To Treat or Not To Treat?

Parasite watch header

To treat or not to treat?

Should farmers treat their animals? As we move into an increasingly wet and humid summer, do you know the parasite burden in your area? Farmers should be wary that 2016 will not be a repeat of 2015, where parasite burdens were at a record low. In a very short time, Zoetis have seen full fly traps pretty much everywhere, starting very early in Dorset and then moving up the country and Nematodirus showing a very similar pattern, with high counts early in the season. Other diseases, such as Coccidiosis, have shown to have had a big impact on lamb rearing. To read the June addition of Parasite Watch, click here.

Evidence-based help from #parasitewatch

Clearly, effective control of internal parasites, without spending money unnecessarily on over-using wormers, can help improve lamb growth rates and get them away early. As previewed Zoetis_tm_4cin the previous Zoetis newsletter, a localised early warning system using farm-based intelligence hotspots to help sheep farmers make more timely, evidence-based parasite control decisions has been launched by Zoetis.

Parasite Watch is based on a nationwide network of farms providing diagnostic samples through the summer. From these, real time information is available to farmers about parasite challenges in their local area. The system is already generating live information on the challenge from four key parasite types:

  • Gastrointestinal worms – regular faecal egg counts (FECs) and growth rate monitoring to check for the onset of parasitic gastroenteritis.
  • Nematodirus – regular FECs, weather data and other sources to give an indication of disease risk on sentinel farms.
  • Liver Fluke – using risk and weather data, coupled with regular sampling on Parasite Watch farms, to provide early notice of predictable threats.
  • Flies – data from Parasite Watch farms to prompt early warnings, possibly before it is noticeable around livestock, that fly populations are multiplying quickly.

Veterinary Perspective

Zoetis veterinary consultant, Dave Armstrong, says the aim of Parasite Watch is to promote timely decisions by farmers, in conjunction with their SQP animal health adviser or vet, to treat or indeed not treat.

The data collection process is led by Zoetis vets, who will also provide commentary and early warnings of parasite outbreaks and advice on challenges that could threaten sheep wellbeing and productivity.

In addition to data, Mr Armstrong says Parasite Watch farmers have also agreed to share their observations via Twitter. “Our aim is to create a resource of real-world and real-time sheep farming information that can help improve health and welfare decisions, and sheep enterprise productivity,” he says.

An advisory blog has also been created here where surveillance results and topical guidance will be posted. One of its early postings says, “2015 was a record low year for parasite outbreaks, but 2016 is unlikely to be the same. It is crucial not to get complacent.”

If you have any concerns about the parasite numbers in your area and are looking for effective solutions to protect your flock, speak to your local SQP animal health advisor in store today.

For further information please contact your veterinary surgeon, SQP or Zoetis UK Ltd, Walton Oaks, Dorking Road, Walton on the Hill, Tadworth, Surrey, KT20 7NS. Customer Support 0845 3008034. Always seek the advice of your medicines provider. Use medicines responsibly AH152/16.

Fly Population Control

Spotinor Range

Stay on top of fly populations on farm to protect livestock productivity and welfare

Flies can be a costly nuisance to the UK’s cattle and sheep population. In addition to the irritation caused, flies can also transmit a number of diseases, causing both financial and welfare concerns. An effective plan for control should be implemented to control the seasonal surge in fly population numbers, and prevent the development of associated diseases and related productivity challenges caused by these parasites. Fly problems can occur any time between April and November, depending on weather conditions and geography.

There are many risks of not treating flies and external parasites on cattle and sheep, which include reduced milk yields of up to 20%1, increased incidence of summer mastitis, reduced calf weight gain and reduced reproduction in sheep.

In addition, flies are implicated in a variety of serious diseases, for example they can transmit New Forest eye in cattle and sheep.

Did you know?

  • It only takes 10-20 head flies to have a negative economic impact on farm2.
  • The horn fly will feed on blood from cattle up to 40 times per day – this could lead to blood loss and constant irritation for the animal2.

The Spot-on Solution for Cattle and Sheep

Spotinor is a Deltamethrin spot on treatment which is easy to apply and the simple dosing negates the need to weigh animals before treatment and so saves time and labour. It is barely absorbed through the skin; 72% of the active ingredient remains on the skin of the animal, in the place where it is needed most.

Spotinor Features and Benefits

Spotinor_logoSpotinor_ Range

  • Easy dosing- no need to weigh
  • One product for cattle, sheep and lambs
  • Aids prevention of ticks in young lambs
  • Options for dosing- squeeze pack or backpack and gun
  • Zero milk withdrawal in cattle
  • 17 day meat withhold for cattle
  • 35 day meat withhold for sheep

For more information on Spotinor, please contact your local SQP in store or speak to your local Wynnstay representative.

1 Taylor, B.D. et al. Economic Impact of Stable flies (Diptera Muscidae) on Dairy and Beef Cattle production. J. Med. Entomol 2012, 49(1)
2 Walt, R. and Shearer, D. Veterinary ectoparasites, second edition (2001)

Written by: Ceri Jones

Information provided by Norbrook Animal Health

Grass Watch May 2016

Grass Watch Report – 27 June 2016

Grass Watch Logo

Grass Watch Report – 27 June 2016

There has been a small decrease in grass growth this week to 70 kg DM/ha/day, down 1 kg DM/ha/day compared to last week. The recent wet weather conditions have impacted on grass dry matter, which has fallen to 15.6%. The decreasing grass dry matter has maintained pressure on potential grass DMI, which has fallen to 11.3 kg/day. The fall in DMI coupled with a drop in grass ME of 0.4 MJ/Kg DM has impacted on the potential milk yield from grazing, which has fallen by 3 litres to M+ 9.2 litres per day.

Although the average potential milk yield from grazing has fallen to M+ 9.2 litres there is a large range in the data from -8.4 to 25.8 suggesting a large range in grass availabilities, it will therefore be important to assess the situation on individual farms to ensure that supplementary feeding is correct and objectives are achieved

Summary by Steve Brown, Report Supplied by Trouw Nutrition

Download Full Report: Grass Watch 27th June 2016

Grass Watch May 2016

Grass Watch 13th June 2016

Grass Watch report for 13th June 2016

Grass Watch Logo

Grass growth has continued to fall, dropping to an average this week of 65kg DM/ha/day, down 14kg DM/ha/day from last week.

Monitoring grass supply closely continues to be important to ensure potential shortfalls are identified as early as possible and adjustments to the rotation and supplementation can be made.

However, at present grazing availability is holding up and predicted milk yield from grazing has stayed similar to last week at M+ 14.9 litres.

This is associated with similar dry matter (18.6%) and ME (11.6 MJ/kg DM) but the average crude protein content of the grass samples this week has increased from 20.77% last week to 22.10%, this is slightly higher than the 6 year average of 21.27%.

The temperature and humidity index has increased this week to 71, this is on the borderline of high stress. If the current temperatures and humidity levels continue there is the potential to impact on aspects such as DMI, fertility and milk constituents.

Interestingly the higher heat stress value may be a factor in an increasingly reported issue on some farms where higher milk freezing point depression values (values closer to 0oc) are leading to milk rejection on the grounds of ‘water’ addition.

This can be a particular problem with cows at grazing that have a limited access to water causing dehydration, and then rapidly rehydrating when water access becomes available.

Summary by Steve Brown, Report Supplied by Trouw Nutrition

Download Full Report: Grass Watch 230616

Grass Watch May 2016

Grass Watch Report – June 2016

Grass Watch report for 3rd June 2016

Grass Watch Logo


Grass growth has started to slow, falling 21kg DM/ha/day to an average of 79kg DM/ha/day.

Declining growth rates will mean that it will be important to monitor grass supply closely to ensure potential shortfalls are identified as early as possible as the summer progresses.

We are fast approaching the summer solstice and daylight hours are still increasing leading to an increase in the potential grazing hours available.

Predicted grass DMI has risen by 1.8kg DM/day to 13.5kg DM.

This has underpinned an increase in the potential milk yield from grazing, from M+ 10.8 litres/day last week to M+ 14.9 litres/day this week. This is driven by grass availability and grazing hours in daylight as grass quality is lower than the seasons average with ME at only 11.4 MJ/kgDM.

The higher NDF content and NutriOpt Fibre Index will help support butterfat.

The average crude protein content of the grass samples sent into the Trouw Nutrition GB lab has fallen slightly from last week to 20.77%, which is close to the 6 year average of 20.94% for this time of year.

Summary by Steve Brown, Report Supplied by Trouw Nutrition

Download Full Report: Grass Watch 030616

Grass Watch May 2016

Grass Watch – May 2016

Grass Watch Update for Week Commencing 13th May 2016

The improved temperatures this week have increased average grass growth rate, which has accelerated to 81 kg DM/ha/day up 40 kg DM/ha/day from last week. The increased temperatures have also seen the temperature humidity index increase to 71, this is the upper limit for mild heat stress.

A combination of a reduction in the average Dry Matter from 21.3 % to 19.3 % and average Est ME from 12.01 MJ/Kg DM to 11.83 MJ/kg DM this week has seen the potential milk yield from grazing fall by 4.2 litres per day down to M+11.6 litres.

This highlights the influence that changes in grass dry matter has on bite dry matter weight, intake and ultimately potential milk yield from grazing. The falling ME also highlights that close attention should be given to silage crops and cutting date to strike a balance between both yield and quality.

This week’s Crude Protein level at 21.1% continues to remain lower in comparison to last year at 22.4% and the 6 year average of 23.5%. This may reflect alterations in normal fertiliser applications due to the challenging conditions experienced over the last few months.

Download Grass Watch Update (pdf).

Supplied by Trouw Nutrition

Managing Worm Threat in 2016

One thing’s certain about 2016 worm threat: It’s unpredictable!

From most areas of the UK, feedback suggests that last year was one with low to moderate roundworm burdens, according to Zoetis vet Dave Armstrong. “Where this was identified using good diagnostics,” he says, “economies from using fewer wormer treatments were possible with manageable risk rather than a fingers crossed approach.

Ad-lib Feeding – Colostrum

Colostrum is often described as ‘liquid gold’ as the fuel for life. One secret to rearing healthy lambs, and for future production, is to make sure each lamb receives enough colostrum. Ad-lib feeding can often see lambs perform and grow better than they would had they been left on their mothers.

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