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Beyond the Bale : December 2014
ON FARM 31 Details of lice control practices used by Australian sheep producers were collected via a national survey conducted in 2012 by Professor Steve Walkden-Brown and Dr Ian Reeve from the University of New England, which was supported by AWI and Meat and Livestock Australia. Lice infestations remain a concern for Australian sheep producers with detection of lice being reported by 23% of producers in 2011 with a further 27% reporting rubbing (see Figure 1). Rubbing can be caused by a number of factors other than lice, including grass seeds, itch mite and wool breaks. The LiceBoss ‘Rubbing Tool’ (available at www.liceboss.com.au) helps producers to determine the probability that rubbing was due to a lice infestation. It’s likely the increased detection of lice infestations (up from 10% in 2006) is due to treatment failure associated with the development of lice populations resistant to synthetic pyrethroids and/or insect growth regulators. Twenty six percent of producers reported they suspected resistance to lice treatments on their property with the majority of suspicions of the effectiveness of products from the insect growth regulator group (eg triflumuron and diflubenzuron). While some sheep lice populations have developed resistance to synthetic pyrethroids and/or insect growth regulators, treatment failures are also due to incorrect application or under-dosing. Lice prevention involves an integrated approach to management, including preventing new infestations from strays and purchased sheep, where possible avoiding split shearings, and careful choice of products and treatment methods when treating lice in ewes within six weeks of lambing. Advice about these preventative measures is contained in LiceBoss as are a number of decision-support tools to improve the chance of lice eradication and compliance with wool and meat residues. Backline treatments used off-shears, can be a relatively quick and easy method of treating sheep to eradicate lice, but they require care during application to obtain good results. Most products must be applied within 24 hours after shearing and some up until seven days after shearing. As with all lice control treatments, it is essential that every sheep is treated according to the label directions for dose rate and application pattern. The LiceBoss website can help advise on the three main elements of lice control: (1) preventing new infestations, (2) structured monitoring to detect infestations, and (3) strategic use of chemical treatments. The LiceBoss tools provide decision support for long wool treatments, short wool treatments, ewe and lamb treatments, rubbing, products, and wool residues. NATIONAL SURVEY HIGHLIGHTS LICE CONTROL Figure 1 Percentage of producers reporting lice detection for the years 2006–2011. Figure 2 Percentage of producers using various lice control techniques in the period 2009–2011. • Lice infestations remain a concern for Australian sheep producers with detection of lice being reported by 23% of producers, with a further 27% reporting rubbing. • LiceBoss is a decision support system that can help woolgrowers control lice more effectively, minimise pesticide residues and reduce the cost of lice control. 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 %OFPRODUCERS 0 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Sheep rubbing No evidence of lice Lice detected 20 10 0 %OFPRODUCCERS No treatment Short wool Long wool 50 40 30 60 70 Backliner Plunge Shower Jet MORE INFORMATION www.liceboss.com.au PRACTICES