Farmers and crofters must take caution and not over-use a newly launched wormer for sheep, according to independent sheep consultant Lesley Stubbings.
Ms Stubbings has welcomed the launch of monepantel, marketed under the brand name Zolvix, which became available in the UK on July 1.
However, she warned farmers not to fall into the trap of over-using the wormer as this could lead to resistance developing to the drug.
She said the growing problem of wormer resistance meant farmers and crofters would have to think harder about what worming products to use and when.
“The days when you could simply rotate product groups annually are long gone. In reality, most flocks will need to use three or more groups [of drugs] in a single season,” said Ms Stubbings.
“This is quite daunting. It requires much more forward planning and monitoring, using Faecal Egg Counts (FECs) and probably additional cost.”
Ms Stubbings is a member of industry-led group Sustainable Control of Parasites in Sheep (SCOPS).
Fellow member Charles Sercombe, who is chairman of NFU’s livestock board, backed her warning and said farmers must avoid the temptation to use the new drug too much.
He said: “We must ensure that everyone heeds the advice and avoids looking for quick fixes. I fully support the need to get these drenches used as part of the fight to slow down anthelmintic resistance on our farms, but with that comes a huge responsibility. As sheep farmers we have to resist any temptation to use them outside the recommended times, unless advised by a vet.”