Bulk milk surveillance for stomach worm exposure in dairy cows has found high levels in 68% of UK herds, with “probable sub-clinical effects on health and production”, according to the test guidelines.

Bulk milk surveillance for stomach worm exposure in dairy cows has found high levels in 68% of UK herds, with “probable sub-clinical effects on health and production”, according to the test guidelines.

449 milk samples submitted for testing between September 2011 and March 2012449 milk samples were submitted by dairy vets and SQP animal health advisers between September 2011 and March 2012, all of which were analysed independently for Pfizer VPS.

Stomach worm (Ostertagia ostertagi) is the species identified most often in dairy cows, which is known to suppress appetite, claims Pfizer VPS vet Andrew Montgomery.

“Numerous trials have found a yield response to worming treatment, typically in the region of 1kg per cow per day,” he said.

“At 25 per litre, this would be worth £76 per cow over a 305-day lactation, or about £16,500 per year in a typical 200 cow herd. Some trials have also identified improvements in reproductive performance although this remains to be proven absolutely.”

When test results indicate that worming is justified, Mr Montgomery recommends a moxidectin pour on treatment in the late dry period to maximise the gain over the highest yielding, early part of lactation.

The bulk milk surveillance programme is ongoing, and free Pfizer test kits are available from participating VPS animal medicine suppliers and veterinary practices.

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