Profiles Details

Lia Simpson

Meet your AMTRA Registered Animal Medicines Advisor (RAMA)... Lia Simpson, Business Development Manager, Mole Country Stores

Working in partnership with AMTRA, the regulatory body for RAMAs (SQPs), we bring you regular features that introduce you to Mole Valley Farmer’s team of AMTRA Registered Animal Medicines Advisors working across our stores.

These qualified professionals are your first port of call for advice on animal health. In this issue, we meet Lia Simpson, our field-based business development manager in the south, as she gives us an overview of her typical day, along with advice on faecal egg counting as we enter the autumn period.

Having no previous experience in animal health, nor coming from a farming background, Lia’s interest and enthusiasm for caring and learning about animals is what has driven her to the path of becoming an AMTRA RAMA.

Lia started her role at Mole Valley Farmers as a business development manager for the South in August 2022, representing all areas of the business and local stores in the south.

Qualifying as a RAMA in May 2023, means Lia can now advise on animal health products throughout the year, ensuring medicines prescribed will work effectively and informing customers of the correct and safe way to use them.

“My typical day would be mostly visiting farms and equine facilities, talking to customers about the latest offers we have, quoting on products such as fuel, timber, animal medicines, crop packaging, metalwork or fertiliser,” says Lia.

Whether they are a sheep, beef, dairy farmer or equine owner, Lia feels strongly about the importance of faecal egg counting (FEC), stressing that to ensure wormers continue to work, it is essential that farmers have a clear understanding of their flock/herd status.

“When animal medicines are the topic of conversation, I always ask if FEC has been completed prior to worming. Unfortunately, a large percentage of responses are ‘no’,” Lia adds.

“FEC is so important, in most cases a worm burden will not be clear to the naked eye. By the time it is clearly noticed it is either too late to reverse the internal damage, or costly to the farmer/owner to put right. Farmers should regularly use FECs to monitor the worm burden on their pastures. If an animal is struggling to maintain weight, this could easily be a sign of worms and should be investigated further,” explains Lia.

“Alongside FECs, good maintenance of pastures will help support and reduce the risk of worms. Rotating fields and cross-grazing fields will help keep worm counts down, and for equine owners regularly poo-picking where possible. It is also important to quarantine any new animals entering the farm before introducing them to the herd/flock, this will allow quarantine treatments to be administered and reduce the risk of resistant worms or other parasite being brought on to the farm.” advises Lia.

Within the equine community, FECs are becoming increasingly popular as owners look to take a most sustainable approach to worming their horses.

“I have a particular interest in the equine sector, and it is promising to see more conversations on social media regarding FEC in equines and the impact worms can have on horses and other animals,” Lia says.

Being new to the animal health industry, Lia has found the task of advising and changing farmers’ viewpoints or routines for the better quite challenging.

“I have found the best method to get farmers to listen to advice is to demonstrate clear evidence of the consequences caused by not completing regular checks on their animals,” says Lia.

“If I feel a farmer is not using products correctly, using the wrong product, or even if they are not weighing their animals before dosing, I find the best approach is to ask if they would be interested in a tailored plan for their herd or flock,” Lia shares.

Like all AMTRA RAMAs, Lia is qualified to create tailored plans for farmers on products and tests they should be using or scheduling in the coming months. With this plan, Lia can explain to farmers why it is important to weigh their animals, calibrate their application guns, FEC and other factors to keep anthelmintic resistance to a minimum, and animals healthier.

With autumn in full swing, small and large redworm are the most common parasites to affect horses. Lia advises equine owners to continue faecal egg counting throughout the autumn and treat as required.

“If you need to worm your horses, it is best practice to stable them for 24-48 hours after worming and keep up the poo picking!” says Lia.

Cattle in the UK are affected by a wide range of ectoparasites. If herds are coming in to be housed, there is a heightened risk of lice and mites transmitting diseases and causing production losses due to close contact.

“Pour-ons may be an effective way of tackling ectoparasites, and it is best to speak to your RAMA for advice on this” shares Lia.

With regards to sheep, it is important to make sure your flock are in good condition prior to going to tup. Ewes should be at a body condition score between 2.5-3.5, those who are looking leaner may benefit from a worming dose – however in most cases adult sheep do not carry large worm burdens so it is important to check first by doing a FEC, rather than wasting unnecessary time and money on wormers that aren’t needed.

“My final tip for grazing animals is to try to graze away from wet areas and consider use a flukicide if the risk of liver fluke is high. Your local RAMA will be able to offer you advice on the best approach for your farm” Lia concludes.

Lia can be reached on 07816 248520 or at [email protected] 

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