A new and free online tool can help SQPs demonstrate to sheep farmers the cost of using the wrong wormer on their farms.
The Sheep Drench Cost Calculator from Zoetis will help farmers, in conjunction with their advisers, decide which wormers to use. The app demonstrates the potential loss in growth rate, labour and medicine cost when the wrong product is used.
The calculator uses the latest UK resistance data or bespoke farm data so farmers can create specific drench plans with costs and return on investment information.
Zoetis says that although some wormers may be more expensive, the effectiveness against worms is likely to be higher because there is reduced resistance.
Ally Anderson, Zoetis Veterinary Consultant, says the idea of the app is to show farmers that investment in the right wormer is worth it, even if it may cost more.
“Wormers that are more effective can be more expensive, but when you are buying a wormer that isn’t that effective on your farm, it’s not just the cost of the wormer that you are losing, but production losses too, which often vastly outweigh the extra cost of the wormer,” she said.
“Ideally farmers should be working with their adviser and doing faecal egg reduction tests to see what the level of resistance is on their farm. This data can then be added into the app, instead of the UK average data, to give a more accurate picture.”
Sheep farmer Tom Carlisle from Skipton, North Yorkshire, is lambing 500 Texel cross Mules and says when he used the app, he was shocked by the potential loss in production by using the wrong wormer.
“Just by doing something as simple as changing a wormer, it’s surprising how much money can be saved for the duration the lambs are on pasture, even if it means paying more for the wormer,” he said.
For example, in a group of 40 lambs grazing pasture for 120 days, and averaging £2 a kilo, if a white wormer at 50% efficacy was used, then the total cost of lost production compared to a drench with 100% effectiveness was £131.62.
This is in comparison to £13.51 when a clear drench with 95% effectiveness was used, so moving to a more efficacious drench gives a big potential return on investment.
The app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
Image: Sheep farmer Tom Carlisle is making savings