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Worms

The increasing resistance of worm and fluke populations to a range of drenches is a threat to the health of the Australian sheep flock. AWI is addressing this threat through the better use of existing technologies, as well new products and methods to diagnose the severity of infestations and resistance.  

Internal parasites (worms and fluke) cost the Australian sheep industry an estimated $369m per year. This cost includes mortalities and production losses (reduced wool cut, stained wool, lowered staple strength), as well as the direct costs of control (mainly drenches and labour).

Resistance by worms to the "white" and "clear" drench groups is long established. Resistance to the macrocyclic lactones or MLs (the "mectins") is now also wide-spread.

The continuing problem of selection for resistance requires the integration of non-chemical parasite management with sparing use of chemicals, despite the promise of new drench groups on the market.

AWI is addressing the problems of internal parasites and scouring in two ways:

  • Better use of existing technologies.
  • New products and practices.

Better use of existing technologies

Worm, lice and fly control can be improved in many sheep flocks by applying the principles of integrated parasite management (IPM). IPM brings together a range of chemical and non-chemical methods to tackle the parasite problem. AWI tested IPM systems across a range of wool production environments in 23 IPM-s demonstration farms across Australia.

Through the Sheep CRC, AWI invested in targeted worm treatments, research into the genetics and genomics of sheep resistance to worms, and the Haemonchus Dipstick test.

All new information from these AWI-supported programs and others flows through to the WormBoss website, produced in collaboration with the Sheep CRC. WormBoss is an encyclopaedia of everything you need to know about managing your sheep worms and is updated monthly with regional advice. It includes regionalised worm control programs, Drench Decision Guides by region, contacts for advisors and a drench search.

New products and practices

A range of tools can play a part in the management of worms: oral drenches, capsules, grazing management (such as Smart Grazing), strategic nutrition, and breeding worm-resistant sheep. Details of these tools are explained by WormBoss.

AWI and Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) are jointly investing in recommendations for managing combinations of worms, bacteria and protozoa, using experimental genetic tests for these organisms.

AWI continues to invest in research that may lead to new products and practices for the management of worms and scouring.

PARABOSS: BEST PRACTICE ADVICE FOR MANAGING SHEEP PARASITES

ParaBoss is a suite of three products – LiceBoss, WormBoss and FlyBoss – developed to help sheep producers in the management of lice, worms and blowflies.

The LiceBoss, WormBoss and FlyBoss websites are sources of detailed management information and regional programs that will assist in managing the major parasite risks for sheep. The websites have been developed by expert panels of parasitologists and veterinarians from across Australia.

ParaBoss provides access to the three websites at www.paraboss.com.au.

Subscribe to ParaBoss News, the twice monthly free email newsletter with state outlooks on the current state of sheep parasites as well as feature articles and the quick quiz to test your knowledge of sheep parasites. You can subscribe on the ParaBoss website at http://www.paraboss.com.au/subscriptions.php.

Join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/paraboss.com.au to see weekly posts on flystrike, lice and worm control.

ParaBoss is funded by AWI and MLA and coordinated by the University of New England with industry oversight.