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Beyond the Bale : June 2015
ON FARM 35 over the fence. The most rigorous option of ‘shear and treat’ might be best for small numbers of introductions, such as rams. However, managing the lice risk when purchasing a bigger mob or bringing sheep back from agistment can be more complex. Consult the LiceBoss Treatment Guide for recommendations. REVIEW TREATMENT OPTIONS EARLY Application method: Is your equipment up to the job? Many existing plunge and shower dips are not able to completely wet all sheep, so eradication is impossible. On LiceBoss, you can review the requirements of the different application methods to decide whether upgrading or replacing equipment is warranted, or whether you hire a contractor. Chemical group: Are you using an effective chemical? Resistance in lice is known to be widespread to synthetic pyrethroid (SP) compounds and resistance to insect growth regulators (IGRs) has been identified in most Australian states. Consider using one of the more recently introduced chemical groups (see LiceBoss Treatment) if you think resistance could be an issue. Operator: Are treatments applied correctly to every sheep? When most field breakdowns of lice treatments are closely investigated, they are found to be due to poor product application, some sheep missing treatment or a new infestation. Take the time to learn and practice good application. Product: Finally, choose a product that suits the method of application and the chemical group chosen. The LiceBoss Products Tool shows commercial products by application and group and provides other information about the product. If neighbours’ sheep also have lice, where possible, plan to shear and treat about the same time as each other to limit the opportunity for re-infection from one flock to the other, and give each other some help to get the job done properly. AT SHEARING Your aim is to have every sheep present, shorn cleanly and treated effectively. Double muster, so that no sheep are missed and let shearers know that you are trying to eradicate lice, and that clean shearing is important. Choose the person/s likely to be the most thorough for the job of treating each sheep, and ensure they know the importance of treating every sheep effectively. Applying backliners requires skill and practice: lay a 44-gallon drum down and practice backlining it with water before the sheep arrive (alternatively, don’t be afraid to waste some chemical practicing before starting on the first sheep). Follow the directions on the label. These vary across products, especially the need to recharge dips or the types of application guns and patterns for backliners. Labels also outline protective gear and practices you should use to keep yourself and others safe. AFTER SHEARING AND TREATMENT Even poorly applied or resistant chemicals will suppress lice. If eradication has not been achieved, lice may take some months to breed up to detectable numbers. Wait for three months then conduct monthly checks for lice until next shearing, or until lice are found. Continue to work with neighbours to keep lice out, and follow your ‘introduced sheep’ policy to deal with strays and purchases. See the LiceBoss page on biosecurity for more tips. Remember that failure of eradication won’t be from the 4,999 sheep that were treated correctly, but from the one that missed treatment or was incorrectly treated. Attention to detail is the secret to success when eradicating lice. The LiceBoss website provides information and tools that can help woolgrowers control lice more effectively, minimise pesticide residues and reduce the cost of lice control. It provides guidance on identifying, treating and preventing lice infestations.