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Simon Bainbridge Case study

How focussing on effective worm management in the mid-late season ensures lambs thrive

Farmer Simon runs a 1500-flock of hardy ewes on upland pasture in Northumberland. Managed organically, he has used Swaledale, North of England Mule, Suffolk, Hampshire Down and, more recently, Lleyn breeding to develop what he considers to be the ideal type for the farm.

“We are after something not too big, suited to our rough pasture and that produces lambs capable of finishing quickly off grass,” Mr Bainbridge says.

The flock starts lambing around the third week of April and typically delivers about a 180% lambing percentage. Mr Bainbridge’s first lambs will be sold in September with the last one leaving the farm by March.

“We regularly use FECs to check wormers are working as they should and wormers are always rotated as well. There are no resistance issues on the farm, which means we have full flexibility to use what is best at certain times in the season,” adds Mr Bainbridge.

The mid-late season dose is one that Mr Bainbridge plans particularly carefully for. This normally takes place two-three weeks after weaning, which occurs in the first week of August on his farm.

“Until weaning, ewes and lambs will have been on the silage leys. They are then moved onto some brassicas before the ewes go away to the rough, upland pasture after weaning and lambs back to the grass and red clover silage leys,” he explains. “We normally expect a bit of a check in growth post-weaning so let them get over that before gathering them in, weighing and worming with Zolvix to ensure a full worm kill.”

Zolvix is a group four AD orange drench and kills economically significant roundworms and will also remove any resistant worms other wormer treatments have left behind. Industry recommendation is to replace one of your existing wormers in the mid-late season with Zolvix.

“This is because by this time lambs will have already received at least one treatment with a wormer from groups 1-BZ, 2-LV or 3-ML and, while this may have given effective worm control, it is likely that a population of resistant worms will remain within the host lamb.”

As with all wormers, it is recommended to follow SCOPS advice and not dose and move lambs to clean pasture. Ideally lambs should go back on to the pasture they were previously on for a few days.

“We have been using this approach, with Zolvix for the mid-late season dose for several years now and results are good; lambs are thriving, growing well and finish quickly,” says Mr Bainbridge