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Parasite forecast to help farmers avoid nematodirus
The interactive map provides a traffic light system of warning, alongside practical advice for assessing on-farm risk.
Tool helps vets and farmers assess regional and local risk

An online forecast to help sheep farmers respond to the annual threat of nematodirus has been published by the Sustainable Control of Parasites (SCOPS).

Developed by Bristol Veterinary School, the interactive map provides a traffic light system of warning, alongside practical advice for assessing on-farm risk.

"We could be in for a high-risk season if this late cold snap is followed by a rapid increase in temperature. Such conditions will cause the Nematodirus battus parasite to hatch in large numbers, posing a massive threat to lambs aged around four to six weeks,” said Dr Hannah Vinery senior research associate from the Bristol Veterinary School.

"Predicting when outbreaks might happen at a local level is becoming increasingly difficult, due to variation in spring temperatures from year to year. Farmers can no longer rely on a standard timetable of treatments to avoid disease, hence the important role of this easy-to-use forecast. Sheep farmers, vets and advisers can all use it to assess regional and local risk."

Updated daily using data from more than 40 weather stations across the UK, the forecast map tracks changes in risk throughout the spring and early summer. It also allows farmers and vets to select the nearest or most representative weather station, providing advice on treatment, management, and how to relate the predicted risk to their particular farm.

“We are delighted to offer the forecast again this year,” said Lesley Stubbing, independent sheep consultant. “Previous users have found it very useful, giving them greater confidence about when it is safe to move lambs or treat them to avoid the risk of nematodirus.”

She adds: “Survey data collected by SCOPS shows more than 90 per cent of users changed their approach to nematodirus control by using the forecast, and many reported a significant improvement in lamb health, lower losses and better lamb condition."

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Report: A third of Welsh birds are in decline

News Story 1
 A report by RSPB Cymru and partnering ornithology organisations has revealed that a third of bird species in Wales are in significant decline.

90 per cent of Wales is farmed and there is now pressure to implement new land management policies that will aid in nature restoration.

Patrick Lindley, Maritime Ornithologist for Natural Resources Wales, commented: “The problems that confront UK birds, whether they are breeding or non-breeding, are pressure and threats that confront entire ecosystems.

“Birds are a great indicator to the health of our environment. The continued population declines of birds of farmed, woodland and upland habitats suggest there are large geographic themes that are having a detrimental impact.”  

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News Shorts
BSAVA announces winner of 2019 Bourgelat Award

One of the world’s leading small animal medicine specialists is set to receive the prestigious Bourgelat Award at BSAVA Congress 2019.

Professor Mike Herrtage will be recognised for his major research into metabolic and endocrine diseases, including diabetes mellitus, Cushing’s disease and Addison’s disease.

During his career, Prof Herrtage has co-authored more than 100 scientific papers and written more than 200 other publications such as abstracts, books and chapters. He also continues to be a source of inspiration for thousands of undergraduate and postgraduate veterinary surgeons.