Sainsbury's research shows FECPAKG2 improves animal health and reduces farm costs

Between 2014 and 2017 Leading UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s undertook research in partnership with Techion which proved FECPAKG2, the businesses digital microscope and image based faecal egg count (FEC) technology, improved animal health, reduced farming costs and assisted farmers in meeting changing consumer demands.

Additionally, the study proved that more targeted use of drenches not only improved animal performance by increasing lamb growth rates, but it also reduced farm costs and supported sustainable drenching practices.

A major finding was that drench (anthelmintic) resistance in animal parasites was far more widespread than most people realise. An alarming 84% of Sainsbury’s case study farmers in UK - and 37% in New Zealand - were found to be regularly using ineffective drench.

The reduction in weight gain for lambs receiving an ineffective drench resulted in a significant loss in income. Data collated in the research project estimated the loss for an average sheep farmer of £12,037 annually in the UK and $74,974 annually in New Zealand.

Sainsbury’s agricultural manager for lamb, John Brocklehurst, said the results showed undetected drench resistance in sheep could be costing Sainsbury’s lamb producers over £10 million per year. 84% of UK farmers involved in the research were revealed as using ineffective drenches, while the number was 37% for New Zealand farmers

John Brocklehurst explained the adoption of new technology such as FECPAKG2 was critical in delivering a productive and sustainable lamb supply chain.

“We’ve invested in research and development that matters to our farmers and more accurate control of worm burdens is an area where clear gains can be achieved. The use of innovative technology offers increased lamb output and improved animal health and welfare alongside cost savings and is a win-win for producers and consumers alike.”

“Technology that also offers a positive food story on drench use reduction - this is what our customers want to hear,” he said.

Furthermore, the Sainsbury research showed use of FECPAKG2 made it possible to reduce drench use on some properties by 30-50% without compromising animal performance.

Sainsbury’s chose FECPAKG2 because it is easy to use, gives quick results and allows farmers to build more effective animal health programs based on data and expertise. FECPAKG2 allows testing to be carried out virtually anywhere by anyone, including on-farm by the farmer.

The results of the Sainsbury’s-funded research undertaken in association with Sainsbury’s New Zealand processor, Alliance and AFCO were presented at in July 2018 at the National Sheep Association (NSA) Sheep Event in Worcestershire, United Kingdom. The study proved more targeted use of drenches/treatment not only improved animal performance by increasing lamb growth, but it also reduced farm costs and supported sustainable drenching/treatment practice.