23 March 2001


Despite recent cold spells, last autumns mild, wet weather was ideal for many parasite larvae to survive in high numbers over-winter and there will be high levels of infestation at turn-out. According to vets, this means there is the potential for a high incidence of parasite problems in the coming grazing season, unless appropriate action is taken.

It will be vital for livestock producers to take this increase in larvae numbers into account when deciding on this years worm control policy. This policy should balance use of anthelmintics and grazing management for the most economic solution for the farm.

Selecting a suitable grazing system which offers the best solution to control gutworms in cattle can help, according to advice offered here. Ensuring lambs and calves are turned out on to clean pasture where possible is also beneficial to their performance and profitability.

But lungworm control in cattle must be considered separately to ensure that risks of husk, which have been increasing in adult cattle, is minimised.

The past year has also seen lice in cattle and especially in sheep increase compared with previous years. As we find here, changes to dipping practices may be responsible for the increase in sheep lice and an alternative to control lice, specifically, may need to be considered this season.

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