WRML.2017-07-28.wormfax.outlook. drench-right price.dung beetles.dawbuts. farming communications platform.cwd.meat will kill you?

In this issue

Wormfax for June
Outlook from the outhouse
Drenching at the right price
BOM outlook: August-October
Dawbuts Newsletter
Cattle endoparasiticides and dung beetles etc
Farms’ digital toolbox arrives
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)
What the health (Netflix) – Eating meat will kill you?

Wormfax for June

WormFax for June has been added to the DPI website:

Outlook from the outhouse

Some things to ponder..

We keep saying this, but just because the lifecycle of many – especially cold sensitive worm species (barber’s pole worm (Haemonchus contortus), liver fluke (Fasciola hepatica)) – grind to a halt in winter in colder areas – it doesn’t mean you won’t have worm problems. And this is especially the case if you are unwittingly using ineffective drenches (a very real possibility).

The infective stages of barber’s pole worm (3rd stage larvae (L3)) and liver fluke (metacercariae aka ‘infective cysts’) produced in autumn will survive frosty conditions in winter, even though numbers decline steadily as winter goes on. (It’s the eggs that are cold sensitive for certain worm species; not so much the infective larval stages that the eggs produce).

So, if you treated for barber’s pole – or other roundworms – or liver fluke – in autumn, a mid-winter test would be a good idea to make sure the wheels are not about to fall off.

August is just around the corner, and some flukey properties will need a fluke drench then. Some farms can get away with a flukicide in early winter (April/May), the single most important fluke drench, but others will need a second drench in late winter/early Spring (Aug-Sept). Properties badly affected by fluke will need a summer treatment as well.

Remember drench resistance is happening in liver fluke, as well as roundworms of sheep/goats,  and cattle (and horses).  Never assume any drench – even new ones – will be highly effective. At the very least, consider doing a test after treatment to check drenches are working. WormBoss of course has good info on ‘DrenchChecks’. And this DPI Primefact on liver fluke discusses resistance in liver fluke, the tests available,  and how to check flukicide efficacy.

Australian sheep and goat producers should regularly consult Your Program in WormBoss. (There is a ‘Your Program’ tailored for different regions of Australia). If  you had just one ‘go to’ resource or document on worm control in sheep/goats, ‘Your Program’ is it.

By the way, WormBoss should have info on cattle worm control, in the next year or two. In the meantime, have you checked out MLAs’ Cattle Parasite Atlas, or DPI’s Primefact on cattle worms?

Speaking of cattle, most cattle in the higher rainfall areas of NSW (say the eastern third of the state) that were weaned in late autumn (say May, at around 8 months of age), would have required an effective(!) broad-spectrum drench at weaning (and a fluke drench as well, if needed). Most of the ‘worm impacts’ on grazing beef cattle in NSW are in the first 3-6 months after weaning.

On some farms, just the weaning drench will suffice. On other properties, with more worm problems (e.g. high rainfall; cattle-only properties), an additional one or two extra drenches – spaced roughly 3 months apart – may be needed. But, it is impossible to produce a one-size-fits all recipe for this, especially as worm egg counts in cattle after weaning age do not give as good a guide to actual worm burdens compared to the case in small ruminants. Producers who actually know the growth rates of their weaner cattle will have a better grasp of worm (and nutritional) impacts on their weaners, and whether they need to drench more (or can drench less).

Other variables include grazing management and whether long- or short-acting drenches are used. As to grazing management, preparing low worm-risk paddocks for weaner cattle will have a big impact on worm control and productivity.

And yes, resistance of cattle worms to drenches is an issue too, and very likely many producers are inadvertently using ineffective drenches.

If this year’s weaners are being kept into next year, for example, as replacement heifers, keep in mind ‘type 2 ostertagia disease’ (type 2 ostertagiosis). In NSW, when ‘type 2’ happens, it is often in late summer/autumn in cattle around 16-18 months of age.  The condition occurs as a result of  (cold conditioned??) Ostertagia infective larvae picked up in late winter/spring which enter the 4th stomach and go into ‘hibernation’ (hypobiosis) in the gastric glands, then resume development en masse (causing much damage to the abomasum) 3-6 months later.

Most people have forgotten about ‘type 2 ostertagiosis’, because it became less common in Australia with the advent of the macrocyclic lactone (ML) drenches from the 1980s onwards. But, once seen, never forgotten!: the weight loss and scouring (diarrhoea) can be very dramatic!

MLs are the ‘bee’s knees’ when it comes to killing adult and inhibited Ostertagia in cattle. Unless the Ostertagia are drench resistant. Yes, there are now reports of ML-resistant Ostertagia in cattle, in Australia, and elsewhere (see Waghorn and others, 2016), although currently ML resistance is seen more commonly in Cooperia (intestinal worm). See the last issue of WormMail for a recent NZ report (Waghorn and others, 2016) of ML-resistant Ostertagia ostertagi in cattle.

An effective drench in mid-late Spring should somewhat reduce the chances of type 2 ostertagiosis happening in yearlings a few months later.

Drenching at the right price


BOM outlook: August-October

  • Below-average rainfall likely for most of southern mainland Australia
  • Days and nights likely to be warmer than average; highest likelihood in northern and southeastern Australia


Dawbuts Newsletter

 Another newsletter you might be interested in:  https://www.dawbuts.com/
Why ‘Dawbuts’:  Dr Matt Playford (Dawbuts principal) has strong Japanese connections and ‘dawbut’ sounds like the Japanese word for animal. (動物  dōbutsu).
[Disclaimer: no kickbacks from Dawbuts; zero conflicts of interest; I am paid by taxpayers; and I pay taxes  🙂 – Ed.]

Cattle endoparasiticides and dung beetles etc

S.A. Beynon, M. Peck, D.J. Mann, O.T. Lewis, 2012. Consequences of alternative and conventional endoparasite control in cattle for dung-associated invertebrates and ecosystem functioning. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 162 (2012) 36– 44.
Invertebrates associated with livestock dung provide a valuable ecosystem service of dung decomposition, but can be affected negatively by the use of livestock parasite-control products (anthelmintics). Alternative products are promoted as environmentally sustainable, but effects on dung fauna and dung processing have not yet been investigated. We assessed the effects of one conventional product (ivermectin) and three alternatives (a homoeopathic product, Bug A Tub (a free-choice lick containing <5% diatomaceous earth, plant oils and nutritional supplements) and a copper bolus), on dung fauna and decomposition. Bug A Tub reduced the attractiveness of dung, the abundance of dung-associated insects in the soil beneath pats, emergent insect biomass and dung beetle (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) emergence. Ivermectin dramatically altered insect assemblages, reducing emergent fly biomass. Ivermectin also reduced emergent dung beetle abundance. Dung from ivermectin-treated cattle had a significantly lower rate of decomposition, similar to when invertebrates were excluded, but none of the alternative products affected decomposition. Insect emergence varied widely for dung collected from cattle grazing different fields, highlighting the need to ensure experimental products are not confounded with dung source. Dung from ivermectin-treated cattle can act as an ecological trap (a poor-quality environment which associated invertebrates are forced to colonise) with potentially major consequences for the ecosystem service of dung decomposition. Bug A Tub can affect insects colonising dung, highlighting a need for tests on the environmental safety of alternative products; such testing is not currently a legal requirement.   (Obviously this is just part of the dung beetle etc story…as always, ‘trust but verify’ )

Farms’ digital toolbox arrives

27 Jul 2017, 6 a.m.


GROUNDBREAKING collaboration by the Primary Industries Department, global technology giant Cisco and Molong farmer Ben Watts has delivered a farming communications platform without reliance on Australia’s telecos.

Cameras monitoring paddocks, sensors delivering hourly packets of information from remote locations and mobile weighing stations are just some of the applications already operating on Waidup Homestead, Molong.

The Orange Agricultural Institute, a DPI research headquarters, is also running the platform, but the gear was made farm tough on Mr Watts property.

(Image in article: Molong farmer Ben Watts, Cisco chief technology officer Kevin Bloch and Primary Industries Department deputy director general Michael Bullen).

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) – cervids

From a Canadian government website: http://www.inspection.gc.ca/animals/terrestrial-animals/diseases/reportable/cwd/fact-sheet/eng/1330189947852/1330190096558


Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a progressive, fatal nervous system disease known to naturally infect white-tailed deer, mule deer, moose, elk and reindeer.

What the health (Netflix) – Eating meat will kill you?

Here is one side of the argument (directed by Kip Andersen, Keegan Kuhn):  https://www.netflix.com/au/title/80174177
Here is another, by Nina Teicholz:
And here is another:


WRML.2017-07-13. WormTest results. ivermectin-resistant O ostertagi-cattle. von Ostertag.post-doc position-NZ. etc

In this issue:

Sheep WormTests in June (NSW)
Confirmation of ivermectin resistance in Ostertagia ostertagi in cattle in New Zealand-Waghorn et al
Robert von Ostertag etc – What’s in a name…?
Post-doctoral opportunity – AgResearch, New Zealand – parasitology, farmed deer
Occurrence, Measurement and Clinical Perspectives of Drug Resistance in Important Parasitic Helminths of Livestock-Woodgate et al
CliMate V2 (web-version) released Friday July 7, 2017
World-first pedigree sheep and cattle tag on-farm next month
Predictive sheep health app ASKBILL is music to Rhonda’s ears
Four of the most lethal infectious diseases of our time
Macleay recalls its greatest flood disaster-July 1949

Sheep WormTests in June (NSW)

All the data (de-identified summaries) should be up on the web soon-ish (DPI website-WormFax). Contributing labs: Invetus (formerly VHR)-Armidale and  NSW DPI’s State Vet Diagnostic Lab.

I was just eyeballing some of the results (from Invetus, Armidale) for June.  Roughly 10% of the WormTests for Armidale had mean egg counts >1000. As a rule of thumb, the highest egg counts in a Worm Test are often 3-4 times the mean. Most of these were mainly Haemonchus. The highest mean was ~ 3000, with the highest individual count being ~10 000 epg. And this is winter.

Over in Dubbo, there was a mob (ewes/lambs) with a mean of ~ 2200, highest, 9400. (Mostly Haemonchus). In Northern New England, there was a mob with a mean epg of ~ 2200, highest ~ 9000.

And how about Yass? A mob of weaners there had a mean epg of ~ 2400, highest 12,000 (all Haemonchus).

So, why some high-ish Haemonchus counts even now, in winter?   A common response is that Haemonchus has changed, i.e., it has become more cold-adapted. Sure, this can and does occur, but most of the explanation is to be found elsewhere. (If you hear galloping (in AU), think ‘horses’ rather than ‘zebras’).

Once temps are consistently below 10 deg C overnight, and below 18 deg during the day, it is too cold for Haemonchus eggs to develop and hatch and, as they only live for ~ 5 days anyway, they have come to a dead-end. Maybe the eggs of cold-adapted strains can ‘do their thing’  two to a few ? degrees lower. Certainly when you get into regular frosts, or near to it, there won’t be any new Haemonchus larvae appearing on pasture.

But the 3rd stage larvae (infective larvae) produced in autumn, when conditions were kinder, are a different kettle of fish. They will survive over winter and into spring, albeit in declining numbers.

So, regarding these sheep above, from areas with cold winters, and which have decent Haemonchus egg counts: where did their worms come from?   They either picked up autumn-‘born’ larvae off pasture, and / or they are carrying existing burdens from summer/autumn.

There are no magic bullets, but the practical solutions – tried and tested – are known: it’s all in WormBoss. Start by checking out Your Program.

Confirmation of ivermectin resistance in Ostertagia ostertagi in cattle in New Zealand

Authors: Waghorn TS, Miller C and Leathwick DM, 2016. Veterinary Parasitology 229 (2016) 139–143.  Authors from: AgResearch Grasslands, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand.

Six suspected cases of ivermectin resistance in Ostertagia spp. in cattle were investigated after routine anthelmintic efficacy testing on commercial farms.

Isolates of Ostertagia spp. recovered from three of the farms were each used to infect 18 six month old calves. The efficacy of oral formulations of ivermectin and moxidectin, both at 0.2 mg/kg, was determined against each isolate by slaughter and worm count.

The efficacy of (oral) ivermectin (0.2mg/kg) against Ostertagia spp., based on differentiated FECRT for each of the farms varied from 0% to 88%. The efficacy of ivermectin based on worm counts in the slaughter trial varied from 13% to 75% but (oral) moxidectin (0.2mg/kg) was >99% effective against all isolates.

Albendazole, at a dose rate of 10 mg/kg (oral), failed to achieve 95% efficacy (faecal egg count reduction) against Ostertagia spp. on two farms (82% and 85%). Levamisole consistently failed to achieve 95% efficacy against Ostertagia spp. which is consistent with its known lesser efficacy against this parasite.

Authors further conclude: These results confirm the presence of macrocyclic lactone resistant O. ostertagi in cattle in New Zealand and the likely presence of dual resistance, to macrocyclic lactones and albendazole, in some isolates.
Resistant populations of this highly pathogenic parasite are probably not uncommon in New Zealand and pose a significant threat to animal production and welfare in the future.

They further state: Until recently, reports of resistance in the highly pathogenic Ostertagia ostertagi (Herlich, 1959) have been rare (Sutherland and Leathwick, 2011). However, cases have now been documented in the United States of America (Edmonds et al., 2010), Europe (Demeler et al., 2009; Geurden et al., 2015) and Australia (Rendell, 2010) and resistance is suspected to be developing in Argentina (Suarez and Cristel, 2007). In New Zealand, there have been anecdotal reports, and a number of anomalies in efficacy tests (Mason and McKay, 2006; Waghorn et al., 2006; McAnulty and Gibbs, 2010), which might have indicated emerging ML resistance in this parasite. To date (2016), however, none of these suspect cases have been confirmed (by worm counts and egg counts -Ed) as involving resistant parasites.  (Emphases mine – Ed.)

Robert von Ostertag etc – What’s in a name…?

· Ostertagia –after German veterinarian, Robert von Ostertag

· Salmonella – after USDA veterinarian, Daniel E Salmon (not Daniel Salmon, former Local Land Services veterinarian at Deniliquin, NSW).

· Brucella – after Bendigo-born Scottish pathologist and microbiologist Major-General Sir David Bruce who investigated Malta fever (B melitensis) in British soldiers.

· Johnes disease – after Heinrich A. Johne, a German bacteriologist and veterinarian.

(From https://wormmailinthecloud.wordpress.com/2014/11/24/wrml-2014-11-24-triclabendazole-resistant-liver-fluke-in-new-england-nsw-etc/)

Post-doctoral opportunity – AgResearch, New Zealand – parasitology, farmed deer

“..The objective of this Fixed-Term position is to establish the seasonal biology of lungworm and Ostertagia infection in young and adult red deer.  The job holder will be based at AgResearch Grasslands under the guidance of Dr David Leathwick ..”

More information:

Leathwick 2017-07-11 Post-doc job description AgRsearch Parasitology farmed deer

Occurrence, Measurement and Clinical Perspectives of Drug Resistance in Important Parasitic Helminths of Livestock

Woodgate RG, Cornell AJ and Sangster N, 2017. Occurrence, Measurement and Clinical Perspectives of Drug Resistance in Important Parasitic Helminths of Livestock. Chapter in book: Antimicrobial Drug Resistance, pp.1305-1326 (Vol 2 of 2). January 2017.DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-47266-9_30  https://www.springer.com/la/book/9783319472645   ISBN 978-3-319-47266-9   Available also as an e-book and individual chapters can be purchased separately (~ $29.95).

Livestock parasite resistance to anthelmintics remains one of the major limitations to ongoing animal health, welfare and productivity worldwide. Subsequent less-than-optimal parasite control can impose significant direct and indirect costs within all production and recreation livestock enterprises. This chapter briefly summarises the biology and epidemiology of the important nematode and trematode parasites of cattle, sheep and horses around the world. Then it details the application, including modes of action and specific mechanisms of resistance, of the key anthelmintic options to assist their control. The general principles regarding the development of anthelmintic resistance are discussed in light of an understanding to assist the slowing of worsening spread and to support effective and sustainable helminth control. There is also discussion of methods to detect, measure and monitor anthelmintic resistance.

CliMate V2 (web-version) released Friday July 7, 2017

CliMate (v2), with 10 analyses, facilitates exploration of climate records to ask questions relating to rainfall, temperature, radiation, and derived variables such as heat sums, soil water and soil nitrate accumulation. It is designed for decision makers whose business relies on the weather, who want to better quantify risk and system status.

Visit climateapp.net.au to use the new version.   (And it’s a secure connection (HTTPS) to the site (as opposed to HTTP)).

World-first pedigree sheep and cattle tag on-farm next month

By Terry Sim, 07 July 2017

A WORLD-FIRST maternal pedigree collection tag system suitable for sheep, cattle and goats will have its final production-proofing trial in a New South Wales sheep flock next month.


Predictive sheep health app ASKBILL is music to Rhonda’s ears

By Sheep Central, 10 July 2017

THE sheep industry’s new predictive app ASKBILL now has its own song thanks to the song-writing skills of Sheep CRC office manager Rhonda Brooks.


But, is the AskBill song as good as the WormBoss song from ~ 2005?? (Lyrics and lead singer: Arthur Le Feuvre, first/founding leader of the WormBoss team. (WormBoss: the first of the Bosses) Rhonda’s pretty good, Artie: have you met your match??) – Ed.

Rapid sheep flock increase unlikely despite productivity gains

By Terry Sim, 12 July 2017

MARKET and flock dynamics mean Australia’s sheep and lamb numbers are unlikely to increase rapidly, despite productivity gains indicated in the latest Agricultural Census data.


According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ last Agricultural Census (2015-2016), the national flock decreased by 3% compared to the flock size of ~68 million recorded in the 2010-2011 census. But there is more to this story, according to NSW DPI’s Phil Graham and others…   Ed.

Four of the most lethal infectious diseases of our time


Interesting article. (Thanks KQ).

Macleay recalls its greatest flood disaster-July 1949

12 Jul 2017, 3 p.m. The Land.  http://www.theland.com.au/story/4759483/when-the-rain-falls-in-july/?cs=4951

Interesting story and pictures. Some excerpts:

The great wash, with a ‘wall of water’ coursing down the catchment, drowned more than 15,000 head of cattle, killed six people and washed away 53 homes and businesses, with scores more wrecked … Almost a metre of rain fell into the great valley by late July –  a year’s precipitation in half the time …  There must have been a cold front as part of this storm as it snowed so much at Walcha and Guyra that drifts covered the guideposts. 

4th of July (USA) – xkcd