The Sustainable Control of Parasites in Sheep (SCOPS) group is continuing to offer its Nematodirus Forecast at no charge, providing a vital service for sheep farmers, vets and advisers to protect the health of lambs born this spring.

Nematodirus is one of the first parasitic challenges lambs face when they begin to rely more on grazed grass and less on their mothers’ milk, meaning the disease can often strike before they have any immunity.

This, coupled with the incredible speed that worm eggs can hatch if the weather favours them, means sheep farmers can face significant losses.

Mark Pass is a Registered Animal Medicines Adviser (RAMA) within Willow Farm Vets in Cheshire.

He said: “Nematodirus is a serious disease in lambs that can cause severe disease or even death.

"It strikes quickly and can cause disease before faecal egg counts become useful – so it’s important sheep farmers, RAMAs, vets and other advisers monitor the risk and treat quickly if diagnosis is confirmed.

“The SCOPS Nematodirus Forecast is an important tool in managing the risk. It predicts the level of challenge and time of hatching at locations throughout the UK and is updated daily.

"This is key, as it highlights when the risk is high in the local area and, used in combination with a farmer’s grazing history, can be used to proactively assess the risk of infection in clients’ lambs.