6 Mar 2009

NZ technology helps reduce need for drenching

10:05 pm on 6 March 2009

New Zealand technology that helps farmers to reduce the use of chemical treatments for livestock parasites has proved its effectiveness in a European Union research project.

PGG Wrightson-owned company Fecpak developed a diagnostic kit that allows farmers to monitor parastic worm levels in stock so they can avoid the unnecessary use of drenches.

It was part of an EU project to address growing concerns about the way anthelmintic drenches have been used, contributing to resistance in parasites.

Fecpak's role was to evaluate the effectiveness of using drenches only when necessary.

General manager Greg Mirams says the results of the three-year project were telling, with drench use reduced by a third on average.

Mr Mirams says drench resistance and the cost of parasite control is also a major issue in New Zealand.

He says farmers need to adopt the same approach that fruit and vegetable growers use, where they monitor pest levels and spray only when they need to.