control.”

It is a welcome addition to our suite of resources which focus on sustainable parasite management.”

Programme delivery co-ordinator at HCC, Heather McCalman, said the manual was of importance to Welsh producers.

“As there are many parts of Wales that can be high risk for fluke due to unpredictable weather patterns, now is a good time to check the fluke status of the farm for both sheep and cattle,” McCalman said.

“This booklet includes good information on the use of the appropriate diagnostics tests and follow up management to keep livestock healthy, productive and profitable.”

The manual is available to view online on the AHDB website, or can be purchased in a hard copy form from the website too.