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Drenching gun . . . AgResearch principal scientist Dr Dave Leathwick talked about the problem of drench resistance at the New Zealand Beef + Lamb Progressive Ag Conference in Gore. PHOTO: ALLIED PRESS FILES

AgResearch principal scientist Dr Dave Leathwick says when it comes to drench resistance, the information available to New Zealand farmers is better than anywhere else in the world.

Dr Leathwick spoke about drench resistance at the New Zealand Beef + Lamb Progressive Ag Conference in Gore earlier this month.

“I did a speaking tour around the United Kingdom four years ago and they were 20 years behind. They had no idea what they were doing and the problem over there was just getting worse and worse,” Dr Leathwick said.

AgResearch had completed lots of research on drench resistance that had been tested on commercial farms throughout New Zealand.

“We were able to go on to real farms and improve the drench-resistance problem. That convinces me that what we were doing was working because we could measure that it was working.”

Dr Leathwick said he was frustrated because it had been known for years how to prevent drench resistance.

“We have a problem and it’s getting worse and we know how to fix it, but we’re not doing it.”

Dr Leathwick had some thoughts on why the message was not getting through to farmers and said part of the problem could be farmers did not test for resistance.

Farmers acknowledged there was a drench-resistance problem but would think they did not have it, as their stock looked fine.

“I’ve been told that 20 or 30 times at least by farmers all over New Zealand.

“What I think that tells me is farmers work on what they can see and if they can’t see it and everything looks good, then you don’t see a problem, but the problem is you won’t see it [drench resistance].”

Dr Leathwick said a faecal egg count reduction test (FECRT) would cost about $1500.

He recommended one be carried out every three years and if farmers were finishing 5000 lambs, it would work out to be about 10c per lamb.

“What farmers are currently doing is not sustainable.

If they keep doing what they’re doing now, it’s going to continue to get worse.

“It’s been getting worse for the last 35 years and if people don’t change, you can expect the same result.”