16 August 2002

Unit halves use of wormers

LAMB wormer use has been halved on one East Anglia sheep unit, after the adoption of regular faecal egg counting this year.

Michael Mumford runs 1500 breeding ewes, 500 store lambs and has a pedigree flock of 25 Suffolk ewes. Ewes lamb between late February and late March and lambs are creep fed. Most are sold finished by late July.

"In the past lambs have had their first drench four weeks after turnout at lambing time and every four weeks after that. Thanks to the enthusiasm of Kym Abbott at the Royal Vet College, we decided to try faecal egg counting.

"Initially, it was quite nerve racking missing drenches, but we soon gained confidence and have been happy with the technique.

"Some lambs saw no drench throughout their time on the farm. But whatever results said, we were unafraid to drench lambs when they were not performing as well as expected."

Mr Mumford believes his success at reducing drench use may be partly connected with his pastures being less contaminated than previously thought because no lambs graze them from July until the following March.