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ParaBoss News - September 2020 - Feature Articles

The first lamb born is the signal to prepare the summer-rainfall weaning paddock
The first lamb born is the signal to prepare the summer-rainfall weaning paddock
Take the management risks without the flystrike crash
Take the management risks without the flystrike crash
Browsing separates goats from worms. Image: Ingrid Pullen Photography.
Browsing separates goats from worms. Image: Ingrid Pullen Photography.

Newsletter changes

Expect to see changes roll out in coming editions of ParaBoss News as we welcome Animal Health Australia (AHA), who will be preparing the future editions of ParaBoss News.

Fast Fact

Sea-lice on humans? Not lice at all

Genuine sea-lice exist, but they only affect fish. When humans get an itchy rash after a swim in the sea it is often from jellyfish. It could be whole jellyfish trapped in your bathers. Australian coastal waters are home to hundreds of jellyfish species less than 1 mm long. Or it could be larvae of jellyfish or broken up fragments of jellyfish tentacles.

Feature articles

Could YOU eradicate lice on the first attempt?

by Deb Maxwell, ParaBoss Executive Officer

On average, about 35% of farmers fail to eradicate lice on their first attempt. It is not uncommon to take multiple attempts over a few years, or even more, to eradicate lice from a flock.

While eradication is easy in theory because all lice are on the host, in practice, considerable attention to detail is required to ensure every single sheep is properly treated. Getting it 99% right just doesn’t cut it.

The LiceBoss Treatment Factors Tool lets you calculate your chance of eradicating lice. It’s simple and fast to use; just click on answers to 9 basic questions.

The key factors that affect the chance of eradication are: chemical group / operator / facilities / equipment / quality of shearing / missed sheep / single versus split shearing / quarantine period / quarantine ability (internal and boundary fencing) / treatment time in relation to lambing.

Last month’s article outlined when sheep could be boxed after treatment, but that doesn’t mean should. It assumes the treatment achieved eradication. If lice were NOT eradicated from that treatment, continuing quarantine for at least 6 months will, in most—but not all—cases, provide enough time for the lice to become detectable. If you can quarantine for 12 months, all the better, so you can make an informed decision before putting them with lice-free sheep.

Where fast integration of introduced sheep into mobs is required, such as with annual ram purchases, extra time and diligence should be applied to ensure any potential lice are killed. On the subject of rams, most ram breeders present lice-free sale-rams, but there are still plenty of stories about rams as the source of a lice introduction—do you routinely shear and treat rams on entry? >> Try the LiceBoss Treatment Factors Tool.

Paddock preparation for weaners

by Deb Maxwell, ParaBoss Executive Officer

Greg and Kathie Tighe, and their manager, Don Macarthur, know the great benefit of preparing a low worm-risk, weaning paddock on their summer rainfall property near Guyra. Lambs are born in spring and weaned onto a paddock in summer when there is a high risk from barber’s pole worm; read their story.

In summer-rainfall regions preparation involves preventing further worm contamination and allowing existing larvae on the pasture to die over 3 months (in hot regions, 2 months is sufficient). Since weaning is recommended to occur about 14 weeks from the start of lambing, day 1 of lambing is the simplest signal to start the weaner paddock preparation period.

In winter rainfall areas a prepared paddock isn’t needed at weaning, instead, a low worm-risk paddock is ideal for weaners as they go into their first winter. A first summer drench and Smart Grazing over summer and autumn will set up paddocks for southern winter weaners. >> Read more.

Flystrike Risk Simulator: take the risks without the crash

by Deb Maxwell, ParaBoss Executive Officer

Flight simulators let you learn to fly without crashing. The new FlyBoss Flystrike Risk Simulator lets you try out breeding, management and treatment options without having to experience a real-life flystrike crash.

The FlyBoss Flystrike Risk Simulator predicts the risk of flystrike in your sheep throughout an average year, based on long-term weather data, and lets you impose various management, treatment and breeding strategies.

The flystrike risk changes as you alter shearing and crutching times, breech modification, chemical pesticide treatments, and importantly, the susceptibility of your sheep via breeding.

The tool, one of a number for flies and lice created by our talented colleague, Brian Horton, University of Tasmania, builds on the existing FlyBoss tools, but brings these advanced features:

  • More relevant flystrike risk data selected from within 5 km of your location.
  • More customisation for your sheep: choose a class of sheep and then select the degree of fleece rot, breech wrinkle and cover, and dag that your sheep display.
  • Breeding simulation lets you slide the visual scores back and forth to see their effect on strike risk.

This tool is for long-term flystrike management planning and is a downloadable program (Windows and Mac versions) for use on desktop or laptop computers.

For those interested in seasonal predictions up to 6 months in advance, there is a subscription-based tool, Ag360, that predicts flystrike, worms and cold risk, rainfall, soil moisture, pasture growth and animal weight. >> Try the FlyBoss Flystrike Risk Simulator.

Heads up for goats!

by Deb Maxwell, ParaBoss Executive Officer

Whether you have a handful of pet goats or a commercial meat, milk or fibre goat operation, worm control in goats can always benefit from a higher browse to graze ratio.

The inherent immunity of goats to worms is rather dismal because, in evolutionary terms, they limited their exposure to worms by keeping their heads up away from worms—browsing shrubs far more than they grazed pasture. Once the majority of their food source is 15–20 cm or higher from the ground, worms become a non-event.

Do some homework to find safe and nutritious browse plants that will grow well on your property (see this pinterest page by Dr Sandra Baxendell or look on your state department of primary industries/ agriculture website). Avoid single species—variety is best, and you will likely need to manage access to the plants (e.g. fencing) to prevent overgrazing and killing of the plants.  >> It’s worth re-visiting Maxine Murphy’s 2016 article.

ParaBoss WEC QA Cancelled

As reported in our last newsletter, the 2020 round of the ParaBoss WEC QA Program has been cancelled this year due to foreseeable COVID-related freight delays that would jeopardise the perishable WEC samples. 

Producers using worm egg counting services are still urged to use WEC providers who have proven their accuracy in the 2019 round. Find them listed here.

Thimble jellyfish. Image: Hopcroft UAF-CoML
Thimble jellyfish. Image: Hopcroft UAF-CoML
Choose A WEC lab with the ParaBoss seal of approval
Choose A WEC lab with the ParaBoss seal of approval
Could you eradicate lice in one treatment? Image: Peter James
Could you eradicate lice in one treatment? Image: Peter James
For September 2020 state outlooks, please follow the links below:
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