The Sustainable Control of Parasites (SCOPS) group has created a best practice guide to help vets and advisers assist farmer clients when bringing sheep into a flock this autumn.
The guide, which can be found on the SCOPS website (www.scops.org.uk), includes a number of calendar-based examples, as well as a blank option that can be customised for individual farmers.
At an event on Monday, experts behind the SCOPS project acknowledged that putting in place a plan is complicated given that farmers must consider anthelmintic-resistant worms, liver fluke and sheep scab.
Their advice is to hold new arrivals in the yard for up to two days, treat for worms (assuming all animals are carrying resistant infections), while also assessing the risk of liver fluke and sheep scab.
Sheep should then be turned out to dirty pasture grazed by the resident flock, but kept isolated from other sheep for 28 days.
This gives time for testing to see if the initial worm (and fluke) treatments were successful, and whether the sheep have been exposed to scab.
“There is a cost [with testing], but the costs of not doing it are potentially huge,” said Lesley Stubbings from SCOPS.
She emphasised that a quarantine plan applies both to bought-in sheep (including rams), and also sheep returning from grazing where the resistance status is unknown or different to the home farm.