28 May 1999

Practical tips to beat pests

MINIMISING the worm burden is possible, even in flocks with higher stocking rates.

Sheep vet Chris Lewis emphasises the need for good worm control in the ewe.

"Ewes should be dosed to the weight of the heaviest in the flock, even if this means weighing the odd one. They are frequently under-dosed which means pasture contamination is greater.

"Often producers turn ewes with young lambs on to the same fields each year because they are sheltered. This can lead to an increasing worm burden. Using corrugated iron and round bales as shelter means that alternative pastures can be used."

Intensively stocked lambs should be dosed and moved every three weeks, taking advantage of hay/silage aftermaths where possible. "Because todays forage harvesters cut grass low, larvae are exposed to sunlight which helps reduce the population," says Mr Lewis.

"And in the autumn, pastures can be rested by making use of arable by products or set aside for flushing."