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National Worm Management Strategy Released




National Worm Management Strategy Released

Under the industry wide National Worm Management Strategy Wormwise, which was launched today, farmers are being urged to adopt a broader based approach to the control of worms in an effort to combat increasing levels of drench resistance in livestock.

Wormwise, a joint initiative by Meat & Wool New Zealand, MAF Sustainable Farming Fund, Agcarm and the New Zealand Veterinary Association has been developed by a working party of farmers, veterinarians, animal health product industry representatives and parasitologists.

Together they have initially developed a set of‘best practice’ principles for managing parasites, as part of a comprehensive three-year plan of activities.

Wormwise spokesman and Meat & Wool New Zealand Chairman, Mr Jeff Grant said,“Wormwise ensures that farmers receive well researched, up to date advice agreed by the major players in the industry.

A recent national survey of worm management practices and the prevalence of drench resistance on New Zealand farms, which was funded by Meat &Wool NZ, MAF Sustainable Farming Fund, and Schering-Plough Animal Health indicates a growing incidence of drench resistance.

According to research presented to the 2002 Parasitology Conference by AgResearch scientist David Leathwick, the estimated cost of drench resistance in New Zealand, at that time exceeded $20 million and may have been as high as $60 million per annum for sheep farmers.

However, the recent national survey indicates that those 2002 assumptions were too conservative and the level of resistance present today is already where it was expected to be in 15 to 20 years.

The national survey showed that nearly all sheep and beef farms have worms resistant to one or more drenches. This means that drenching is frequently not fully effective and farmers need to reassess their worm management practices.

The Wormwise strategy encourages farmers to develop an annual animal health plan for their farm in conjunction with their vet or other advisor. Monitoring worm burdens through faecal egg counting is an important first step.

Jan Quay of Agcarm says companies that market worm drenches are in support of Wormwise as they want to see their products used responsibly and sustainably.

“The Wormwise strategy aims to assist farmers find the balance between maintaining productivity of their stock and controlling worms through drenching strategically.

New Zealand Veterinary Association spokesperson Lewis Griffiths said that farmers rate worms as the animal health problem of greatest economic importance on the farm.

“We can’t eradicate parasites but if farmers understand their life cycles, monitor their prevalence throughout the year, and heed the Wormwise advice they can certainly minimise the impact on their business.

“Wormwise plans to produce regular bulletins of timely, independent advice, he added.

“Every farm is different and farmers should work with their veterinarian to assess the internal parasite problem and develop the best strategy for managing it, Mr Griffiths said.

Jim Anderton, the Minister of Agriculture, said that the strong collaboration and partnerships that have delivered Wormwise are important to the continued growth and productivity of the pastoral sectors.

“Farmers have a collective responsibility to work to achieve the best management practices that are recommended, he said.

Over the next two weeks more than 20,000 Wormwise packs will be sent to farmers throughout the country.


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