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Beyond the Bale : June 2016
40 ON FARM If lice have been introduced to your previously lice-free flock, should you immediately treat, or simply wait until next shearing? The Long Wool Tool at LiceBoss.com.au provides a simple way to help you answer this question. The important factors that first must influence your decision are: • The number of mobs (and the proportion of the flock) that have become infested with lice. • The impact of lice on the flock and your reputation (aside from wool value). • A long-wool treatment will NOT eradicate lice; this can only be done with an off-shears/short wool treatment. • The cost in wool damage compared to the cost of applying a long wool treatment. Occasionally, shearing straight away and treating off-shears will be the best option. For instance, to maintain the reputation of a stud flock or where only one mob out of many on a property has become infested. However, it is generally an expensive option, due to wool value loss from premature shearings. Applying a long wool treatment will stop most further wool damage from occurring, but it does not eradicate lice. Therefore, an off-shears/short wool treatment will still be needed next shearing, and without effective isolation, lice can still spread to other mobs or neighbouring properties with straying sheep. LICEBOSS LONG WOOL TOOL The LiceBoss Long Wool Tool is a very simple way to assess whether a long wool treatment is warranted. It calculates the cost of wool value loss if no treatment is applied, as well as the approximate cost of a long wool treatment, including chemical, labour and current wool value loss. The following example, using the LiceBoss Long Wool Tool, estimates the costs where lice have been found in a mob of 1000 ewes with 1% of the sheep rubbing and an average lice-free fleece value of $60. Figure 1 opposite shows the inputs into the Long Wool Tool. These are simply month and week of last and next shearing, the month and week when you see sheep rubbing, number of sheep in the mob, the likely value of fleeces at next shearing and the number or percentage of the mob seen rubbing. The resulting report, Figure 2, allows you to compare the cost of lost wool value to the cost of treating the sheep in long wool. A key input to the tool is the time when rubbing is seen in relation to the previous and next shearing. This reflects when the sheep have become infested; rubbing is not generally noticed until at least a few months after lice have been introduced. Varying the time when 1% of the sheep were seen to be rubbing shows how the decision to apply a long wool treatment changes in regard to the time from and to shearing. In Table 1, the month when 1% of the mob is seen to be rubbing (in relation to next shearing) is varied. The costs for each scenario reported by the Long Wool Tool are shown in the right hand columns. Table 1 shows that when a small number of sheep are first seen rubbing when there are still many months until next shearing, then the eventual damage to the wool value will be much greater than when rubbing starts close to the next shearing. This is because the lice have a greater time to build up on individual animals and spread to more animals within the mob, so causing more damage. In this scenario (where the average fleece value was predicted to be $60), it is cost- effective to apply a long wool treatment if 1% of this mob were seen to be rubbing LONG WOOL LICE TREATMENTS WHEN ARE THEY COST-EFFECTIVE? If you have found lice on your sheep, the LiceBoss Long Wool Tool is a simple online tool that can help you decide whether it is cost-effective to immediately apply a long wool treatment or wait until next shearing. The tool is available free on the LiceBoss website. Extinosad® being applied to long wool. PHOTO: Elanco Animal Health.
In the Shops - September 2016