Teagasc is undertaking a research project to establish levels of liver fluke on Irish farms and will provide free liver fluke testing to approximately 1,000 beef, sheep and dairy farmers.

For beef suckler farms, approximately seven cows (if you have less cows, all will be tested) will be blood sampled during a farm visit between October 2014 and January 2015.

For sheep farmers, sampling kits for 20 ewes (or less if the flock is smaller) will be posted. Farmers will collect dung from 20 different ewes and post to the lab for testing using a pre-paid box which will be supplied. Testing will proceed between October and December 2014.

Teagasc is also hoping to supply sheep farmers with rumen fluke data if resources allow. Results will be returned via your Teagasc advisor. This DAFM-funded project aims to provide a blueprint for on-farm control of liver fluke by developing novel tools (on-farm testing, vaccines, fluke prediction tools) for use by multiple users including farmers and veterinarians. This will assist in achieving sustainable use of existing parasitic treatments (anthelmintics) and help with reducing resistance to anthlmintics in Ireland.

Beef farmers will also have the opportunity to volunteer for an Animal Health Ireland BVD surveillance pilot scheme which will involve testing of approximately five BVD unvaccinated, homebred (if available) 9-18
month old animals from each distinct management group on the farm (other age groups may be sampled for smaller herds if 9- 18 month olds are not available).

Apply now on www.teagasc.ie

Teagasc highlights that not all farmers that apply will be accepted into the trial due to resource constraints so it stresses that those interested should apply early.