Roundworms are known to impact on the productivity and welfare of livestock. Uncontrolled roundworm infections are estimated to cause a reduction in weight gain during the first and second grazing seasons and a reduction in milk yield by up to 2.2kg per cow, per day. The Biosecurity and Roundworm Advice for Cattle Enterprises (BRACE) aims to understand the current roundworm situation in UK herds, farmer’s attitudes and practices, and the spread of anthelmintic resistance.
The effective control of roundworms typically relies on wormer (anthelmintic) treatments; in the UK there are only three wormer (anthelmintic) classes (white, yellow and clear) licenced for use in cattle and resistance to all these products has been identified. Clear wormer resistance has been commonly reported in the UK, particularly against the cattle worm Cooperia. Resistance to the white and yellow wormers has also been recorded, but it is still unclear how common these are in the UK. Continued usage of potentially ineffective drugs could leave herds vulnerable to infection with resistant roundworms and a lack of options for future control.
As treatment options become limited, it is important to reduce the risk of importing drug-resistant roundworms onto farms. One effective control strategy is quarantine wormer treatment and appropriate biosecurity. Ensuring measures are taken to limit the spread of disease between farms and prevent wormer-resistant roundworms from being introduced is essential for increasing the lifespan of the available wormers. However, the results of a previous questionnaire highlighted that only half of the cattle farmers administered any wormer treatments to newly purchased stock.
BRACE intends to co-develop a set of clear and practical recommendations for cattle farmers to help them minimise the risk of introducing wormer resistance into their herds and control roundworms effectively. To inform these recommendations the project is exploring the risk posed by traded cattle, clarifying how big a problem roundworms are in commercial cattle and understanding the associated risk of transporting wormer-resistant roundworms onto farms.
Moredun and the other project partners would like your input. If you can spare 10 minutes, please complete our questionnaire on cattle management and roundworm control by scanning the QR code below or visiting: https://hutton.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_8GkJb60GqjBoMR0.
All information will be treated confidentially and stored securely. Gathering information on current management practices will help BRACE tailor the recommendations and ensure they will be easy to achieve on-farm.
Notes to editors
Biosecurity and Roundworm Advice for Cattle Enterprises (BRACE) is led by Moredun Research Institute and involves partners from the James Hutton Institute, Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and the University of Liverpool.
The project aims to co-develop tools, materials and recommendations to improve the communication of roundworm control and biosecurity advice to cattle producers. The team will engage with cattle farmers to explore current biosecurity measures and associated stress factors to co-develop advice on biosecurity and roundworm control strategies relevant to cattle producers to maximise uptake.
BRACE is a three-year project funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), until the end of 2025.