Alan and Catrin Williams farm at Gwythrian on the tip of the Llyn Peninsula along with their three sons, Dafydd, Wil and Ieuan.
The system comprises of a flock of 1,350 Suffolk mules with all lambs finished on farm. The family also run 80 suckler cows as well as a further 450 Charolais cross store cattle which are purchased annually and taken through to finishing.
In 2018, the family experienced an increase of E-coli during lambing and decided that this needed addressing. With such an emphasis of reducing antibiotic use within the agricultural industry, Alan decided now was the time to change his approach to disease management. “Prevention is the best form of treatment” Alan says. “Our protocol needed reviewing as we were relying heavily on antibiotics to treat for E-coli” he adds. An increasing number of ewes were treated in the first batch against E-coli as a prevention with an antibiotic. All the lambs from the yearling ewes were treated for E-coli as the disease risk increased greater towards the tail end of lambing .“This was proving rather costly on our business, especially when the lambs weren’t responding to treatment and we were still suffering losses.”
After extensive research on how to overcome this challenge, the Williams’, being conscious of their antibiotic usage, read an article about a product called ‘Panatec Protect Lamb’. Panatec Lamb is a non- antibiotic antimicrobial supplement which is based on a technology that harnesses the reaction of enzymes and anti-oxidants, thus leaving no residue so therefore no risk of resistance. Every Lamb gets a Panatec tablet at birth as a form of prevention. “The tablet is quite easy to administer” says Wil, “You just place it on the back of the tongue with your
finger and then the lamb will swallow” he adds. “Our scanning percentage runs around 190%, I think we have only used 1 bottle of antibiotic in the past two seasons which is quite remarkable.”
The lambing system at Gwythrian is relatively simple and straight forward. Ewes are housed 5-6 weeks prior to lambing. The shed is fully disinfected and limed then once ewes have lambed; they are then placed in individual pens. Lambs are given a Panatec tablet shortly after birth and navels are dipped to protect against joint ill. The individual pens are disinfected between each ewe. Lambs are monitored for 3 days before going outside. “This year ewes and lambs haven’t been going out for about 7 days as the eather has been horrendous, so this also adds further pressure from a disease point of view. If lambs are looking a
little dull during this time, we will then treat them further with Panatec Lamb. We give them one tablet morning and night for 1 day which helps significantly” Ieuan comments. “We find now that our work load has reduced significantly as we are not treating sick lambs and putting them under the heat lamp to recuperate.” says Alan. “Panatec Lamb gives us peace of mind; they are doing the job we needed them to do. We wouldn’t lamb without them now.”
Comments the Williams’ family.