Sheep and cattle producers warned against fluke

02 October, 2012

English beef and sheep producers are being warned to take action against a costly disease this autumn.

According to Eblex, the risk of sheep and cows contracting liver fluke this year is higher than normal due to the unusual weather.

The disease is reported to cost the beef and sheep industry millions each year, with the vast majority of this loss being felt by producers.

Food Standards Agency (FSA) records show that more than 510,000 cattle livers (22%) were prevented from entering the human food chain last year as a result of fluke. The rejection of these livers cost the beef industry more than £1.7m in trade and the FSA said similar losses could be expected in the sheep sector.

Eblex explained that although losses were high on the processor side, they were “dwarfed” by the estimated £25-£30 it costs farmers for each case of liver fluke. The losses then add up to £15.3m per year, but Eblex said recent research suggested the losses could be higher.

Farmers are being advised to screen stock for the presence of fluke eggs in the dung of their animals or via a blood test, as well as to take note of abattoir feedback on rejected livers.

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