Soil Association Scotland’s Farming with Nature programme recently ran an event at SRUC’s Kirkton Farm in Crianlarich, Stirlingshire looking at fluke management – Worming your way to profit. Held in conjunction with SRUC and The Moredun Institute, the day included a practical workshop on a hill farm looking at effective ways of treating fluke and worms covering diagnosis, control, different treatments, and pasture management.
We were joined by a host of speakers, including Dr Philip Skuce, one of the UK’s leading researchers in fluke management. Dr Skuce has kindly contributed more in depth information on his work with SRUC Kirkton, you can read his case study report and download his fluke fact sheet below.
Fluke is estimated to cost £50million to the livestock industry in Scotland, and is one of the biggest causes of livestock loss and contributors to loss of productivity in livestock. It can be treated by dosing animals with flukicides, however, resistance has begun to become an issue with some flukicides.
The purpose of our event was to demonstrate methods that can reduce the use of flukicides and manage fluke risk – even around environmental features, like wetlands.
Agri-environment schemes like AECS incentivise farmers and land managers to introduce or retain wetlands on farms, adding in wading scrapes to grazing fields, which have many beneficial outcomes to biodiversity and the environment. But on the flipside, wet, boggy areas of ground are the preferred habitat for the mud snails that spread the cysts that cause fluke, and understandably farmers can be concerned about grazing in these areas.
The work that is ongoing at SRUC’s Kirkton Farm, with the Moredun, is about demonstrating that wet, boggy ground doesn’t necessarily mean more fluke, and a whole farm fluke management plan can be a win-win for managing land in an environmentally friendly way, using less flukicides, whilst also reducing fluke risks and improving productivity.
Read Dr Philip Skuce’s papers here.
If you’d like more information on fluke management, our programmes of work, our events or field labs, please do get in touch.