Almost one in four cattle (24%) sent for slaughter at abattoirs across Britain in 2013 had their livers condemned as a result of liver fluke, Food Standards Agency (FSA) figures show.

This represents a rise of 5% in 12 months compared with 19% in 2012.

Scotland and Wales are worst affected and in these countries liver condemnations have risen to 32% and 27%, respectively.

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As a result beef farmers are being advised to treat cattle eight to 10 weeks post turnout to reduce pasture contamination.

Speaking to Farmers Weekly at the Beef Expo in Hexham on Thursday (22 May), Lynda Maris from Merial Animal Health said: “Treating now will kill fluke and help to ensure that the herd can take full advantage of the cheapest source of feed, namely grass. In addition a treatment at this time will reduce pasture contamination and the risk of infection later in the season.”

Farmers can choose to use a straight fluke product or they can chose a combination endectocide product which, as well as killing adult fluke, also has the advantage of providing persistent protection against roundworms.

For more advice on what flukicide products to use visit www.cattleparasites.org.uk