WRML.20140923, WormFax. Immunocompetence. Other.

To WormMail mailing list (recip. undisclosed).

In this issue:


*Immunocompetence*Staggering levels of drench resistance
*’Australian CliMate®’ and other apps
*SheepConnectNSW has issued its first e-news
*Seafood for sheep (Hopkins)
*Lamb survival (Refshauge)
*CSIRO sells Arding research station at Armidale for $2.95 million *Superman battles Parasite


The latest issue (August) is now online:



Dr Brad Hine (CSIRO) presented an interesting talk on immunocomptence at the recent Phenomics Conference.

He kindly agreed to including it here. See attached.

Note from Brad Hine: The main caveat I would like to add is that we are not suggesting that we should stop selecting animals for resistance to specific diseases which are of particular economic importance to industry but rather just to say that there is a potential risk that selecting for resistance to one disease could inadvertently increase susceptibility to another. By selecting for specific diseases in conjunction with selecting for general immune responsiveness we aim to reduce that risk. Thanks Steve

As to resistance and resilience with respect to worms in sheep, see here:


‘Staggering’ levels of drench resistance

In case you missed it, see here:


Now we have Startect® as another option in the mix.

And remember: resistance to a particular active may be very common, but it could still be an option on your place. But, you have to test – http://www.wormboss.com.au/tests-tools.php – otherwise you are flying in the dark and potentially missing out on good options – or colliding with some bad ones.

Australian CliMate app – for iOS and web

See here: http://www.australianclimate.net.au/ (Thanks, LK).

More Apps


And see more on apps in SheepConnectNSW section, below.


SheepConnectNSW has issued its first e-news.

Subscribe here: http://www.sheepconnectnsw.com.au/subscribe . You can get the news by email, or via Twitter. Or, visit SheepConnectNSW on the web: http://www.sheepconnectnsw.com.au/ .

Some items from the current news:

Sheep and wool apps: https://gallery.mailchimp.com/d8262befda5125340f6c51851/files/SCT_2014_2_Aug_p4_5.pdf

Seafood for sheep: http://sheepconnectnsw.com.au/files/blogs/000184/Supplementing%20Lambs%20with%20Algae.pdf (Dr David Hopkins)

Lamb survival: http://sheepconnectnsw.com.au/files/blogs/000187/Sheep%20Connect_lamb%20survival_Sep%202014%20_1_%20_5_x.pdf (Dr Gordon Refshauge)

CSIRO sells Arding research station at Armidale for $2.95 million

The following contains some interesting history regarding CSIRO.

From: http://www.propertyobserver.com.au/finding/location/rural/33096-csiro-sells-arding-research-station-at-armidale-for-2-95-million.html

“Arding, which has been occupied by the CSIRO since 1947 in New England grazing country has been sold for $2.95 million.

CSIRO’s long-held Arding research station is a 325 hectare (803-acre) Armidale property. The property sold under the hammer to Annette and John Cassidy of Merilba, Kingstown.

 It was one of two portions of the pioneering White family’s Saumarez Station acquired by the federal government in 1947 for use by the fledgling Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (later CSIRO).

Arding and the other property, Chiswick, were initially used by the plant industry division for soil and pasture research, but The Land’s veteran rural reporter Peter Austin noted since 1960 the focus of both sites has swung to animal, especially sheep, research dealing with breeding technology, internal parasites, nutrition, husbandry practices and information systems.

The 24 paddock Arding was listed to free-up funds for re-investment as part of CSIRO’s contribution to the University of New England’s Integrated Agricultural Education Project, involving five separate capital works projects across the university’s Armidale and Tamworth campuses.

It was listed through Geoff Leedman of Landmark Armidale with price expectations in the $6,000 a hectare ($2,400 per acre) or higher for the property situated 13 kilometres south of Armidale fronting the New England Highway.

Saumarez Station (pictured below), which is located about five kilometres south of Armidale, was one of the earliest grazing runs established on the New England tablelands during the 1830s.

Henry Dumaresq, a former army officer and brother-in-law of Governor Ralph Darling” (did they have nepotism in those days? J ) “claimed a squatting station on the New England tablelands, naming it Samaurez in memory of his family connections with the Seigneur de Sausmarez in the Channel Isles.

In 1857 the licensed pastoral run was sold to Henry Arding Thomas who sold Saumarez in 1874 for £40,000 and moved to Camden west of Sydney.

 The property’s new 1874 owner was Francis White.

When Elsie While(sic) (White?) died in 1981 at the age of ninety-seven, the homestead was gifted to the National Trust as an eduring example of a late-nineteenth century Australian pastoral station.

The remaining 3,000 acres surrounding Saumarez homestead is still run by the descendants of FJ White.

Does Windows 8 suck?


Selfie sticks – the latest thing






Hine B.LivestockPhenomicsConferenceSept2014 Immunocompetence.pdf


​WormMail.20140915 Fasciola diagnostics etc


Previous WRML: Dr Kahn meets Startect [http://wp.me/pRGJe-lK]

In this issue:

· Fasciola diagnostics

· Evaluation of a copro-antigen ELISA to detect Fasciola hepatica infection (Palmer et al)

· Fasciola diagnostics and flotation solutions in general


· NAPfix® – Jurox

· Dr Jan van Wyk – some notes and recollections

· NSW DPI – three PrimeFacts on grass tetany

· What’s in a name: Eucalyptus sideroxylon

Fasciola diagnostics

In the August 29 issue of WormMail [http://wp.me/pRGJe-lD], we discussed various methods (incl. various flotation solutions) of counting nematode and trematode eggs and also the proportion of fluke eggs recovered from faeces using flotation or sedimentation methods. In short, roughly 30-40% were recovered with sedimentation techniques and somewhat fewer with flotation using potassium mercuriiodide (which has safety issues as well). (Yes, I know one reader will be checking my spelling of flo(a)tation).

Two Western Australian (WA) parasitologists offered feedback which appears below.

​“The poor recovery of liver fluke eggs in the sedimentation test has of course been known as a major limitation for many years – especially for WA, where we need to confirm introduced animals are negative on entry to preserve our (very rare) Fasciola-free status. We have recently moved to a ELISA test as the primary test, after validation and modification of interpretation criteria to ensure maximum sensitivity (good work by Dieter Palmer, Jill Lyon et al- see recent AVJ paper). No good for horses, but at least we now have a very sensitive test for sheep and cattle, at a time that resistance to triclabendazole is increasingly a concern.”

Regarding the ELISA: “It has been used for a little while, but the modifications specific to host species increase its accuracy.”

Brown Besier | Principal Veterinary Parasitologist

Department of Agriculture and Food, Albany, Western Australia

Palmer DG, Lyon J, Palmer MA, Forshaw D (2014). Evaluation of a copro-antigen ELISA to detect Fasciola hepatica infection in sheep, cattle and horses. Australian Veterinary Journal, Volume 92, Issue 9, pages 357–361, September 2014.

Excerpt: “Using the cut-off recommended by the kit manufacturer, the specificity was 100% for all species and the sensitivity was 88%, 80% and 9% for sheep, cattle and horses, respectively. Using the lower custom cut-offs for each species improved the sensitivity to 100% for sheep, 87% for cattle and 28% for horses, while maintaining the specificity above 99% for all species.

The sensitivity of the commercial copro-antigen ELISA can be improved by using custom cut-off values for each species. With this modification, it is a suitable alternative screening test to the currently used sedimentation test for border control of sheep and cattle movement. The test is not suitable for use in horses.” (Read the full paper).

Fasciola diagnostics and flotation solutions in general

“Hi Steve,

“The use of flotation solution in parasitology is an interesting one. In the early days of veterinary diagnostic parasitology every possible solution was tried. Old manuals and publications often make interesting reading in this respect. I recently came across a method (can’t remember in which publication) where sodium silicate solution (D 1.39 g/ml) was used and recommended for fluke eggs . I remember my dad showing me as a boy how to fix leaking head gaskets on motor bikes with water glass (sodium silicate solution).

“Anyway, what I am trying to say is that most of our ideas are not so new and the existing methods are there for a reason. Nevertheless, we (or some of us) cannot help ourselves and have to tinker with it again — which I did, but not really in a scientific manner. I found the same as Boray and others, that unless somebody can come up with an osmotically inactive high density solution (water glass is not one of them!!!!!) the fluke eggs will shrivel up and then very hard to detect. Dropping them back into water will make most of them pop and the shells are also hard to see. I also found that a lot of eggs never make it to the top of the flotation solutions, which explains the poor recovery rate. I don’t understand why this is happening but it must have something to do with the viscosity of the flotation solution. Viscosity could also explain why there are so many different recommended flotation solutions (of almost identical densities) for different parasites. Cringoli (2010) compared different solutions for different parasite eggs but states that it also depends on the method used. For the FLOTAC method they found saturated magnesium sulphate not suitable but sat. zinc sulphate suitable for fluke eggs. The other high density solutions (mercury) tried by Cringoli have unacceptable OHS (health and safety) risks. The Cringoli paper does not state the sensitivity of the method or solutions.

“I have taken the water glass solution home (just in case the head gasket of the lawn mower blows….. !!) and we continue to use the sedimentation method in our laboratories for species other than cattle and sheep. Rapsch (2006) showed that the sensitivity of sedimentation method can be improved by processing larger faecal samples (3x 10g).”

Dieter Palmer | Senior Veterinary Parasitologist
Animal Health Laboratories
Department of Agriculture and Food, South Perth,Western Australia

Cringoli et al, 2010. FLOTAC: new multivalent techniques for qualitative and quantitative copromicroscopic diagnosis of parasites in animals and humans. Nature Protocols 5, 503 – 515.

Rapsch C et al, 2006. Estimating the true prevalence of Fasciola hepatica in cattle slaughtered in Switzerland in the absence of an absolute diagnostic test. International Journal for Parasitology, Volume 36, Issues 10–11, September 2006, Pages 1153–1158.


Most of you know about FAMACHA. Here is some information from Wikipedia:

“The FAMACHA method of selective treatment was developed by three South African researchers (Drs Francois Malan, Gareth Bath and Jan van Wyk) against the backdrop of major anthelmintic resistance in South Africa. However, the method has since been implemented successfully in various locations around the world.”


I am pleased to say that both Drs Faffa Malan and Jan van Wyk are on the WormMail mailing list. Only the best people are. J

NAPfix® – Jurox

​Recent advice from Jurox: “Our QA team have been working on NAPfix and at this stage I don’t have an answer on the time frame when we will have NAPfix back on the market”.​

In July this year there was a voluntary, non-urgent recall of same batches of Napfix (naphthalophos+abamectin+BZ) by Jurox who found there were enough drums (though apparently a small number) from a small but sufficient number of batches that were not re-suspending sufficiently well after shaking. There was inconsistency in how the product re-suspended after varying times and storage conditions in the field.

Dr Jan van Wyk – some notes and recollections

On 25 August 2014 22:15, Jan VanWyk wrote:

“I’d like to know whether ….. anyone can add more information about when the first non-herbal anthelmintics were produced. A search of the literature seems to point to the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute in South Africa as the first producer of a non-herbal anthelmintic, when Green (1918) and Veglia (1918) developed the so-called "Government Wireworm Remedy" consisting of arsenic and CuSO4 (Veglia, 1918, Chemotherapy of haemonchosis in sheep. The 5th & 6th Reports of the Director of Veterinary Research, Union of South Africa, 377-482).

As an aside: in 1915 Veglia also published an extremely comprehensive 100+ page article on the life cycle of Haemonchus contortus, for which I still receive requests for reprints every now and again (amongst others also by Paul Presidente not long before he died).

However by 1912 the above articles were preceded by two pamphlets by Sir Arnold Theiler (after whom the Theileria spp. parasites and thus theileriosis were named), describing the use of arsenic and CuSO4 for haemonchosis (Theiler, A., 1912a. Experiments to determine the safe dose of white arsenic, Cooper’s Dip and bluestone for sheep. South African Agricultural Journal, March 1912, Bulletin No. 17: 31pp; Theiler, A., 1912b. Voorlopig rapport omtrent het ingeven van Cooper’s Dip en blaausteen aan schapen op een zuurveldplaats. Landbouw Journaal van de Unie van Zuid-Afrika, Augustus 1212, Bulletin No. 48: 14pp).

In 1935 Mönnig published results on the use a mixture of copper arsenate and copper tartrate for oesophagostomosis, marketed as the "Onderstepoort Knoppieswurmmiddel" / "Onderstepoort Nodular Worm Remedy", which was in use in the country until the 1960s.

Very interesting is that Theiler (1912) seems to be the first to have recommended the use of the "treat-&-move" approach to worm control when he predicted that to treat sheep with "Government Wireworm Remedy" immediately before a move to pasture that had been without small ruminants for a year would eradicate H. contortus.

Something else which may not be generally known is that the widely used textbook, "Helminths, Arthropods and Protozoa of Domesticated Animals" by Soulsby, first appeared as "Veterinary Helminthology and Entomology" (first edition 1934), by H.O. Mönnig, whom you quote in your letter, and who was one of the first helminthologists at Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute in South Africa (a close look at most drawings in the Soulsby book will reveal "HOM" on a large number of them).”

(Emphases above are mine, except for ‘eradicate’).

My copy (6th Ed., 1968) of Soulsby appends ‘Mönnig’ to the title. Editions 1 (1934) to 5 including reprints (1965) are attributed to H.O. Mönnig (1897-1978), with editions 4 (1956) and 5 including reprints (1965) revised by Geoffrey Lapage, and the 6th edition (1968) revised by E.J.L Soulsby (Baron Soulsby of Swaffham Prior (Lord Soulsby to his friends)). Mönnig in his preface to the 1st Edition) says the reason he produced the text was because there had been no adequate text since Neumann’s ‘Parasites and Parasitic Diseases of Domesticated Animals’ of 1892.

NSW DPI – three Primefacts on grass tetany

Here is one:


What’s in a name: Eucalyptus sideroxylon

Eucalyptus sideroxylon (“Ironbark”). From Greek, eu = well and calyptos = covered, referring to the cap which covers the developing flowers. Sideroxylon = having wood like iron. http://anpsa.org.au/e-sider.html


SL, 2014-09-15

NSW DPI Armidale NSW 2351


“I work with parasites, and help people with worms”

(Given the ability (in addition to my own) of Google Apps to stuff things up, I might also attach a PDF version)

Stephen Love

Veterinarian / Parasitologist

NSW DPI, JSF Barker Building, UNE Armidale NSW AU 2351 (Map)

T: 02 6770 1844 M: 0427 400 576

E: stephen.love

W:DPI, WormBoss, WormMail

NOTE: new address/telephone from 2 June 2014

WormMail 20140915 fasciola diagnostics etc.pdf

WRML. Dr Kahn meets Startect

To WormMail mailing list (recip. undisclosed; ~ 400 subscribers). WRML.20140912. ‘Dr Kahn meets Startect’ -but talks more about sheep worm control, and drench resistance in general. New sheep drench, Startect, is about to be released in Australia. It will possibly be on sale from 22 September (at about 78c/50kg sheep dose ex GST) if the final APVMA approval comes through as anticipated. More information on Startect:

Zoetis – formerly Pfizer Animal Health – has been running some pre-launch meetings. At the Armidale meeting this week (Wed, 10 Sept), Dr Lewis Kahn spoke as the invited independent expert. While mentioning Startect specifically, the talk from Lewis addresses sheep worm control and drench resistance management more generally. Attached with permission is Lewis’s talk (a PowerPoint formatted as a PDF) with added notes to explain various points in the presentation. Whether ‘old’ (BZ, LEV, ML, O/P) or ‘new’ (Zolvix (monepantel), Startect (derquantel+abamectin)), it is important to periodically check drench efficacy. [http://www.wormboss.com.au/tests-tools/tests/checking-for-drench-resistance.php ] Don’t assume. Test, don’t guess. Regards, SL

Kahn L.20140910.Pfizer Startect launch. Armidale. no pics.edits SL-LK-140911.pdf

WRML.20140905. A WormKill History and Tribute to Dr Betty Hall – Dr KM Dash

To WormMail mailing list.

In this issue:

  • Tribute to Betty Hall (2006) and WormKill History – Dr KM Dash
  • What’s in a name: WormKill and WormBoss
  • 15 Things Worth Knowing About Coffee

Betty Hall and WormKill

Recently Dr Keith Dash, veterinarian, parasitologist (PhD on Oes. columbianum) and former CSIRO scientist, contacted me while he was in the throes of doing some computer housekeeping.

While ‘sorting’ his computer, Keith, also known as ‘the father of ‘WormKill‘, came across his notes for a talk at a dinner for Betty Hall in 2006. This dinner, organised by Dr Lewis Kahn (UNE), was a tribute and farewell for Betty, who now lives in The Apple Isle.

Unfortunately, being overseas, I missed the dinner and Keith’s speech. So, reading the copy of Keith’s speech, which he sent me, was my first exposure to it – and a very enjoyable one at that given my familiarity with the happenings described therein. Plus I thoroughly enjoyed Keith’s style.

But, before I go too far – for those ‘who came in late’ (an expression well known to readers of Phantom comics) – WormKill, first launched in July 1984, was the first of the modern strategic sheep worm control programs in Australia. Others soon followed, including WormBuster (Queensland), CRACK (Western Australia – ask RB Besier what this acronym means -may be they were on crack?), and WormPlan in Victoria etc.

In a way these programs live on, having contributed to the current programs in WormBoss. And this has been acknowledged. See for example the acknowledgements section here: http://www.wormboss.com.au/programs/tablelands-slopes.php … and also the programs for other regions. While you are there, spend some time looking around WormBoss: ‘time well spent.

WormKill was spectacularly successful, certainly for the first years, until resistance to closantel, which was launched in Australian in 1982, began to appear in the late 1980s (First discovered in the field by Phil Kemsley (later characterised and reported by Rolfe et al). Phil at that time was the PP Board vet at Warialda. The first reported case of moxidectin resistant sheep worms in Australia came from the same farm).

The adoption rate for WormKill, as estimated and reported by Rosemary Newman (University of New England-Agricultural Economics. See attached doc by Hall et al) was extraordinarily high (~70-80%) for an agricultural extension program. It was also very successful biologically: Haemonchus, certainly haemonchosis, became rare, and control of scour worms was good as well except when producers failed to use effective broad-spectrum drenches.

I have often pondered the reasons for the outstanding success of WormKill. In short it was serendipity: the happy convergence of a number of factors that ensured great success. Keith touches on some of these factors in his history below.

One factor he under-emphasised was his own role: he was a very good scientist, communicator and ‘champion’. And he was generous and inclusive: he included many different people and organisations, all critical to the success of WormKill. Added to that he was a maverick – a softly spoken maverick – the most dangerous kind. The Brando-esque black leather jacket, which he often wore, gave it away. 😉 (See attached image). (He was also a runner: never trust fit people. Fortunately this was before the MAMIL era: middle-aged men in lycra)).

And, KMD dreamt up ‘the name’. At a planning meeting involving Betty, Keith and I, Keith announced he had had an epiphany in the shower: the name ‘WormKill’.

This tribute to Betty, which is also a WormKill history, is no dry, impersonal, monochrome recounting of facts and dates, but rather a deeply personal and colourful recollection of events and people.

With permission from Keith and Betty, here it is:

​ Tribute to Betty Hall and WormKill History – Dr KM Dash. ​

Betty Hall Dinner​ –
Armidale, 29 September 2006

Ladies & Gentlemen, I’m honoured to be here to celebrate Betty Hall’s contribution to the world, and I’m doubly honoured to have been asked to be first runner in the speech relay.

1984, 22 years ago, was the Wormkill year when Betty Hall added multi-media personality to her impressive and continuing accomplishments as a veterinarian and animal health consultant. She has kept the flame alive, not just alive but burning fiercely, in the years since then.

The first Wormkill program was very simple and direct, and there were good reasons for that. But it was always envisaged that with experience and advances in knowledge it would evolve into a much more sophisticated program, as it is today. Along the way, team members have come and gone, but the spirit is still there because the corporate memory has survived in people like Betty Hall, Steve Love and Bill O’Halloran, who remember what it was like in the exciting and uncertain days of 1984 when we lived on the edge.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. My view of history is that the Wormkill Program had its beginnings in 1962, when Thibenzole was released in Australia. I remember it well – I was a brand-new Departmental veterinary officer at Armidale, dealing with real worm problems in the real world for the first time. But after Thibenzole we didn’t have to worry – we had a safe, highly effective drug to get us out of trouble. Soon, other broad-spectrum drugs, like Levamisole and second generation BZs, were added to our armoury. We forgot the lessons we had learnt in the hard days: the days when all we had were arsenic, copper sulphate, nicotine sulphate, and later phenothiazine; the days when we had to think about the timing of treatments, and the days when CSIRO, the Department of Agriculture and the Veterinary Inspectors of the Pastures Protection Boards were on the road advising producers. All that experience and expertise was lost as CSIRO and the Department of Agriculture surrendered the field to the drug companies, who then became the principal advisors on worm control. Their advice was to drench early and often. The ‘no worries’ strategy of monthly drenching soon became the industry standard. CSIRO and the Department of Agriculture watched it happening and said nothing.

Things started to go wrong in the 1970s. Drench resistance to Thibenzole began to appear, but we didn’t get too excited because we still had the later BZs and Levamisole to fall back on. By the 1980s we were having increasing problems with drench resistance at “Chiswick”, but there were very few reports of resistance problems on commercial properties. That surprised us, because if we were in trouble we reckoned that a lot of producers out there must be in trouble also. We now know that there were troubles out there, but mostly they were kept secret and not reported – after all, if you couldn’t control worms, what sort of sheep producer were you?

However, by the early 1980s, there were enough reports coming through for the Regional Veterinary Laboratory and the field veterinarians in the Department of Agriculture and Pasture Protection Boards to undertake a drench resistance survey. I think it’s fair to say that the results, which showed that drench resistance was widespread, shocked them. They concluded that something had to be done, and done quickly.

While all this was going on, at CSIRO we were field testing a program to knock out Barber’s Pole Worm (Haemonchus contortus), which producers feared most, so we could concentrate on what we believed was the real problem – the control of Black Scour Worm (Trichostrongylus colubriformis) in the face of increasing drench resistance. The program relied on a new long-acting drug, Closantel (sold as Seponver), to suppress Barber’s Pole Worm, and a limited number of broad-spectrum drenches to control Black Scour Worm. It was the prototype of the Wormkill Program.

Smith Kline, the drug company that had exclusive rights to market Closantel in Australia, did very well out of the Wormkill Program, but they played no part in its development. They were just as surprised as everybody else when the program was released in 1984. So surprised in fact that the whole Australian supply of Closantel sold out in a couple of weeks and they had to scour the world and fly in new stock at great expense. It wasn’t that we hadn’t tried to interest them. In fact, when they briefed us about Closantel we told them that, if the drug was as good as they claimed, we believed we could design a program to control Barber’s Pole Worm with just a couple of treatments a year. What we got was the classic “Don’t ring us, we’ll ring you” response. And they never rang. So we went ahead and didn’t tell them, buying our Closantel from local Armidale agents. And to our surprise it worked even better than the company claimed.

Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture/P.P​.

Board team, convinced that there was a need to advise producers of the problem of drench resistance and provide them with something positive to do about it, devised a drenching program that was almost identical with the one we were testing at CSIRO. It was only a short step to see the common sense in joining together in a combined extension program. And so the Wormkill Program was born .

We knew it wasn’t going to be easy. We were going to ask producers to reduce their frequency of treatment with broad-spectrum drenches by at least 50%, and to trust us that we knew what we were doing. We were not a selected team – we just happened to be the people on the ground at the time. We had a core group of three people in the performance team – Betty Hall, Steve Love and myself. We shared the same determination, but despite what people might think we were not extroverts by nature; it was something we had to work very hard at to get the job done. The Departmental Sheep & Wool Officers, such as Bill O’Halloran, were our publicity officers and advisors. Their role was crucial in that they were able to stand back and see the big picture, whereas we in the day-to-day thick of it could not. They calmed us and stopped us panicking.

The first Wormkill Program was very simple, ridiculously simple some might say. But it had to be that way so it could be understood easily and marketed quickly. There would be time enough for refinements later if we survived the battle ahead. We were setting out to capture the high ground in worm control from the drug companies. We reckoned that they weren’t going to like it, so our plan was to run very fast so they couldn’t catch us and cut us off at the knees.

What we didn’t realize was that the drug companies, like all big organizations, couldn’t react quickly, at least not to a surprise attack, and apart from a few minor skirmishes the war was over before they could marshal their forces.

What we hadn’t expected was the opposition we encountered from senior people within our own organizations. A grass-roots, in-your-face extension program, and with a ridiculous name at that, was something new to them, and they didn’t like it. We had the distinct feeling that they were just waiting for us to stumble so they could disown us. It put enormous pressure on the team, but it also made us even more determined.

For example, we were gathering in the Department of Agriculture office before setting out for a producer meeting at Guyra when a call came through from the Department’s head office in Sydney ordering the Departmental officers to withdraw from the program. We looked at one another wondering what we would do now, when Betty solved the problem for us by calling out, “Tell him to piss off!”. So off we went to Guyra. We thought then that there might be trouble ahead, and there was. But it was hard for our Departmental heads in Sydney to control a small group of committed rebels so far away.

There were other instances of high-level opposition or white-anting, by the Department and by CSIRO, but the worst was when the Department decided not renew Betty’s employment contract after November 1984. At that time, Betty was, by popular consent, Coordinator of the Wormkill Program. With Betty gone we were in real trouble – we were being run off our feet and Betty was on the dole.

It was then that we discovered who our real friends were – individual producers and local producer organizations, such as LGPA (as it then was) and the Superfine Wool Producers’ Association. They lobbied the Department and the local member, Bill McCarthy, who in turn lobbied the Minister energetically, and eventually the Department relented and re-appointed Betty, but only on a temporary basis.

Later senior appointments in the Department (Helen Scott-Orr) took a more enlightened and supportive approach. Betty was appointed as a Veterinary Officer on a permanent basis, and the Department embraced the Wormkill Program, as did CSIRO. However, I don’t think Betty ever forgot the past, and when the chance came to work as a consultant with Elders, she took it. And as you all know, she remained fiercely committed to the concept of ongoing cooperation between scientists, advisors and producers, and just as feisty as her “Tell him to piss off!” days.

Betty, thank you.​"

​And thank you, Keith.​

​Postscript 1

In the mail today from KMD:

‘This year is the 30th anniversary of the launch of the Wormkill Program, when we were all a good deal younger and able to run a few kms in the frost before breakfast ​…."​

Keith and I used to sometimes cross paths on our morning runs: but I am now twice the man I used to be.​

Post ​​
script 2

In a note from KMD in 2009:


I don’t regard myself as a sage and I wouldn’t like others to think of me in that way,

​…… (SNIP) …..
If I had to nominate a sage it would be ​​
Tony Lisle
, with ​​
Ian Barger
a close second. I had the great good fortune to work with both of them, and I owe them a great deal.

The success of the Wormkill Program was built on Tony’s quiet advice about how producers thought and how they would respond. And I think credit should be given to

Helen Scott-Orr, who was responsible for the Department of Agriculture embracing Wormkill and extending the idea to Drenchplan.

Kind regards, Keith ​".

For those who don’t know, Tony Lisle was a Senior Technical Officer (Parasitology) with CSIRO in Armidale, working with Ian Barger. His family had a property in the Walcha area, which is one reason he moved back to the New England from Sydney, where he worked with Hugh McL Gordon at CSIRO.

​What’s in a name?

For the genesis of the name WormKill, see above. Recently a PR expert told me that WormKill was a rubbish name. I was quietly amused. Still, WormKill was the progenitor of a variety of other names, such as LiceKill and FlukeKill. But apparently "Kill" is no longer de rigueur. Farmers don’t like ‘kill’. Parasites have feelings too you know.

The name WormBoss came of out a meeting​ of WormBoss team members with Currie Communications in Melbourne around 2004. (WormBoss Mk 1 was launched in 2005; Mk II was launched 21.11.12)). And the WormBoss logo came out of meetings with ‘First Web’ (Arthur Le Fuevre, pers comm).

WormBoss spawned other Boss names: FlyBoss and LiceBoss. In due course, ‘-Boss’ may fall out of favour as well, possibly because ‘boss’ strongly connotes a patriarchal or non-egalitarian approach to things. Maybe something like PEW2NB (program encouraging worms 2 be nicer) is the future? It’s so memorable, pithy and inoffensive.

15 Things Worth Knowing About Coffee – The Oatmeal


​PP Boards? – see here:

​"Chiswick"​ – CSIRO’s property at Armidale, NSW.


Stephen Love

Veterinarian / Parasitologist

NSW DPI, JSF Barker Building, UNE Armidale NSW AU 2351 (Map)

T: 02 6770 1844 M: 0427 400 576

E: stephen.love

W:DPI, WormBoss, WormMail

NOTE: new address/telephone from 2 June 2014

Hall E-Love S-Dash KM. The wormkill program in northern NSW..circa 1985 or 1986-published where [query]-scanned – 20100603.pdf