Sheep farmers are being encouraged to get advice from their SQP (Suitably Qualified Person) on new SCOPS (Sustainable Control of Parasites in Sheep) quarantine guidelines.
“The reasons for quarantine treating sheep have not changed,” says sheep vet, Kate Hovers, who has been involved in the training of SQPs in implementing the new guidelines, “but farmers now have a wider range of options, making it easier to develop a strategy adapted to individual farms.
“The guidelines offer three levels of treatment – gold, silver and bronze, all of which will protect existing flocks,” explains Kate Hovers. “If a farm specialises in high-value tups, then the gold standard will be worthwhile. For a farm that buys and sells large numbers of sheep or finishes lambs, the silver or bronze might be more cost-effective,” she says.
“I would encourage farmers to take advantage of free advice from their SQP, and to ask plenty of questions to establish the right approach on their farm,” Kate Hovers continues, “Over 500 SQPs have received training in the new SCOPS guidelines since they were published earlier this year during the AMTRA (Animal Medicines Training Regulatory Authority)/AHDA (Animal Health Distributors Association) CPD (Continuing Professional Development) Roadshow events through the spring,” she concludes.
“The aim of quarantine treatments is to reduce the likelihood of bringing resistant worms, or other parasites or diseases, into a flock along with new stock,” explains Lesley Stubbings of SCOPS. “The new approach will help farmers work with SQPs to create flexible strategies, using a range of treatment and management techniques to protect animals already on the farm,” Lesley Stubbings adds.