Patrons attending next week’s beef and sheep open day at Tullamore Farm will be the first to see the two new mobile plunge dippers offering a service to Irish farmers. The dippers are part of the Bimeda exhibit on external parasite control.
Tagline Mobile Sheep Dipping, located in Kenmare, Co Kerry, has introduced the first truck-mounted and hydraulic operated plunge dipping unit to Ireland. The unit was imported from the UK in 2018 and allows up to 10 adult sheep enter a cage, which can then be lowered into a tank with a 1,500l capacity.
The dipping part of the business is operated by Jerry McCarthy, who explained that the unit also has the ability to record electronic tags and provide farmers with a tag reading of treated sheep. Jerry says the unit, which has been approved by the Department of Agriculture, is certified for use in Northern Ireland and can dip in excess of 1,500 sheep in a day.
Meath-based dipping contractor Kevin Sheridan is introducing a new trailed unit to his mobile plunge dipping business. The unit can be pulled by a jeep and operates in a similar way, with sheep entering a hydraulically operated cage that raises them in and out of the tank.
Kevin already has a mobile plunge dipping unit where sheep are manually fed into the dipping tank. He says the move to introduce a hydraulically operated unit stems from being able to handle higher numbers on a daily basis and satisfy growing demand, while also taking pressure off the operator dipping sheep.
Kevin has seen an increase in demand in two areas; farmers who do not have access to a dipping tank and want to reduce their use of injectable or pour-on products, and farmers with dipping tanks on the farm, who are happy to pay for the service as it makes dipping more efficient for them. Both units will be present on the day for live demonstrations.
The units prove there has been a renewed interest in plunge dipping. Bimeda has been to the forefront in supporting this resurgence, both in Ireland and the UK, by providing technical and marketing support to several specialist contractors.
This ties in with the company’s SCAB initiative; Scab Control Awareness with Bimeda. Andrew Glynn, general manager at Bimeda Ireland, said the initiative aims to generate a greater understanding of optimum control strategies for sheep scab and, in turn, reduce the rate of resistance developing to vital drugs.
Kevin Sheridan's new trailed mobile plunge dipping unit which is hydraulically operated.
This follows the identification of sheep scab resistance to macrocyclic lactones on farms in the UK. Widespread use of macrocyclic lactones (ivermectins, doramectin and moxidectin) will also increase the rate of development of worm resistance, which is becoming a growing concern. “Protecting the efficacy of active ingredients is vital for future sustainable production and dipping is the ultimate technique to achieve this and control external parasites. Interest is growing and details of those offering the service can be found at www.sheepdippers.ie,” Andrew said.
In addition, Bimeda is supporting wider use of a new Elisa blood test, developed by Scottish laboratory Biobest to test for the presence of sheep scab.
Bimeda veterinary specialist Dr Renée Lodder will deliver a number of presentations throughout the day on external parasite control. The aim is to provide farmers with advice on implementing optimum external parasite control strategies, which is especially useful in the current environment where fewer sheep dipping products are available on the market. It will also provide farmers with valuable information on parasite identification, as sheep scab and lice are often incorrectly identified, leading to inadequate control programmes.
The Bimeda technical team will also give a number of practical demonstrations on the application of pour-ons and correct techniques for administering boluses. Presentations and demonstration will commence after the first farm walk at approximately 1pm and run throughout the day until it closes at 6pm.
Sheep scab resistance worrying development for sheep sector
In pictures: sheep dipping on your doorstep