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Gastrointestinal nematode control practices on lowland sheep farms in Ireland

T. Patten, B. Good, J. P. Hanrahan, G. Mulcahy, T. De Waal

GASTROINTESTINAL parasitism in sheep is widely treated with anthelmintics. This study surveyed a representative sample of lowland farmers in Ireland to assess parasite control practices and risk factors that might contribute to the development of anthelmintic resistance.

A total of 166 sheep producers were invited to participate in the study. Farms were included if sheep were a major part of the enterprise and they had more than 100 breeding ewes. Farmers were sent a two-part questionnaire. Section 1 incorporated general questions relating to the farm and management systems used, for example, farm size, number and breed of sheep, and grazing and feeding practices. Section 2 contained specific questions on practices for the control of gastrointestinal parasites, for example, frequency, timing and type of treatment, and factors governing the type of anthelmintic used.

Complete questionnaires were returned by 104 (63 per cent) recipients. The majority of respondents treated their sheep with anthelmintics, with lambs being treated the most frequently. Most farmers followed a set control programme, rather than treating at the sign of disease. Sixty-one per cent of …

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