Welsh farmers testing the way for effective worming treatments
Beef and sheep farmers are encouraged to determine the best time and way to treat a group of animals before using anthelmintic worming treatments.
Faecal Egg Counts (FEC) are a useful tool to help determine if treatment is needed, whether worming products are effective and it also provides key information on the pasture contamination on beef and sheep farms.
Philippa and Gareth Davies run a family farm in Llangeitho near Tregaron. On their 120ac lowland farm, they keep a flock of around 300 Easycare sheep and a herd of youngstock cattle.
“We’d done a bit with FEC sampling in the past, which led us to discover that the farm was resistant to White Drench,” explained Philippa.
“Once we started to do it ourselves, we ran tests on our ewes, rams, fat lambs and lambs being kept as breeding stock.
The results have helped us to decide whether to dose various groups or wait a fortnight and test them again. We quickly discovered that our ewes and rams didn’t need regular dosing, consistently returning zero counts.
“This has led to us using fluke-only products rather than combinations at key times of the year and only needing to worm around lambing time when immunity can be lower.
“Since taking our own FECs, we dose the lambs far less which saves us time and money and gives us a better understanding of the health status of our stock.
“If a lamb isn’t thriving, we can test it individually. If the individual lamb doesn’t have a worm burden, we can work with the vet to look at other causes.
FEC testing isn’t a glamorous job but the insight it can give you about the health of your stock and the savings it generates makes it worthwhile for us.
Through the Stoc+ project, HCC is encouraging farmers to take a proactive approach to animal health in order to enhance production efficiency and the profitability of the farm.
Farmers are encouraged to contact their vet to discuss FECs and any other testing they may want to carry out on the farm.
Stoc+ is one strand of the RMDP and is supported by the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.