AMTRA-qualified RAMAs support farmers by offering advice and prescribing preventative medications and treatments, including for sustainable worm control.
In the first episode of the new season of the Wynnstay Agri-Hub Podcast, I was joined by Sarah Brooks, who facilitates AMTRA training and supports our team of 200 qualified RAMAs, and Chris from Cardigan store, who has been shortlisted for store manager of the year at the 2021 National SQP awards. Together, we delved into how farmers can get the right advice on medicines, the support we can offer and highlighted some seasonal challenges.
Listen: Wynnstay Agri-Hub Podcast
What does it mean to be AMTRA-qualified?
The Animal Medicines Training Regulatory Authority (AMTRA) is a not-for-profit organisation which manages the registration of Registered Animal Medicine Advisors (RAMAs).
AMTRA qualified RAMAs have passed written and oral assessments which enable them to advise farmers on medicine choice for their effective use. Their role contributes to farmers managing their livestock’s health, welfare and profitability.
AMTRA RAMAs are also required to engage with ongoing learning, by completing continuing professional development (CPD) activities each year which enables them to stay up to date with new developments.
What advice can RAMAs share with farmers?
Increasingly, sheep, beef and dairy customers are approaching in-store RAMAs for advice on preventative treatments, such as parasite control. The issues faced vary from season-to-season. In autumn and early winter we will typically be offering advice on liver fluke and scab.
Around housing is a crucial time for liver fluke control. At this time we’re recommending farmers consider testing for liver fluke, which will be a blood test carried out through their vet.
Read more: Fluke Management
Dipping sheep in autumn is the best control for scab. RAMAs can advise on the most effective treatment approach.
Faecal egg counting
Eight Wynnstay stores can now offer faecal egg count (FEC) testing on-site. Farmers can come to in-store RAMAs to access the FEC service, which helps them identify if they have worms present. When used as part of a faecal egg count reduction test, this also helps farmers understand if they have resistance to any wormer groups on their farm. RAMAs can also use this to prescribe the correct type and dose of wormers.
Sustainable parasite control
In addition to using FEC, the Sustainable Control Of Parasites in Sheep (SCOPS) group has a number of tools available to help farmers responsibly manage the use of anthelmintics to prevent resistance building up on-farms. Weighing animals correctly to ensure accurate dosing, calibrating guns to avoid underdosing, rotating wormer groups and providing quarantine doses to any incoming animals are all vital areas us RAMAs should be discussing with our farmers.
SCOPs have recently updated their quarantine dosing guidance. It is now recommended that farmers use closantel based flukicide rather than triclabendazole. Check the SCOPS website or speak to a RAMA in store to learn more about this.
SCOPS also has a new code of practice surrounding sheep dipping to ensure that scab is treated effectively. This should be done by plunge dip only, rather than showers or jetters. Many farmers are reliant on mobile dippers, which are also subject to the regulations, including bulk storage of dips no longer being permissible, so mobile dippers need to obtain a prescription for each farm they visit.
Listen to the first episode of the Wynnstay Agri-Hub Podcast, season two, to find out more about how AMTRA qualified RAMAs can support your farm business. Alternatively, come and speak to one of our team in-store.
Wynnstay stores that offer a FECPAK service are Thame, Ruthin, Cardigan, Welshpool, Llanrwst and Sarn. Find your nearest store here.
Listen to the Podcast
In the first episode of our second season, we’re asking the questions you may not have asked before about what it means to be AMTRA qualified, with Agri Product Campaign Manager, Sarah Brooks. We’ll also be delving into seasonal animal health issues including cattle housing, sheep scab and parasite control with Regional Trade Manager, Chris Thomas; who has been nominated as Store Manager of the Year in the 2021 National SQP Awards.