January 31, 2009

Drench resistant worms in sheep – introduction to blog series

By Dr Clive Dalton

This blog series is drawn from the successful plain-language farmer's handbook - Internal parasites of sheep and their control by Dr Clive Dalton (Reward Publishing, ISBN 978-473-12133-4 now in its 3rd edition).

Copies can be obtained from www.lifestyleblock.co.nz or by emailing clive.dalton@gmail.com

Drench resistance is not just coming - it's here

  • Over recent years warnings about the growing disaster of drench resistance in sheep have gained considerable momentum.
  • The subject has been ‘news’ for both agricultural and general-media journalists.
  • The response of most farmers to this has been the wonderful Kiwi response of ‘Yeah Right’, knowing that tomorrow there will be some new crisis the media will urge them to worry about.
  • The agricultural media have done a great job in providing information on what is a very complex biological issue.
  • They have reported helpful comments and advice from veterinary practitioners and researchers, agricultural scientists, farm management consultants and plenty of top farmers about what is going on, and how things should be tackled.
  • On top of all this, veterinary pharmaceutical companies have increased information output as well as their advertising and sales promotions.
  • There has never been as much information available on internal parasites in sheep as there is right now.
  • So it’s not surprising that many farmers are confused about what to do while they wait for promised solutions described by enthusiastic researchers as being either ‘close’ or ‘very close’ to fruition.
  • As an example of costs, at one time, of the $3.50/stock unit spent on sheep health, $2 is the drench cost so an effective worm control programme is vital to farm profit, and has never been more important than now to appreciate what is reliable information and what is not.
  • In May 2005, the first meeting was held to develop a ‘National Internal Parasite Management Strategy’ driven by Meat & Wool New Zealand and the Sustainable Farming Fund.
  • The ‘Action Plan’ was to run from 2005 to 2008 with the vision to develop ‘effective, sustainable and integrated parasite management for profitable farm enterprises’.
  • The main practical outcome from this move was the “Wormwise” programme. Full details can be obtained from M&W NZ, Phone (04) 474-0821. It is a vitally important project for New Zealand’s sheep industry and your comments are always invited.

The 'Wormwise' programme

  • The main outputs from ‘Wormwise’ are regular newsletters on research and reminders of seasonal issues. Anyone not on the Meat & Wool New Zealand mailing list for Wormwise can register by phoning 0800-696-328 or by emailing wormwise@meatandwoolnz.com.
  • This blog provides more background information for farmers (whatever their flock size) to stimulate thinking and hopefully some action to get away from the practice of pouring chemicals down sheeps’ throats. It's a completely independent view.
  • The blog will also help students of sheep husbandry, veterinary nursing and animal care, as well as those in the farm trading business that have to service farmers. ‘Sustainable Sheep Farming’ must be everybody’s mantra for the future, and at the moment we are not all heading in that direction.

Disclaimer This material is provided in good faith for information purposes only, and the author does not accept any liability to any person for actions taken as a result of the information or advice (or the use of such information or advice) provided in these pages.

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