Skip to content
SmartWorm featured in Northern Ireland EIP Project

SmartWorm featured in Northern Ireland EIP Project

In a recent European Innovation Partnership (EIP) Project in Northern Ireland, the SmartWorm app has demonstrated a capabilty in advancing targeted selective treatment (TST) strategies for managing parasitic infections in livestock. This pioneering technology has shown promising results in identifying which sheep require anthelmintic treatment and which don't, thereby reducing unnecessary medication use and promoting sustainable farming practices. You can access the full paper at this link -

This project aimed to determine the feasibility and practicality of implementing targeted selective treatment of parasitic helminths on Northern Ireland commercial farms. In doing so, bridging the gap between research and implementation, and through the sharing of advice and experiences, encourage wider uptake across the sector.

Seven farmers from across the dairy, beef and sheep sectors in Northern Ireland were enrolled on the project with support provided by partners from Queen’s University Belfast, the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) and Animal Health and Welfare Northern Ireland (AHWNI). Group members co-designed, utilised and evaluated multiple, tailored TST strategies to better understand the feasibility of implementation on commercial farms. These strategies were integrated throughout the 2021 and 2022 grazing season, alongside monitoring of parasitic helminth prevalence using faecal egg counting (FEC). TST strategies consisted of assessing multiple parameters including parasite presence (FEC), liveweight and daily liveweight gain, visual observations of animal health (e.g., scouring and body condition scoring). Group members made alterations to these strategies as the season progressed or as parasite burden altered to maintain a high standard of animal welfare.

To investigate new technology options aiding animal health decisions, one participant farm received a subscription to the SmartWorm application from Cotter Agritech in late summer 2022. The SmartWorm app was deployed to select individual sheep for treatment. The app enabled the farmer to leave 29% of lambs untreated, showcasing its potential to significantly decrease the reliance on anthelmintic drugs while maintaining the health and productivity of the flock. Although some untreated lambs later required treatment, the app's effectiveness in enhancing parasite management workflows was evident.

The feedback noted in the paper was:

"Feedback from the participant farm that trialled the SmartWorm app has been positive. As often with technology there were teething issues when trying to get the app setup and connected to existing equipment on farm but once achieved the software was straightforward to use. The app clearly indicates using a red/green colour-based system which animals are below target weight. A record is then kept within the app of which animals have been dosed.

Whilst the use of a SmartWorm app is one tool that can help decide which animals to dose the farmer believed it still needs to be used in conjunction with faecal egg counts to identify the best time to dose. Important to note is that investment is required to be able to avail of its benefits such as having suitable weigh scales and an EID reader on site as well as purchasing the annual subscription to the product. He is in no doubt however that the further development of real-time decision support tools such as this will provide confidence to end-users regarding selection of individual animals for anthelmintic treatment. In the longer term the likes of SmartWorm can also have a role to play in helping to identify the sheep in a closed flock which have higher shedding rates for worm eggs and in the medium to longer term it should be possible to breed a flock with greater ability to thrive despite the presence of worm infestations.

A number of the farmers from the trial now plan to integrate the SmartWorm App into their future TST strategies."

Cart 0

Your cart is currently empty.

Start Shopping