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Sheep update

As spring pushes on, you may have seen that the SCOPS nematodirus risk level for our area has now moved back down to 'low'. This means that in most cases, the spring hatch of nematodirus eggs has now happened, and the number of inefective larvae remaining present on the ground has dropped off.

While there may still be a bit of nematodirus lurking around on your farm, worm infections from now on are likely to be a mix of different worm species, rather than pure nematodirus.

Generally, white wormers are still effective against nematodirus. However, on about 95% of farms they are now ineffective against the various other worm species your lambs will be encountering from now on. As such, it would be unwise to rely on white wormers to treat your lambs against this season- unless you have carried out anthelmintic testing on your farm and have evidence to the contrary.

Carrying out wormer testing on your farm is a straightforward process, which gives you valuable information about the effectiveness of the main wormer groups against the parasites on your land. You will probably be aware by now that it can be carried out for free using SFI funding via the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway.

Among the farms which have carried out the testing using SFI funding so far, we have seen results typical of the national picture. White wormers have shown poor efficacy on most farms (with one or two exceptions), with varying effectiveness in the yellow and clear groups, depending largely on past usage and the effectiveness of the farms' quarantine protocols. The funding is set to continue for this year and next, with updates on other funded sheep testing in the pipeline for 2024.

We are always available to talk about what funded input is available to your farm, be it through the SFI or other channels. Be aware that the annual sponsored barren/aborted ewe testing for toxoplasma/enzootic abortion finishes for the year at the end of June- be sure to speak to your vet soon if you have eligible ewes which you want to get tested!


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