30 March 2015 | Online since 2003



Farmers warned over liver fluke risk this spring


Farmers are being warned of the risk of liver fluke infection when they turn out their cattle this spring following the mild and exceptionally wet winter according to Lynda Maris, Brand Manager with Merial Animal Health.

“Making the most of grass is key to the profitability of most cattle farmers,” says Lynda, “So it is really important that cattle get the full benefit from it and maximise their growth potential.”

“Liver fluke infection can affect growth rates and increase finishing times. The risk of infection following turn-out has been increased by the mild and very wet winter we have just experienced.”

“While most farmers are aware that fluke can affect cattle during the winter months, and focus on giving a housing dose, many are unaware of the increasing importance of controlling fluke infections during the spring and summer months and the benefits of giving a fluke treatment as part of their grazing treatment programmes.”

All stages of fluke development on pasture are affected by the climate, with mild and wet conditions favouring the parasite’s development. As such, the conditions experienced in recent years have contributed to a significant increase in the risk, geographical spread and seasonality of fluke infection. For many farms, liver fluke is now a real threat to cattle at grass, and treatment 8 to 10 weeks after turn-out can be beneficial.

Fluke infection can cause damage to the liver such that the productivity of an animal suffers significantly. Research shows that even low levels of infection, while not producing any obvious clinical effects, can depress live weight gain by up to 1.2kg/week1.

Lynda points out: “Such a reduction in live weight gain increases the time to finishing and obviously every additional day that an animal is kept on farm costs the farmer money! In fact according to research by UK industry body EBLEX, liver fluke is currently estimated to be costing beef farmers approximately £87 per case2. On this basis it is extremely cost effective to treat against the parasite.”

Giving a fluke treatment to grazing cattle post –turnout can help to break the life cycle of the parasite by minimising fluke egg output and thereby reducing the risk of infection later in the season.

Such a treatment will also remove fluke from the animal and improve live weight gain from the farmer’s cheapest source of feed - grass. Indeed grazing cattle treated for fluke and worms have been shown to give a 31% increase in weight gain over untreated cattle and an 8% increase over those that were treated only for roundworms3.

As it typically takes 8-12 weeks from cattle becoming infected at pasture to the stage where fluke are in the liver as egg-laying adults , treatment should be given 8 to 10 weeks after turnout. Treatment at this time will kill adult fluke, reduce egg output and decrease pasture contamination. This timing also ties in with the planned worming treatment programme on many farms.

Download



Comments


No comments posted yet. Be the first to post a comment

To post comment without approval login or register

Display name

Please enter your name

Email (optional)
Comment

Please enter your comment

Post Comment

Your comment submitted successfully.Please wait for admin approval.

Some error on your process.Please try one more time.



Jobs


26 March 2015
Customer Service Team Supervisor - Maternity Cover
NSF International's Agriculture Division provides certification, auditing, consulting, training, farm services and laboratory...

16 March 2015
Dairy Processing Person – approx 27 – 30 hours a week
Abbey Home Farm, Cirencester is looking for someone interested in organic and local food and farming to process and pack our ...

10 March 2015
Mechanical Design Engineer - Precision Engineering Environment
Our client has grown organically to become one of the leading global suppliers of specialist, precision components to the mat...

10 March 2015
Depot Operative
What Smith’s Dairies Offers. As a successful & established family run business, within the dairy industry, we are looking...

10 March 2015
Planning Manager
The aim of the Planning Manager is to provide professional planning input into each stage of the solar farm development proce...




Top stories you may have missed
23 March 2015 | Cattle

UK butchers face difficulties to recruit...

Butchers in the UK are losing a generation through lack of training opportu...


20 March 2015 | Arable

Dust - the secret fertiliser?

NASA research has revealed how dust blown from the Sahara desert helps supp...


19 March 2015 | Arable

The Budget 2015: A Farmer's Budget?

“In the run up to the Budget 2015 most commentators were predicting that th...


17 March 2015 | News

UK's first floating solar power system l...

The UK’s first fully operational floating solar panel system has been unvei...


13 March 2015 | Animal Health

Labour and Conservatives clash over badg...

Axing the badger cull in England and Wales will save more than £120 million...


12 March 2015 | News

Solar could be cheapest energy source by...

By 2025, solar power could become one of the cheapest forms of energy in ma...


11 March 2015 | Finance

English buyers turn their attention to S...

Demand for Scottish farm land remains strong and continues to be better val...


9 March 2015 | Cattle

2020 vision for the Welsh red meat indus...

The Welsh red meat industry should aim to increase sales by at least 34 per...


6 March 2015 | News

MP raises egg industry concerns on trans...

Fears about the impact that a proposed transatlantic trade agreement could ...


Stay safe and legal when flying drones

The use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Unmanned Aircraft Systems - or dron...