During the Covid 19 outbreak, the farmers in the groups have not been able to meet up on-farm, but some have been able to meet online instead. ‘Using the Fluke App Data with your Vet’ was the title of an online webinar organised in July for participant farmers, their vets, the project team and specialist flock health vet, Fiona Lovatt. The evening turned out to be a hay-making one and so not many farmers could join, but the presentations by vets Dr Bryony Jones, Amanda Carson and Fiona Lovatt were recorded for watching later. They showed how a farm’s fluke treatments data, recorded using an App designed for this project, can help the farmer and their vet to understand where changes in treatments or management might reduce the risk of infection and also reduce the risk of the fluke becoming resistant to flukicides.
Another important tool to help guide the timing and type of treatment is to do testing of faeces samples. Also, regular blood testing to monitor when naïve lambs first start picking up fluke. Fiona described how one farmer is using some weaned lambs grazing with ewes to act as ‘sentinels’.
Thank you to all the farmers and vets who contributed, as well as the very clear, fact-packed presentation by Fiona. We are planning to continue to run online meetings and provide support for sheep faeces sample testing over the winter months.