Rainfall has been extreme in some regions whilst the temperatures have rarely been close to seasonal averages. This is summer? As we move through July it looks as though we could be in, nationally, for a poor harvest. Come on.
Over the summer large numbers of stock are out grazing, growing and breeding. Lambs and calves are susceptible to parasites at grass, with gut worms often the main problem. Although this summer has proven kind to many sheep farmers the risk is ever present, especially when looking at additional infestations such as coccidiosis where losses can be subclincal. Undertaking regular faecal egg counting has shown to be time and labour saving alongside cost saving in terms of medicine purchase. Looking longer term there may even be the possibility of taking youngstock through a whole grazing season without any worming – although year by year this could change at farm level.
Flies, both nuisance and parasitic, are now the biggest problem on many farms with the damp spells apparently sparking mass hatching of fly eggs. The sudden increase in fly numbers over last couple of weeks has seen the sheer number overcome even the most trusted spot-on products. This in turn will see a rise in fly strike in sheep and lambs, whilst New Forest Eye in cows and calves is often the worst problem.
Last year the number of animals with bad New Forest infections was staggering. The damage that is often caused to the eye can be catastrophic in terms of welfare whilst the knock to daily liveweight gain can be considerable. Take care this summer with fly treatments – I would suggest applying as often as possible (following product data sheets) taking care to ensure a spot is targeted at the poll of the head, and consider adding a chemical impregnated ear tag to increase protection levels?