Increased rainfall raises fluke threat discusses the danger of fluke on Irish farms as the weather turns wet.

Perfect conditions for parasites

Last week we discussed how the present turn of warm, wet weather is providing ideal breeding conditions for the blowfly. As farmers, we need to be aware that this autumnal humidity offers up more than one threat. A range of parasites are likely to thrive in current weather conditions. Among these, few are a bigger threat than the liver fluke.

For the time being, ground has held up well in all but the spongiest, boggiest land; but if current rainfall continues much longer, we will start to see surface water in places. With temperatures set to remain in the mid to high teens for the foreseeable, we can expect a serious escalation in grass fluke levels in the coming weeks. Naturally, we as farmers want to take every possible precaution to protect livestock from a bad bout of fluke. A serious fluke problem is uncomfortable for animals and a potential catastrophe for farm revenue.

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What price will we pay? The strong case against wormer regulation argues against the Government’s proposal to make animal medicines subject to veterinary prescription, and discusses the reasonable alternatives set forth by the Independent Licensed Merchants Association (ILMA).

One more thing to worry about?

It will kill scores of jobs in rural Ireland and change the course of Irish farming, but very few in farming circles are talking about the Government’s plan to impose strict new regulations on the sale of animal medicines next year. This lack of interest is surprising since these regulations, if introduced as planned, will have woeful financial consequences for small farmers.   

To be fair to Irish farmers, it’s easy to understand how this issue has escaped their notice. They’ve had a lot to contend with in the political arena over the last few years. Farmers are set to take a hit from the Government’s new Climate Bill, while the plan for an EU/Mercosur Trade Deal that would flood the European market with Brazilian beef is still alive. That said, with only 5 months to go before the new wormer regulations are imposed, we can’t ignore this issue anymore.

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