In the first episode host Ben Eagle is joined by SCOPS Chair Kevin Harrison, vet Phillipa Page and SQP Jess Frost to discuss the SCOPS Principles and what they mean in reality on farm.
For more information on SCOPS visit www.scops.org.uk
For our podcast disclaimer see here - scops.org.uk/podcasts/
Host: Ben Eagle
Co-host: Kevin Harrison (Chair of SCOPS)
Guests: Phillipa Page (Vet, Flock Health Ltd); Jessica Frost (Fram Farmers)
Phillipa Page is a vet consultant with Flock Health Limited. After qualifying as a vet in 2006 Phillipa worked initially in a mixed practice in South Wales before moving into farm animal practice in Gloucestershire. She is also a tenant farmer with her husband working with 380 breeding commercial ewes. She has been an active member of the British Cattle Veterinary Association and the Sheep Veterinary Society executive committees.
Jess Frost is an Animal Health Specialist with Fram Farmers. She has been with FF for 9 and a half years and been an SQP for 9 years.
Principle 1: ‘always make sure that any treatment you give is fully effective’.
Principle 2: 'try to reduce your reliance on anthelmintics using management options and monitoring where possible’
Principle 3: ‘avoid bringing in resistant worms and/or other parasites by following a robust quarantine routine’
Principle 4: ‘minimise the selection for worms that are resistant to anthelmintics when you treat sheep’ .
You are listening to the SCOPS Podcast.
Hello and welcome to the very first episode of the SCOPS Podcast, the show in which we put the spotlight on sustainable parasite control in sheep. Whether you're a sheep farmer, a vet, or somebody involved in the wider industry with an interest in sheep. You're most welcome. And over this first series, we're going to be looking at a range of sheep parasite topics from scab to liver fluke, anthelmintics, resistance, and the SCOPS principles themselves.
I'm your host, Ben Eagle. I'm a rural affairs journalist and podcaster. And on today's episode, we're taking a look at the SCOPS principles, which funnily enough, all focus on the sustainable control of parasites in sheep. We'll be looking at the principles themselves, but critically asking our guests how they use the principles in their day to day work.
The aim is to use less when it comes to parasiticides, only using them when necessary, but how to do this, and what does it mean on a practical level? For each of the four episodes in this first series of the podcast, I'm being joined by a co host who knows, thankfully, a lot more than me when it comes to sheep parasites.
Today, I'm really pleased to be joined by the Scots Chair, Kevin Harrison. Kevin, hi, how are you doing? Can you introduce yourself? Hi, Ben. Yeah, no pressure on that introduction. Um, so, um, yes, I am chair of SCOPS. Um, I'm also a farm manager down near Bath, um, where we run a mixed farm of arable and sheep, and that makes me farmer chair of SCOPS.
We're very fortunate that SCOPS is set up in a way that they put a farmer in as a chair and a vice chair. We have Robert Halliwell, who's also a farmer. Keeps that farmer voice strong within the group, but my main day to day work is on the farm working with the sheep. And then I also do a little bit of work with the NSA.
I'm the English committee chair there and I'm on their policy and technical committee. And then I do a little bit of other freelance stuff as well. From your point of view, why is Scops such an effective group? I mean, SCOPS is, it's been around 20 odd years now, hasn't it? Um, and it's got worldwide recognition really for the work it does.
It's an industry led group that works in the interest of the UK sheep industry. And it recognizes that, you know, if we leave it unchecked, anthelmintic resistance is going to be one of the biggest challenges for the future health and profitability of the sheep sector. And it was formed to develop sustainable strategies, you know, all those years ago, even, uh, for parasite control and sheep.
And it now includes a great deal of work on external parasites, and we facilitate and oversee, see the delivery of those recommendations to the wide industry and ensure that new research and development is incorporated to refine and improve advice that we give to the sheep industry. And as you said, Ben, our mantra is very much use as much as necessary, but as little as.
And we have a wide amount of representatives, uh, from the industry and try and name them really. Cause their input is vital to Scott. So, um, uh, AgriSearch, ARDA, Amtrak, HDB, AFA, HCC, Morden, NFU. NOAA, NSA, QMS, RUMA, SAC, SVS, VMD, VETPOL, and CALS. And I apologize for all the acronyms there. You've been practicing that, Kevin.
Well, if you notice, they're in alphabetical order as well. It's like the periodic table. You have to learn it.
So, like you say, a wide, wide range of members there, but I mean, we're talking about Scott principles today, which if anyone goes on the Scott's website, it's the first thing that you'll see. So, I mean, what are they? And why does Scott have them in the first place? Yeah, it's a really good question, and I think it's very easy for people, rolls off people say, Oh, yeah, we use the scops principles, or you must use the scops principles, but we need to know them as well.
Those four main principles are, you know, always make sure that any treatment you give is fully effective. Try to reduce the reliance on anthelmintics using management options and monitoring where possible. Also avoid bringing in resistant worms and or other parasites by following a robust quarantine routine, and also to minimize the selection of worms that are resistant to anthelmintics when you treat them.
Uh, let's introduce our guests. First up, we have Philippa Page, who is a vet consultant with Flock Health Limited. After qualifying as a vet in 2006, she worked initially in a mixed practice in South Wales before moving into farm animal to see lost to share. She's also a tenant farmer with her husband, working with 380 breeding commercial ewes.
She's been an active member of the British Cattle Veterinary Association and the Sheep Veterinary Society executive committees. And we're also joined, I'm really pleased to say, by Jess Frost, who is an animal health specialist with Fram Farmers, based in Suffolk. She's been with them for nine and a half years, and she's been an SQP for nine years.
Let's turn to the first principle. Um, which is always make sure that any treatment you give is fully effective. Kevin, can you give us some more detail on what this means for you as a farmer, I suppose, first of all, and why it's so important? Yeah, sure. It's very much on trend at the moment, this one as well.
And, um, we need to make sure that we're doing everything RN to make sure that that product that we've bought is, is working. Right, so the first one would be, obviously, to use the correct dose rate. Um, because if we're underdosing, then we're not going to have the full efficacy of that product. By doing that, we are making sure we're weighing the animals, so we know the weight in the animals, and we're treating to the heaviest animal, so that we're not underdosing the heavier ones.
If. Maybe there's a big weight range. We could maybe split those two groups of those animals into two groups, you know, because there are some products that if you overdose too much, they can have an effect on the animal's health, the treatment technique dosing, make sure it's going over the back of the town and being gentle with it and make sure it's, it's going Thank you.
Over the back of the tongue and down into the rumen and also making sure that, you know, your level of anthelmintic resistance on the farm, because there's no point in using a product that, you know, doesn't work, you know, if you don't know that you've what your resistance level is, then you're just, you know, putting your finger in the air and feeling the wind.
So that, you know, that product choice is really important. Yeah, so resistance especially is going to be something that we're going to be talking about in quite a bit of detail in episode 2. Philippa, let's go over to you. Um, and thanks for coming on the podcast. Um, as, as a vet, this goes without saying for you really, doesn't it, in terms of making sure that treatment's effective, but what does it actually mean in practice?
I think it means that the farmer is getting a return on the investment that they're actually putting into treating their animals. So that firstly, as Kevin mentioned, the product's actually going to work and that They are not adding to the development of resistance because when you're treating a group of sheep, you've got the costs involved with actually using that product and buying the product.
And then you've got the labor costs as well. And time is money and farmers. quite often need to get help or, or they have to set aside time to, to do these things like worming. And so they've got to make sure that what they're doing, they're actually going to get a return on that investment. So I think in practice, as we've mentioned previously, it's about making sure that you're treating the right group of animals, understanding what you're actually treating for.
And the time of year, what's likely to be the problem, seeking advice before making that investment in cost and time and going to the effort of getting the animals in to make sure they're using the right products or seeking advice from their vet or from their SQP. It's about taking time to think and certainly not doing what they've done maybe in years.
Before or what they've always done traditionally at that time of year, because we can guarantee that it will be different and we can guarantee that every year and every season is different. I should say, what's the most common mistake you see us farmers making then, Philippa? I mean, what are we looking out for when it comes to this principle?
Well, like I just mentioned, I suppose the common mistake is just repeating what they've done previously year on year. So maybe using the same class of wormer at that time of year without establishing some evidence about whether they need to use it, whether they need to worm. I think you've also, you've mentioned it previously, but actually underestimating the weight of animals.
Many farmers breeds have changed. Uh, we've got lots of competent breeds. The actual average you body weight on farms has changed. So quite often farmers are under dosing, um, or not dosing correctly, which has huge impacts on the effectiveness of the product and the development of resistance. So I think those two things are quite important and simply checking that the gun is delivering the right amount of chemical.
because quite often it's used and then it's chucked in the back of the pickup and then it's, it's, it's got out again for the next time, uh, maybe using a different product, maybe it has a quick wash, um, or not. And all of those things impact on how effective the drug is that's then delivered out of it into the sheep.
It's really good point in there. Farmers will happily accept a nice free drench gun. And actually, if you just made a small investment in a decent metal, reliable gun as well, um, and looked after it, you know, that could make a big difference. Yeah, exactly. And Jess, as an SQP, uh, who's supplying and prescribing, how do you help your customers achieve the principle?
Um, so working for a cooperative, we're quite lucky we can get to know our farmers and build up a rapport with them. Um, so we can actually check back on our records or ask the farmer. what products they've used before. Obviously, it's of utmost importance to order products and that Philip has already said before that most suit the situation and the requirements as we don't always know all of our members.
So, including checking the usual animal information, such as age, weight, numbers of animals, medicine, history, et cetera. But also understanding the competence or knowledge of administering the product because the different Products have got different viscosities that applicator gun needs, farm setup, quarantine needs, and also any resistance on farm.
So our main aim is to provide independent advice as well as ordering relevant products for delivery direct to farm bit. applicator guns, quality ones, obviously, um, and other livestock equipment. The farmer might need as competitively priced as we can from, um, a network of suppliers. You are listening to the Scots podcast.
Let's turn to principle two. Um, which is try to reduce your reliance on anthelmintics using management options and monitoring where possible. So, Kevin here, we're talking about wider things like grazing options and planning ahead. So, as a farmer, how do you go about reducing your use? I mean, if we start sort of early on in the season, once, once the lambs are born and they're out, I always keep an eye on the, the scops nematodyrus forecast, which is a, a map.
It's a link on the, on the scops web page. It's usually put on the homepage at the Uh, that time of year and it's measuring the temperatures and altitude within the country, those little dots on the map and they, and they're color coded. So it forecasts when there's going to be a mass hatch and that way, I'm not going to go in too early with my white worm to, to treat them to Dyrus and then I have to go in again afterwards because they've hatched after I've treated my animals.
So that's, that's one way I try and reduce that by getting the first number to Dyrus Wormer. Timing correct. And then I'll use FECs after that, Fecal egg counts, to make sure that I'm not treating when they don't need it. So wait until they get into a height where, where they want doing. And I'm also then using those FECs to make sure that, um, that product has worked at the correct time after I've used it.
With adult sheep. I'm very, using very little now on, on, on use, um, just the ones that are really, we're, we're quite fortunate that we lamb indoors, so we can do them at turnout, but we only do anything that might be stressed or in a low body condition score. Or in bad health, um, hopefully we don't have too many of those.
So we've been very selective in which adult sheep we treat and that's it. We don't, we don't treat any other time of the year with the adult sheep. And then we're looking at grazing options and knowing which fields are, we're all permanent pasture, but we're, we, we know which fields make, may have a higher worm burden and just keeping things moving and understanding your pastures and.
Uh, and the life cycle of the parasites as well. I think that's about it. And if I left, I mean, any more common, more common way she farmers achieve this principle. Some farmers struggle sometimes a little bit with confidence in terms of changing their routines and to, to reduce the reliance on anthelmintics.
I think better knowledge transfer and information of which there is lots on the scops website and other resources can really help them. Uh, when it comes to reducing the, their reliance on, on wormers. Nutrition I think is key. Improving the nutrition of the growing animal or any performing animal means that immunologically they are better equipped to deal with worm burdens in a, in a physiological sense.
But also management wise, it means that the challenge is lower. So by incorporating different strategies on farm, so some farms are moving towards rotational grazing. So they're getting better grass utilization. So the farm's benefiting, the soil's benefiting, but so is the nutrition of the animal, the worm challenge is lower.
So the larvae, um, that, that tend to start at the bottom of the time that they've got up there ready to infect the sheep, the sheep have been moved, there's that improvement from how farmers are looking to use rotational grazing, which is really nutritional based, but has got. Infective lower worm burden challenge as well, and then incorporating different species of grass into farms that are part of other schemes, but also a very helpful from a reducing the reliance on anthelmintic points of view.
So the herbal is the mixed swords, where they've got the anti parasitic properties of plants themselves and the different species in there, but also the better nutrition again, it's it's quite difficult. Put them into action as well when you're on the coalface and that, I mean, there's quite a few barriers and problems out there for farmers in there when they're trying to reduce their reliance on anthelmintics.
Yeah, in a lot of the time, I think it's because they, um, quite often maybe not understanding what the actual impacts are on their farm. So what the problems are, what worm species is, and it's safer to use a chemical treatment because they are hopeful that's going to work. But the difficulties now are that.
because of anthelmintic resistance, they don't always work. So we have to change. We cannot control worms based on just anthelmintics alone anymore. All farms have got to do something within their management to change how they can control worm burdens. But I agree it's not always easy and I think confidence is a lot of it.
So it's seeking advice to improve that, which will help farmers change just one tiny thing each year. Yeah, Jess, you're there on the, on the cold face, really prescribing these products and talking to farmers. What do you think about, you know, how these farmers achieve these principles and the problems they face?
To be honest, most farmers or shepherds that we speak to do understand the issues, um, and will work with their vets, um, on a healthcare or flock care plan. So we don't have. Too many issues, thankfully, however, getting some people into a habit of fecal account testing hasn't been quick. Um, however, we can supply cost effective fecal account tests to check efficacy plus.
We are also seeing a lot more mixed farms cropping up, so rather than just arable or just livestock, so clean pasture is, is really helping to reducing reliance on, on wormers. It's really when the farms have got old meadowlands that could be classed as dirty pasture that we might find it more difficult because despite selective breeding or fecal account testing, sometimes results aren't quick enough, especially with weather.
Thank you. Patterns like this year, when they can be perfect conditions for haemonchus burdens, and the sheet can go down really quickly. So, we've also seen some Nematodeirus that may crop up at different times of year to how farms might have historically expected that with the different weather patterns.
So, it's not always easy for them to respond quickly enough, I think is one of the biggest, the hardest hurdles for them. Just mentioned there, um, about getting into the habit of doing FECs, Fecal Accounts, um, and I mean, this is something again that Leslie's going to talk quite a bit about in the next episode, but just wondering from your perspective.
Have you got any tips on, on sort of getting into good habits? It's a really good question, the whole thing about FECs. I, I used the analogy the other day about, um, it's a bit like flossing, you know, when you go to the dentist and they say, do you, Oh, Mr. Harrison, you've been flossing. You say, well, probably, uh, not as much as I should or something like that, but you have to use them at the right time.
It's not about how many you do. And let's say if you, if you're understanding parasites and the weather and stuff, and, and, and, and you know, what your count is on those sheep, you can then monitor it going. But like Jess says, you don't want to be caught out and just wait two weeks. So it's a, it's a, it's a fine balancing act on when to do it and when not to do it, and when the sheep's immunity might kick in when they're older as well.
So, um, there's no definitive prescriptive amount of time you should do. Fecal egg counting, in my opinion, these, uh, Philippa might, um, say different, but it's, it's about understanding when you need to do them and when they are a really good tool, powerful tool to use. Yeah, exactly. They are very much part of the jigsaw and they're not the whole answer.
They're really useful, um, particularly when you, um, are looking at worm burdens on the farm, which areas are likely to be quite, have quite a high challenge. They're really useful to check whether your drench has worked and they can be really useful from, um, when we're looking at adult use and, uh, when we're looking at the haemonchus risk that Jess mentioned earlier.
Um, for looking changes, um, abnormal changes in egg counts that might suddenly rise. Um, particularly if we have some humongous issues on a farm, um, and then they are very useful in the growing animal to determine when to treat, but I would say alongside. other monitoring techniques, such as live weight gains and, and how those animals are performing alongside whether they've actually got a high fecal egg count as well.
You are listening to the Scots podcast. Now let's stick with you for principle three, and this is to avoid bringing in resistant worms and or other parasites by following a robust quarantine routine. Why is this so important? So it's obviously really important because you don't want to buy in somebody else's bad practice.
So it costs a lot of money and effort and time for you to establish a healthy flock. You may do testing to check which of your wormers are working. You may know what your challenges are on the farm. So when you buy in new stock, you want to protect those stock that are coming in to make sure that they aren't.
Bringing any worms with them that may be affecting them. And you want to protect your stock on your farm from then being exposed to worms that are actually resistant to one of the different classes of wormer, or in some cases all of the classes of wormer. So you have very much seen, um, that quarantine procedure as a protection, protecting your flock from what you are bringing in and from the efforts that you've.
Gone to, to create a healthy flock yourself. From that point of view, it is worth investing time and money into a quarantine procedure. So seek advice from your vets and from your advisors to make sure that you're using good products to eliminate and good practice to eliminate bringing in any anthelmintic resistant worms.
And for those to then populate your pasture, whilst it can be seen as, um, an expense sometimes. By farmers to go to the expense of using the more novel classes than the newer classes of, of wormer, you're actually only using them on a smaller group of animals that are going to enter your flock. If you buy in anthelmintic resistant worms, you could be in a situation where that's all you can use going forward.
So it's worth protecting your flock and making sure you put the effort into that new group of animals before you then may create problems in the future for your own flock. Yeah, Kevin, can you just take us through maybe your procedure in terms of what you do, how you make sure that it's simple and effective?
I mean, we get our replacements on really early, you know, they're, they're on the, all our replacements are on the farm by the end of August. this year that does then give you that time to quarantine them properly and effectively. There's no point going and buying a ram two days before you want to put it in with the ewes and then not expect trouble.
So I make sure I buy them early, then I'll yard my sheep for 48 hours and that's straight off the lorry into a yard. It's not, you know, run them across a field to the shed. It can be tricky. I mean, we're up a tight windy lane and I realized eventually that it was actually better to. Pay a little bit more for haulage and get them delivered straight into the shed than have a massive lorry turn up and have to walk them across the farm.
I always worm with more than one product, definitely the group four, we struggle with group five at the moment, so by doing that we're reducing the chance of any resistant worms surviving the treatment. When these sheep do go out, I make sure they go out to dirty pasture. Um, and that's important because if there's any resistant worms that have survived, we don't want them to have a free reign on a clean pasture.
Keep them for separate for three or four weeks. Um, longer if possible, but you know, three and four weeks. And that's important for wider health issues like cod and other parasites. Issues scops has developed this really great step by step guide to quarantine testing and treatments. And it's, it's designed for vets and advisors really, but if you're a good switched on farmer, you can understand them as well.
And they've come up with sort of a calendar to demonstrate how it would fit in with your plan. And there's different ones to choose on, on, on the different levels of risk, you know, sheep scab and liver fluke as well. And the other important thing is as well, if you've used those. Those products are group four and five to four country check.
It's worked because you don't know what, where you've bought them from, you know, they might've been overusing those products or had resistance to those products. So check they've worked at the correct time, whether it's 14 days, seven days, depending on what group, because you don't want them spewing out resistant worms for products that.
That should be working 100 percent on your farm.
Kevin, let's move on to the final principle, uh, which is to minimize the selection for worms that are resistant to anthelmintic. When you treat sheep, uh, thinking about dilution effects and when products are being used. Tell us a bit more about this from your point of view. Well, I'm just quite technical.
This one is, is I think I should send, I should hand it over to Philippa, really. So like, that's a good idea. Thank you. I thought you might do that. So why is this principle important then Philippa and how the farms get started on a practical level? Oh gosh, okay. I try to put, explain this in simple terms, which is that every time we put a chemical or an anthelmintic into an animal, so down the throat of an animal, some worms genetically are advanced enough to survive that treatment.
So every time we're exposing a worm population to a chemical, some will survive it. So what we want to make sure we do is that we slow down that effect by not exposing all of those worms at that one point in time to that drug. And then secondly, we want to ensure that any that do survive are diluted enough in a population that when they rebreed, um, which happens out of the animal on the ground, Um, it is more likely that they are, um, continuing their generations with worms that are still susceptible to the anthelmintic and that they are not breeding with like for like worms that have also survived.
So how can farmers practically apply that? Sorry, Kevin, were you going to? No, no, no. I was just going to say that's exactly how I would have put it. Yeah. I knew you were going to say that. So how can farmers practically apply that? So they can make sure that when they are treating a group of animals with a wormer, they do not treat every single animal.
Um, that can be quite hard for farmers to do because understandably in their mind, they want to protect all of those animals. But we know that in a, in a group of lambs or in a group of younger ewes, whatever they may be treating, um, other than for quarantine purposes. We know that in that group of animals, some of them will not be, will not be affected by worms and they do not need a treatment.
And, uh, we can get more technical and more specific about who those animals are, but generally if they are performing well, Across a group of animals, those that are growing very well will not need a treatment. So, it's leaving a proportion untreated, so that the worms that may be in them, um, will be mixed with any surviving worms that come out of the animals.
that they do treat. How many to leave can be quite difficult to establish sometimes, but very simply as a starting point, we tend to say 10 to 15 percent to leave untreated, but we know, um, with research where we've actually looked at that, it may be much Um, more that can be left untreated, but as a very clear starting point, 10 percent is a figure that we tend to use.
And then how do we dilute that population on the ground? So practically that means that when you treat a group of animals, they need to remain on the pasture that they came from. So that any worms that survive that treatment are passed out in the feces onto the pasture. And those worms are mixing with worms that were there previously.
And then the animals remain there to become lightly re infected, so remaining on that dirty pasture for four, five, six days before then being moved on to some, some cleaner pasture. Yeah, some great stuff about refugia in the, um, technical manner on the, on the SCOPS website. Um, and, and, and TSTs, you know, and just targeted selection treatment.
So those ones, you know, with the lower grace, and that's, that's a really good expanding areas and that there's, there's, there's coming up, you know, you're saying about, um, you know, the 10 percent or whatever, you know, when you round up young lambs and they're all. Charging about well, if 10 run back, I think, well, there's the start of my, uh, ones that don't get treated.
I won't bother chasing them around and trying to get them in and if some jump, jump out. So that's a good start, isn't it? But, um, I mean, how do you discourage farmers from treating all their animals, Jess? Um, I think habit is the hardest to change, um, but ultimately farmers know it's, it's less work and cost to them in the long run.
And let's face it, reducing costs for the right reason is attractive. On a practical level, uh, treating animals most at risk and leaving a percentage untreated means that wormer. We can help them source, um, marker sprays, so they know who's treated fecal egg count tests, um, or to ensure that they've got spare applicators or syringes to check calibrations are correct too.
Many farmers, to be fair, have or are being educated by seminars, um, through scops or the likes of Leslie's Dubbings and Co, but also by speaking to their vet and SSQPs, we do try and back those principles up. Kevin, in terms of barriers, um, from a farmer point of view, with this one, do you think there are any?
And just also interested in how, how affected do you think you are with this, with achieving this one? This is probably the most trickiest one. Fit around your system. If you know, if you're not careful parasites can be a bit like electricity, you know, you can't see it You must need to understand it so that you don't get a shock and just to get it to work around you You must read to understand the life cycle of the worms and the effects of weather has on it You have to understand high risk fields, you know refugia Um, which products you're using, try not to use products, you know, with persistent action, maybe in the wrong times, the dilution effects, it really, this really is a, a tough one, and it really is worth getting, you know, talking about this with your SQP and, and your vet, which is a bit why I handed over to Philippa there at the start, just, just to get your head, try to understand it, but don't be afraid to ask for advice on this and, And don't be afraid not to treat as well, you know, you can save a lot of time and effort by not picking up a drench gun and money, um, and just doing it when you need to do it, so, um, yeah, it's a really sort of trickle, tricky principle, but once you understand how it fits in with your farm and your system, it then becomes easier.
And it's to have some evidence as well. So if you have some evidence as to, to help you with that decision, it can be really useful. So I, I try and encourage farmers to get some growth rates. Look at what the animals are growing at. And this can be done really technically with. EIDs in every lamb and using the technology that's available now to look at what that lamb is doing every single day to make a decision on whether it needs a treatment.
If it's growing at 300, 400 grams a day, it is not suffering from the impacts of worms. Whereas a third of that group may be suffering and Their growth rates will have dropped down to 100, 150 grams per day. And you've got clear evidence then to decide who needs a worming treatment and who doesn't need a worming treatment.
And that, it doesn't have to be that over facing. You don't need all the, all the EID to be able to do that. All you need is, Jess mentioned a spray marker where you can mark 10 sheep, for example, pull 10 lambs out of that group and track them, weigh them. Just them and work out on your, on your little notepad or your phone what they're growing at, what they weighed today and what they weighed two weeks ago and very quickly work out how they're growing and use that group as a cohort for the rest of the, the group.
And that's not very. Time consuming, um, but it will give you an indication and confidence as to whether you feel that they need to be treated or not. I'm quite fortunate that I've got myself a nice set of scales with a, uh, with a good way ahead and it'll tell me my growth rates and you can almost see what's happening before the, the fecal egg counts go up, but there's some really great software out there on its way.
Um, I wouldn't say it's completely a hundred percent reliable yet. Um, but the algorithms and everything, and, uh, there's, there's some really good stuff coming along that's going to help with TST, I think in the future. Yeah, it's a huge developing area of research, which is very exciting. If you can get excited about worms, like I do, it's just giving us information, which is so important to help, to help the farmers.
It's brilliant. I think everyone listening to this podcast is excited about worms. Otherwise you wouldn't be listening to it. If
you're a fisherman, you've come to the wrong podcast. We're going to start to round this up. Um, and we have covered quite a lot of ground today, but, um, just quickly, um, I'm just going to go around the room and I'm just wondering if you could give the listeners a good starting point, I suppose, for making one effective change, um, on farm based on everything we've discussed today.
No small challenge. Philippa, let's go to you first. Okay, I'm going to say two little things here. One is to speak with your vet or your advisor to gain some extra knowledge and confidence. And number two is to monitor performance. Jess? Well, Philip has already pinched one of my suggestions, so I'll say a couple of things.
Keep on top of your WIRM accounts. But also, most importantly, have well maintained and calibrated equipment to administer treatment. And we'll do the final word to the scops chair, Mr. Kevin Harrison. I would say don't be afraid. One of the best changes you can say, do is don't be afraid to make a change, listen to really good advice, learn from it, absorb it like a sponge, put it into action, and hopefully you'll see the benefits, and then that you'll, you'll be.
Pleased to make another change and keep, you'll just keep seeing everything getting so much better and you'll start understanding more brilliant. Well, we'll leave it there. That's all we have time for today. That's it for our first episode. A big thanks to our guests today, Philippa Page and Jess Frost.
And thanks also to my co host for this first episode, the chair of scops, Kevin Harrison. Thank you very much for listening. If you enjoyed this episode, then please do share it with your network. It's how podcasts, especially in the early days grow. So please spread the word. Leave us a rating and a review if you're streaming, and the episode on Apple Podcast or Spotify or anywhere else you're listening to your podcast.
Um, in episode two, um, out later this week actually. We'll be focusing on practical options for performing WERMA treatment checks. In the meantime, you can find lots more information on the SCOPS website. Let's give it another plug, which is scops. org. uk. I've been your host, Ben Eagle, and you've been listening to the SCOPS podcast.
I'll look forward to you joining us again next time.