Increasing anthelmintic resistance on many farms and the unlikelihood of any new treatments being developed quickly means research into alternative methods is essential.

Research from SAC, Edinburgh, suggested Sanfoin hay can reduce faecal egg counts in lambs, compared with grass hay, explained Leyla Rios.

“Animals consuming Sainfoin hay had significantly lower FEC than those eating hay.

But, while intakes of sanfoin hay were always greater than intakes of grass hay, these increased intakes did not result in improved performance.”

Meanwhile, a study at the Agricultural Research Institute of Northern Ireland concluded that the inclusion of tannins, previously thought to offer anti-parasitic benefits, in commercial rations failed to achieve any worthwhile decrease in FEC in lambs at grass.

Increased tannin levels in concentrates also led to reduced concentrate intakes in lambs, largely due to reduced palatability of feed, said Lynne Dawson.

“But these reduced intakes didn’t lead to reduced liveweight gains.”

Results of this work indicate that tannins have a limited role in worm control in commercial situations, she added.