The parasitology laboratory of FiBL now offers faecal analysis for cattle, in collaboration with Bio Suisse. In addition to parasitological results, the farms receive an interpretation of the results and recommendations. The offer is open to all organic cattle farms in Switzerland with immediate effect.
Infections involving internal parasites such as gastrointestinal strongylida, liver flukes or lung worms belong to the most important problems for grazing heifers. In most cases, the parasites are controlled with chemically-synthesised deworming treatments, so-called anthelmintics. In accordance with the organic regulation, such medications are allowed on organic farms, albeit under condition of direct veterinary prescription, or with a faecal analysis tested positive for parasites. In principle, the use of chemically-synthesised medications should be avoided on organic farms; the preservation of animal health should be ensured with preventive measures whenever possible. Grazing-management strategies are especially appealing when dealing with internal parasites in order to prevent animal infestation. The technical leaflet contains recommendations as well as a questionnaire useful for identifying infection risk for gastrointestinal strongylida for individual farms. In order to verify whether or not a single animal or a herd is excessively afflicted with parasites, quantitative faecal analyses are appropriate. These results help best assess the need for action (adjustment of the grazing management, selective deworming with medication). For sheep and goats, the Advisory and Health Services for Small Ruminants have been offering a parasite observation programme for several years. Thanks to regular faecal analyses, which are carried out at the parasitology laboratory of FiBL, livestock owners receive recommendations for treatment.
So far, there is no equivalent programme for cattle - from the livestock owners' perspective, there is however great need. This is why the parasitology laboratory of FiBL now offers faecal analysis for cattle, in collaboration with Bio Suisse. In addition to parasitological results, the farms receive an interpretation of the results and recommendations. The offer is open to all organic cattle farms in Switzerland with immediate effect.