Sheep farmers can now see first-hand the cost of using the wrong wormer on their farm thanks to a free app and online tool.
The Sheep Drench Cost Calculator will help farmers, in conjunction with their advisors, decide which wormers to use on their farm. The app demonstrates the potential loss in growth rate, labour and medicine costs when the wrong product is used and conversely, the production improvements when appropriate decisions are made
Every farm has resistant worm populations which are naturally occurring in the environment. Anthelmintic resistance affects productivity; reduced drench performance means increased surviving worm burden, leading to reduced lamb performance.
The calculator uses the latest UK resistance data or bespoke farm data so farmers can create specific drench plans with costs and return on investment information.
Although some wormers may be more expensive, the effectiveness against worms is likely to be higher because there is reduced resistance.
Effectiveness of wormers
For example, a white wormer may only have 50% efficacy and a yellow wormer, 65% efficacy, compared to a clear moxidectin type wormer (milbemycins), which is often greater than 95% efficacy.
The effectiveness of wormers will differ from farm to farm. Farmers that have done faecal egg count reduction tests on their farm and know the effectiveness of wormers can input their own data into the app.
Wormers that are more effective can sometimes be more expensive, but when you are buying a wormer that isn’t that effective on your farm, it’s not just the cost of the wormer that you are losing, but production losses too, which often vastly outweigh the extra cost of the wormer.
Sheep farmer Tom Carlisle, Coxons Farm, Cracoe, Skipton, is lambing 500 Texel cross Mules. He had used the app and was shocked by the potential loss in production by using the wrong wormer. He found that by doing something as simple as changing a wormer, it was surprising how much money could be saved for the duration the lambs are on pasture, even if it means paying more for the wormer
For example, in a group of 40 lambs grazing pasture for 120 days, and averaging £2 a kilo, if a white wormer at 50% efficacy was used, then the total cost of lost production compared to a drench with 100% effectiveness was £131.62.
This is in comparison to £13.51 when a clear drench with 95% effectiveness was used, so moving to a more efficacious drench gives a big potential return on investment.
The app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store and is free of charge.
1. WAARD Project Final Report. Sept 2015.
For further information, please see the product SPC, or contact your veterinary surgeon, SQP or Zoetis UK Ltd, Walton Oaks, Dorking Road, Walton on the Hill, Tadworth, Surrey, KT20 7NS. Customer Support 0845 3008034. www.zoetis.co.uk . Always seek the advice of your medicines provider. Use medicines responsibly (www.noah.co.uk/responsible) AH335/17
Dave is an RCVS advanced practitioner in Sheep Health and Production. He qualified from the Royal (Dick) Veterinary College in 2004, working mainly as a production animal veterinary surgeon, until joining Zoetis (previously known as Pfizer Animal Health) in 2010 as an Area Veterinary Manager. In 2015 Dave joined the Zoetis National Veterinary Manager team.
Dave’s areas of interest are the health and production of sheep and the sustainable control of parasites in farm animals. He is the chair of the NOAH anti-parasitics committee and sits on various national cross industry bodies including the sustainable control of parasites in sheep (SCOPS) board.
Dave is from a farming background and still manages his own flock of pedigree Texel and commercial mule sheep on the Welsh-Shropshire border.