Cargill launches D-Mite to support laying hens against red mite

Cargill Animal Nutrition and Health has developed D-Mite, a natural and complementary feed product, to help protect laying hens from red mite infestations. 

 “Red mite infestations have escalated in the past decade, possibly resulting from more free range or aviary egg production systems,” says Cargill’s UK poultry specialist, Daniel Palcu. “And the cost of controlling the parasite is estimated to have increased by 40% in this period.”

Unless red mite infestations are controlled, numbers escalate rapidly, and egg producers can see a significant fall in productivity.

Red mites feed on the bird at night, sucking blood and causing issues like irritation, anaemia and feather loss. “In severe cases mortality will occur and conditions become unpleasant for unit employees,” he adds.

Cargill has trialled D-Mite on half a million layers in 14 poultry units in France with varying red mite infestation levels. These trials took place from May to August 2019; across the summer months when units are generally most at risk from red mite infestations. D-Mite was included in the layer feed.

 “Red mite populations were monitored regularly on these units and infestations were compared with levels recorded before D-Mite was used. After treatment, we recorded a reduction in red mite infestations across all units with the most significant improvements seen in moderately and highly infested units. We also noticed an improvement in egg quality and an improvement in the working environment.”

Cargill has also monitored water and feed intake when D-Mite is included and found that neither are affected. It has also monitored food safety and found that, even at higher dosages of D-Mite, results show no effect on the taste and smell of both raw and cooked eggs.

D-Mite is easy to use; either in liquid form for using through drinking water systems or as a powder for including in feed. The powder form is approved for use in organic egg production systems.

 “D-Mite is a natural feed product that provides egg producers with a safe and effective mean of controlling red mite infestations,” says Mr Palcu. “It promotes the health and productivity of laying flocks, especially in the summer months when they are more likely to come under the pressure of red mite infestations.”

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About The Author

John Swire - Deputy editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.