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Monday, 30 July 2018

Smarter parasite management is no longer optional

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Monitoring drench performance is a vital component of sustainable parasite management. Drench efficacy checks such as a post-drenching faecal egg count, or Drench Check, can identify whether your existing drench programme is working or if there is a potential resistance issue to address.

Julie Wagner, Vet and Ravensdown Animal Health Product Manager, says that “the old practices are questionable now because drench resistance has become so complex. Especially with triple resistance in sheep rising across the country, going forward the agriculture community needs to be actively monitoring. The increasing levels of drench resistance being reported in cattle now mean the problem is no longer a largely sheep issue.”

Testing stock younger than nine months is the most effective way of identifying a drench resistance issue as they have a low immunity to worms. In older stock, the strong immune response can make a drench appear more effective than it actually is. To perform a Drench Check, simply collect faecal samples from young lambs or calves ten days after drenching, or 12-13 days for calves treated with a pour-on drench. A positive test result, where eggs are found, should be investigated. Talk to your animal health professional about Drench Checks and follow up actions.

As a cooperative, we have a responsibility to our customers to ensure our advice is both current and informative, and that our products are performing as expected. To help build a picture of the level of drench resistance in New Zealand, Ravensdown is giving customers the opportunity to participate in a nationwide survey to monitor drench efficacy. We will be offering customers a free Drench Check kit as part of our spring animal health promotion. This is the first survey of this kind since 2006 and, while it won’t be a definitive survey, we believe it will be useful in identifying the ‘big picture’ around the prevalence of drench resistance in New Zealand.

Ravensdown Drenches