Farming News - Welsh farmers using FEC's for effective worming treatments

Welsh farmers using FEC's for effective worming treatments

16 Jun 2020
Frontdesk / Livestock

Welsh farmers testing the way for effective worming treatments


With the summer season upon us beef and sheep farmers are being encouraged to determine the best time and way to treat a group of animals before using anthelmintic worming treatments.

Faecal Egg Counts (FEC) are a useful tool to help determine if treatment is needed, whether worming products are effective and it also provides key information on the pasture contamination on beef and sheep farms. 

A Ceredigion farm, which is part of Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC)’s Stoc+ project, turned to conducting the FEC samples themselves in August 2019 after reading up on best practice and deciding to test each group of lambs separately. Philippa and Gareth Davies run a family farm in Llangeitho near Tregaron. On their 120-acre lowland farm they keep a flock of around 300 Easycare sheep and a herd of youngstock cattle.

“We’d done a bit with FEC sampling in the past, which led us to discover that the farm was resistant to White Drench.” explains Philippa.

“Once we started to do it ourselves, we ran tests on our ewes, rams, fat lambs and lambs being kept as breeding stock. The results have helped us to decide whether to dose various groups or wait a fortnight and test them again. We quickly discovered that our ewes and rams didn’t need regular dosing, consistently returning zero counts."

“This has led to us using fluke-only products rather than combinations at key times of the year and only needing to worm around lambing time when immunity can be lower. Since taking our own FECs, we dose the lambs far less which saves us time and money and gives us a better understanding of the health status of our stock."

“If a lamb isn’t thriving, we can test it individually. If the individual lamb doesn’t have a worm burden, we can work with the vet to look at other causes. FEC testing isn’t a glamorous job but the insight it can give you about the health of your stock and the savings it generates makes it worthwhile for us.”

Through the Stoc+ project, HCC is encouraging farmers to take a proactive approach to animal health in order to enhance production efficiency and the profitability of the farm. Farmers are encouraged to contact their vet to discuss FECs and any other testing they may want to carry out on the farm.

For more information on anthelmintic resistance, visit the HCC website. Also available on the website is a bilingual version of Sustainable Control of Parasites in Sheep (SCOPS)’s Know Your Anthelmintic Group Guide.

SCOPS, Control of Worms Sustainably (COWS) and the National Animal Disease Information Service (NADIS) also provide worm and parasite forecasts which identify high risk periods and further information on how to treat them. 

Stoc+ is one strand of the RMDP and is supported by the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014 – 2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.