Breeding wireworm-resistant Meatmasters
Farmer's Weekly|December 04, 2020
Through rigorous selection, Meatmaster stud breeder Nico Grobler from North West has succeeded in significantly reducing wireworm infestation in his Kern Meatmaster flock. This has enabled him to run the stud successfully in an area highly susceptible to the parasite. Annelie Coleman reports.
Annelie Coleman

The most dominant roundworm in South Africa’s summer rainfall areas is Haemonchus contortus. Known as wireworm (haarwurm) in South Africa and barber’s pole worm elsewhere, it is a blood-sucking parasite that targets sheep and goats, and can cause substantial blood loss in affected animals. It is particularly rife from February to May.

According to Nico Grobler, who keeps a 300- head Meatmaster flock near Ventersdorp in North West, wireworm can seriously threaten the long-term sustainability of a sheep flock and is the greatest hazard to sheep farming in his area.

“My objective is eventually to eradicate all animals in the flock that need treatment for wireworm. To that effect, I only use rams that have never been dosed for wireworm,” he says.

Grobler and his team use the FAMACHA system to evaluate the animal’s anaemia level and thereby the extent of wireworm infestation and whether or not treatment is required. This is done by comparing the colour of the mucus membrane on the sheep’s lower inner eyelid with the colours on a standardised ‘eye score’ card.

TO CULL OR NOT TO CULL?

Very few of the ewes that need to be treated for the parasite are allowed to remain in Grobler’s flock, while rams needing treatment are culled without exception. The ewes are weighed and monitored monthly according to the FAMACHA system. The decision of whether or not to cull is based on the infected animal’s genetic merit and the value of the contribution she makes to the stud.

A variety of products are used to treat infected animals to prevent the development of resistance.

Grobler says he simply cannot afford any animal that threatens the health status of the flock.

“I replace 20% of the ewes annually. By continually replacing them with wireworm-resistant animals, I’m well on the way to having a flock that’s entirely unaffected by the parasite. So far this year, I’ve had to treat only about 20% of the adult ewes, despite the extremely high rainfall of 800mm.”

To illustrate the value of rigorous selection for resistance, Grobler says that 80% of the progeny of a particular ram that was dosed once contracted wireworm in 2019, although the ram fared exceptionally well in veld tests. However, only 20% of the progeny of a ram that was never dosed were affected by the parasite in 2019.

RESISTANT INDIGENOUS BREED

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM FARMER'S WEEKLYView All

SUMMERTIME SALADS

These salads are a celebration of summer, and are perfect to have on their own or as a side. They are also easy to make and super affordable. Bon appétit!

4 mins read
Farmer's Weekly
January 1-8, 2021

North West farmers extend helping hand to hungry communities

Prompted by their own hardship during a decade of drought, farmers in the Schweizer-Reneke area have recognised the urgent need to help unemployed and hungry families in the local communities. Lindi Botha spoke to Jozeph du Plessis about the farmers’ project to distribute maize meal to the needy.

4 mins read
Farmer's Weekly
January 1-8, 2021

Backgrounding Beef Animals For Higher Profit

Most South African beef producers sell their weaners straight to feedlots for finishing. Chéri-Lynn Steyn, a master’s student in agricultural economics, explains how backgrounding these animals can increase the income of commercial beef farms and even of the feedlots themselves.

7 mins read
Farmer's Weekly
January 1-8, 2021

Economic Outlook 2021: Now Is The Time To Build Reserves

After a particularly tough year for its economy, South Africa faces many challenges in 2021. Reduced spending power, credit downgrades, and a second wave of COVID-19 could put a damper on agricultural profits this year, and farmers will need to consider their marketing plans carefully. Lindi Botha shares advice from two of the country’s leading economists.

7 mins read
Farmer's Weekly
January 1-8, 2021

Good Summer Rain Forecast For SA

Weather experts have predicted above-average precipitation for South Africa’s summer rainfall areas in 2020/2021. Meteorologist Johan van den Berg explained the weather cycles and La Niña/El Niño phenomena behind the forecast to Jeandré van der Walt.

3 mins read
Farmer's Weekly
January 1-8, 2021

Land Reform 2021: Beware Of Fake News

Land reform in South Africa is mired in policy uncertainty and government neglect. At the same time, it is a political football, kicked around shamelessly by some leaders to serve short-term political goals. Glenneis Kriel spoke to three experts in the field to obtain clarity on this crucially important topic.

9 mins read
Farmer's Weekly
January 1-8, 2021

Managing calf health for maximum long-term productivity

Prevention is better than cure, and this mindset is especially applicable when it comes to preparing calves for their productive adult lives. Dr Schabort Froneman, technical manager for ruminants at Zoetis, provides some pointers on how to raise healthy calves that can become healthy adult animals.

7 mins read
Farmer's Weekly
December 18, 2020

The stories that got us through a tough year

Farmer’s Weekly editor, Denene Erasmus, looks back at some of the top stories of 2020 that not only inspired her, but also served as an example to all South Africans of the remarkable resilience and determination shown by the farming sector during this most unusual year.

9 mins read
Farmer's Weekly
December 18, 2020

SA Harvest: fighting hunger and food waste one meal at a time

Small beginnings can lay the foundation of great success. This holds true for SA Harvest, a food rescue and distribution organisation. Ali Conn, regional manager at SA Harvest, spoke to Jeandré van der Walt about the organisation’s journey over the past year and its future plans.

5 mins read
Farmer's Weekly
December 18, 2020

Diversifying with a new variety pays off for pumpkin producer

The demand for convenient meals and easy-to-prepare vegetables is opening up marketing opportunities for the Hokkaido pumpkin, a newcomer to South Africa. Small, and with an edible peel, the variety holds much promise for expanding cucurbit cultivation. Lindi Botha spoke to Francois Steyn about farming the Hokkaido.

5 mins read
Farmer's Weekly
December 18, 2020
RELATED STORIES

REIMAGINE MIRRORLESS

Canon’s EOS R system represents a revolution in full-frame mirrorless photography, and the EOS R5 and EOS R6 are its flagship cameras

3 mins read
Photography week
January 14, 2021

JOIN THE REVOLUTION

Meet the Canon EOS R5 and Canon EOS R6 – the full-frame mirrorless cameras that are changing the game for photographers and film-makers

3 mins read
PhotoPlus : The Canon Magazine
February 2021

JOIN THE REVOLUTION

Meet the Canon EOS R5 and Canon EOS R6 – the full-frame mirrorless cameras that are changing the game for photographers and film-makers

3 mins read
Photography week
December 24, 2020

JOIN THE REVOLUTION

Meet the Canon EOS R5 and Canon EOS R6 – the full-frame mirrorless

3 mins read
Photography week
December 17, 2020

JOIN THE REVOLUTION

Meet the Canon EOS R5 and Canon EOS R6 – the full-frame mirrorless cameras that are changing the game for photographers and film-makers

3 mins read
Photography week
December 10, 2020

Canon RF 800mm f/11 IS STM £979/$899

Massive reach in a compact package

3 mins read
Digital Camera World
January 2021

JOIN THE REVOLUTION

Meet the Canon EOS R5 and Canon EOS R6 – the full-frame mirrorless cameras that are changing the game for photographers and film-makers

3 mins read
Photography week
December 03, 2020

Finding New Opportunities in Every Crisis

The Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown it has induced, does not appear to ease any time soon, and its impact on businesses is still far from over. Smart Photography spoke to C. Sukumaran, Director, Consumer System Products and Imaging Communication Products, Canon India, to find out about Canon’s strategies to overcome this crisis.

5 mins read
Smart Photography
September 2020

Canon's looking to move forward

WITH THE LAUNCH OF THE EOS R5 AND R6, CANON IS LOOKING TO MOVE FORWARD IN ITS FULL-FRAME MIRRORLESS RANGE. WITH THE FIRST OF ITS KIND LAUNCH, BHAVYA DESAI SPOKE TO C SUKUMARAN, DIRECTOR, CONSUMER SYSTEM PRODUCTS & IMAGING COMMUNICATION PRODUCTS, CANON INDIA ON THE IMPACT (IF ANY) DURING THIS TIME ON THE PRODUCTS, THEIR AVAILABILITY AND MORE: EXCERPTS:

3 mins read
Asian Photography
September 2020

Finding New Opportunities in Every Crisis

The Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown it has induced, does not appear to ease any time soon, and its impact on businesses is still far from over. Smart Photography spoke to C. Sukumaran, Director, Consumer System Products and Imaging Communication Products, Canon India, to find out about Canon’s strategies to overcome this crisis.

5 mins read
Smart Photography
September 2020