THE latest on-farm technology to manage parasites could lead to gains of up to £12 per lamb, while also reducing reliance on wormers, according to a study presented at NSA Sheep 2018.

The Sainsbury’s and Techion research and development project shows that more targeted use of wormers not only improves animal performance by increasing lamb growth rates, but reduces farm costs and supports sustainable worming practices.

John Brocklehurst, Sainsbury’s agricultural manager for lamb, said the adoption of new technology is critical in delivering a productive and sustainable lamb supply chain.

He said: “The use of innovative technology offers increased lamb output and improved animal health and welfare alongside cost savings and is a win win for producers and consumers alike.

“Technology that also offers a positive food story on wormer use reduction - akin to the work the industry has done in reducing antibiotic use - is what our customers want to hear."

Assessing the effectiveness of FECPAKG2, the latest in image based faecal egg count (FEC) technology, the results highlighted undetected wormer resistance in sheep could be costing Sainsbury’s lamb producers over £10 million per year.

The project found 84 per cent of farmers involved were using ineffective wormers, resulting in estimated losses of £12 per lamb. If reflected across the flock it equates to £12,000 per year for the average Sainsbury’s lamb producer.

Dr Fiona Lovatt, independent sheep specialist, was involved in the project and says regular FEC testing has a key role in delivering an effective worming programme.

She said accurate treatment of the right animals with the right wormer, at the right time significantly improved daily liveweight gains (DLWG), while reducing wormer use by up to 50 per cent.

Eurion Thomas, European operations manager at Techion UK, said the new technology could be carried out virtually anywhere by anyone, including on-farm by the farmer.

He said: “Image based, it provides greater quality control and auditability, producing rapid results. This is encouraging more frequent testing and better decision making at farm level, both in terms of immediate worming decisions and long-term flock health planning.

“Findings from the project demonstrate how accurate testing and diagnosis can increase farmer profitability, by maximising animal performance while reducing treatments. This delivers benefits at both farm and supply chain level."