UK – Gutworm could be reducing UK dairy farmersâ€™ yields by as much as a billion litres of milk a year, and costing them hundreds of millions of pounds according to new figures released by Merial Animal Health. The calculations, which are based on bulk milk tank tests carried out across UK dairy farms, show that total losses over a three-year period may be as much as Â£827 million.
Merial has now been supporting MOO testing â€“ a test which measures the levels of gutworm antibodies in the milk – for three years and has data from more than 650 herds. Over that period some 91 per cent of the herds tested have proved to have a high level of gutworm challenge. Research has demonstrated that gutworms can reduce yield by up to 2.2 litres per day.
Merialâ€™s Veterinary Adviser Fiona MacGillivray said: â€œIn adult cattle, gutworm infection tends to be a sub-clinical disease which therefore goes unnoticed by farmers, but this simple test, available through their vet, can quickly show whether gutworms could be lowering production in the herd. Test results help predict whether the productivity of the herd could be improved following treatment with the wormer EprinexÂ®, which removes gutworm infections. EprinexÂ® is the wormer which has been proven to improve productivity in cattle time and again, in those herds which had high test results in the numerous studies done across the world over the last decade. Based on an average herd size of 123 cows with a high gutworm challenge identified by the MOO test, the losses incurred could have amounted to some 82,000 litres of milk in 2011, resulting in lost income of Â£22,572 (based on the average farmgate price).
EprinexÂ® is the only wormer that has a licensed zero milk withhold period, and can therefore be used on lactating cows without the worry of lost milk sales.
MOO tests were conducted on 72 herds in 2011, 119 in 2010 and 464 in 2009. The number of litres lost was calculated on an average 305 days lactation per year, meaning that a cow with a high gutworm challenge could produce 671 litres less.
Source: The Dairy Site