NSW DPI scientists


NSW DPI scientists

“DPI researchers represent the largest primary industry research group in Australia. Covering more than 50 disciplines, they have earned a reputation for scientific excellence, being ranked in the top 1% of research institutes in agricultural science and in plant and animal science globally.”

Source: Dr Philip Wright, Chief Scientist, NSW DPI. October 2017


SL, Armidale 31 Oct 2017


WRML.2017-10-30. Sawford-horse worms.lyssavirus.candidates-parasitology-CSU.flock and herd health.etc

In this issue:

  • Dr Sawford on horse worms
  • Australian bat lyssavirus
  • Are you interested in Veterinary Parasitology? -A/Prof Woodgate, CSU
  • Flock and Herd Health – 2017 Autumn edition of case studies
  • Value of NSW extensive livestock industries
  • NSW DPI scientists
  • NSW DPI and Postie Bike Challenge
  • Australian Wool Supply Chain
  • Farm Biosecurity – some resources
  • Zoonoses – animal diseases that can infect people
  • Cost of pest animals in Australia
  • Animal Health Australia – new biannual publication
  • National Ag Day – 21 st November
  • VetLinkSQL – interesting apps, for a vet
  • How to Check Whether Your Web Connections are Secure
  • Mulesing
  • Bafflegab


Dr Sawford on horse worms

Back in 2015, I did a summary of the AAEP (American Association of Equine Practitioners) guidelines regarding horse worm control, which are quite a change from the bad old days when every horse (apart, perhaps, from those extensively grazed) was treated frequently/regularly, regardless. (The old approach to horse worm control was to kill S. vulgaris worms before they could produce eggs and contaminate pasture. This required treatment every two months (it took ~ 2 months for eggs to reappear after treatment).

My summary is on the long side, a bit like Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’. Here it is: https://wormmailinthecloud.wordpress.com/2015/03/12/wrml-2015-03-12-get-up-to-date-on-horse-worms-other/

With permission, I here attach a PDF version of Dr Kate Sawford’s PowerPoint on horse worms. The section on worms begins ~ page 5. Kate is the LLS District Veterinarian located at Braidwood, NSW.  Sawford Kate – worm control horses 201611 – horse days 1

Being a PowerPoint presentation, it is necessarily cryptic in places, but still very useful. For more info, you can see my summary of the AAEP guidelines, or the guidelines themselves. I think Kate’s summary is good/helpful, not least for mature persons such as myself with declining mental acuity and attention span.

Australian bat lyssavirus – information for the public


More information on flying foxes (thank-you, JL)http://www.nwc.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Flying_Fox_Article_June2010.pdf

Lyssavirus (from the Greek λύσσα lyssa “rage, fury, rabies” and the Latin vīrus). Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyssavirus

(Friends in Armidale now have a camp of several hundred flying foxes in the trees in their backyard).

Are you interested in Veterinary Parasitology?

From A/Professor Dr Rob Woodgate, CSU Wagga Wagga:

“The School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences at Charles Sturt University, in
Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, is looking for two exceptional candidates to
undertake two new and exciting research projects.

Both candidates will be expected to enrol in and complete a Doctor of
Philosophy or Doctor of Veterinary Studies at CSU.

One project will investigate the impact on industry and diagnosis and control of
Fasciola hepatica in Australian sheep and cattle.

The other project involves a multi-institution collaboration that could
revolutionise the control of gastrointestinal helminths of Australian livestock.

It is envisaged that a tax free annual stipend of at least $35,000 plus
accompanying operating funds will be available for up to three and a half years
for each project.

Both projects include excellent opportunities for industry and international
research collaboration and possibly international travel.

Considerable mentoring and support will be provided for both positions, and
both candidates will also be involved in commercial veterinary parasitology
diagnostic work within the CSU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.

Potentially interested applicants are strongly encouraged to contact Dr Rob
Woodgate (rwoodgate@csu.edu.au or 0477 431 045) for additional information.”

Flock and Herd Health – 2017 Autumn edition of case studies

Case studies from Local Land Services District Vets, oft in cooperation with vet. pathologists from DPI (notably Dr Erika Bunker, formerly of DPI). Interesting.


In this issue: Bacterial meningitis in a ram; high prevalence mild dermatophilosis (lumpy wool) in unweaned merino lambs following a wet spring; ovine segmental axonopathy in two fine wool merino flocks; phalaris sudden death in lambs; two outbreaks of scabby mouth (orf infection) in small ruminants on the Central Tablelands of NSW.

Value of NSW extensive livestock industries

“The NSW cattle herd totals 5.6 million head (21% of national); from 24,662 farm businesses (37% of national) with a total gross value (2015 calendar year) of $2.92 billion (20% of national). Nationally, a further 76,860 staff are employed in beef enterprises, and 53,200 staff are employed in the meat processing sector.

The annual value of the NSW sheep and lamb industry (2015 calendar year), excluding wool is $753.6 million (23% of the $3.29 billion national industry). The annual value of the NSW Wool clip (2015 calendar year) is $890 million (33% of the $2.67 billion national clip). With 27 abattoirs in NSW, 7,568 people are employed and average daily kill of sheep in June 2015 was 33,425.

Nationally, the value of goat meat and exports in 2015-16 grew to $236.7 million, an increase of 76% since 2010-11. NSW goat production underpins this export industry – it is estimated that at least 68% of goats being processed in eastern Australia are sourced from NSW. In 2016, there were 5.8 million goats in the central and western NSW aerial survey monitoring zone, which covers approximately 450,000 km2.

Overall in NSW, approximately 21,000 farms are involved in livestock production for meat and wool.”    Source: NSW DPI.

NSW DPI scientists

“DPI researchers represent the largest primary industry research group in Australia. Covering more than 50 disciplines, they have earned a reputation for scientific excellence, being ranked in the top 1% of research institutes in agricultural science and in plant and animal science globally.”  Source: Dr Philip Wright, Chief Scientist, NSW DPI.

NSW DPI and Postie Bike Challenge

postie bike challenge

One of the senior managers (Kate Lorimer-Ward*) in DPI Agriculture completed the recent Postie Bike Challenge. http://www.postiebikechallenge.org/

The 2017 event was a trip of extremes,  heading west from Brisbane, then passing through the dry, arid and hot landscape of White Cliffs.  Roads varied from sealed roads to gravel outback roads, some deeply corrugated for miles, with sandy ridges and bulldust and grit added for good measure. The weather ranged from hot and dry, to cold and wet. For even more variety, riders traversed snow covered mountains later in the event, prior to the final stage through scenic rainforests to finish in Melbourne.

3000 kms in 10 days.

* A/ Deputy Director General, DPI Agriculture, NSW Department of Primary Industries.

Australian Wool Supply Chain

Australian Wool Supply Chain 2017-10-frm AWI

PDF:  Australian Wool Supply Chain 20171024085535   Source: AWI

Farm Biosecurity – some resources

Some resources on biosecurity, in no particular order:

What is biosecurity?   From LBN and ‘Farm Biosecurity’:

“Biosecurity is the management of risks to the economy, the environment, and the community, of pests and diseases entering, emerging, establishing or spreading.

Biosecurity can be implemented off-shore, at the border and on-farm. By implementing the recommended measures in your day-to-day operations, you will improve your own biosecurity and that of your region, while minimising production losses and unnecessary costs.”

(No doubt this definition can be tweaked in different ways, just like the definition of ‘zoonosis’)

Happily biosecurity experts these days are less inclined to overlook the ‘quiet achievers’, parasites, which, more often than not, are ranked number one among health issues affecting grazing livestock.

Zoonoses – animal diseases that can infect people

Some references to get you started:

NSW DPI:  http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/biosecurity/animal/humans   <<   Good stuff!

Merck Vet Man: http://www.merckvetmanual.com/public-health/zoonoses/zoonotic-diseases     <<Also good, and has a global perspective

A key message on prevention: minimise risk, with basic hygiene being very important. eg see:   http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/biosecurity/animal/humans/general-information/zoonoses-transmission

Cost of pest animals in Australia


Animal Health Australia – new biannual publication

“AHA is launching a new bi-annual publication and we would love to feature your work!

“The publication will include the latest agricultural and animal health news and showcase the achievements of AHA and our Members and stakeholders. If you have an article about your work, research or innovations in animal health, a personal profile or opinion piece, we would love to see it!”


National Ag Day – 21 st November

https://www.agday.org.au/    ” All told, agriculture employs more than 1.6 million Australians – in jobs like retail, logistics, technology and science. There’s much more to the story of Australian farming than meets the eye. Get the facts about Aussie agriculture here: https://www.agday.org.au/farm-facts

national ag day

VetLinkSQL – interesting apps, for a vet

They are a Kiwi company:  http://www.vetlinksql.com/

Maybe I am being nice to our trans-Tasman cousins seeing the Wallabies beat the All Blacks recently (21.10.17)  🙂

How to Check Whether Your Web Connection’s Secure

https://spreadprivacy.com/secure-web-connection/  (DuckDuckGo)


Named after JHW  Mules, 1876-1946, South Australian sheep raiser who first practised this procedure’ – Macquarie Dictionary.   Also see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mulesing

Not to be confused with ‘muesling’ (Swiss German), the act of eating muesli (often with milk), which is not known to prevent flystrike (myiasis), despite the various magical properties of this breakfast food. Indeed muesling in humans may actually predispose to flystrike, if one is severely lactose intolerant. Muesling in sheep may also have untoward consequences, due to the possibility of ruminal acidosis, and consequent diarrhoea (‘scouring’), and excoriation of the perineum.      (Joke)

myia (Greek) = fly



MEANING: noun: Obscure, pompous, or incomprehensible language, such as bureaucratic jargon.

Coined by Milton A. Smith, assistant general counsel for the US Chamber of Commerce, in 1952. From baffle, perhaps from Scots bauchle (to denounce) + gab, perhaps of imitative origin.  Source: A.Word.A.Day with Anu Garg.    (Thanks, JL)


SL, Armidale NSW, 30 October 2017

e&oe. No conflicts of interest to declare.

31 October – 500th anniversary of The Reformation.


WRML.2017-10-20. wormfax.outlook.refugia.individual v bulk counts.etc.

In this issue:

WormFaxNSW-September 2017
Outlook from the Outhouse
Striking a balance (refugia etc)
Our fecund friend
Individual or bulk worm egg counts: is there a difference?
Compendium of Pesticide Common Names
Which breed dominates beef production in the United Kingdom?
Flying Doctor issues new snakebite advice
The ‘Sir Ivan’ fire
Spotting bad science
Logical – xkcd

WormFaxNSW-September 2017

The latest edition is up on the NSW DPI website:


WormFax is a summary of WormTest results (in sheep) from around NSW. Many thanks to Invetus (formerly VHR) Armidale and NSW DPI’s State Vet Diagnostic Lab for providing the summary data each month, and over many years.

Outlook from the Outhouse

After 6 months or so of below average rain for most of NSW, the first half of October has seen good and even heavy fails of rain in parts of the state, notably the northeast and parts of central and southern NSW. Pastures in these areas have got a new lease of life ‘overnight’, which means worms have too, especially if there are good follow-up rains.
Still parts of the state a very dry, e.g. the Braidwood district.
rainfall deciles jul-sept bom
 Source/credit: BOM
Of the important roundworms of sheep, the one that will respond most quickly to recent rain, now that day time temps are commonly over 18 degrees, is our old ‘fecund’ friend, Haemonchus contortus – barber’s pole worm (BPW).  BPW will increase even faster in numbers if it had a good launching pad coming out of winter, ie there were plenty of BPW larvae on pasture going into winter.  Common reasons for this would include: not using effective drenches, not drenching when required, which in turn may be due to infrequent or zero WormTesting (worm egg count monitoring), and not preparing low worm-risk paddock for ewes lambing in Spring. Other factors include nutrition and the genetic makeup of the flock.
What are the two most important things you can do to manage worms?
1. Read and follow Your Program (the program for your region) in WormBoss.
2. Do regular WormTesting (which is included in [1] ).  In most areas at this time, WormTest a number of representative (‘sentinel’) mobs every 4 weeks.
If you do nothing else, do regular WormTesting. See it is an investment, not a cost in time or dollars, And WormTesting includes doing egg counts 14 days after drenching, i.e., DrenchChecks. Drench resistance is very common, and without testing, NO-ONE in Australia can be 100% certain that ANY drench on the market will be highly effective on their property.
For some relevant goat-related information:

Striking a balance (refugia etc)

‘Low worm-risk paddocks’, aka ‘clean’ paddocks, are mentioned above. Wouldn’t lambing on a low worm-risk paddock, following a pre-lambing drench, be bad because there are relatively few  worms in refugia (more on refugia here), which potentially could mean greater selection for drench resistance in worms?

Firstly ‘clean’ is a relative thing.  A ‘clean’ paddock in parts of NZ is not the same as in the New England region of NSW is not the same as cereal stubble in Western Australia in summer. But, regarding selection for resistance, is the number of  (relatively drench-susceptible) larvae on a paddock important, or what proportion they are of the ‘total’ worm population?

Secondly, you have to balance competing priorities. If you were totally focussed on reducing selection pressure for drench resistance, you might elect to have recently drenched ewes lamb in the most contaminated paddocks on the property. The cost of  achieving this benefit  (of less selection for resistance) might, in some cases, include massive losses in productivity, including mortalities.

Remember also the role of drench efficacy. If  Your Program mandates, for example, a pre-lambing drench for ewes, using a highly effective drench or combination drench (>98% effective), rather than a somewhat less effective drench, might also result in less selection for resistance.

Our fecund friend

Haemonchus is well-known for its high biotic potential or fecundity.  How many eggs does a female barber’s pole worm pump out?    See here. What it lacks in ‘ecological flexibility’ (the eggs are relatively cold – and desiccation intolerant), it tries to make up for by way of fecundity. (They all have their strategies. The trick is to make use of them. (‘Know your enemy’ – Sun Tzu)).

But, some are more fecund. For example liver fluke (around 20 000 eggs per day), and even more fecund – by a country mile kilometre –  is Macracanthorhynchus, mentioned in the last WormMail.

fecund – capable of producing offspring in abundance (Latin: fecundus fruitful). Macquarie Dictionary.

Individual or bulk worm egg counts: is there a difference?

A recent (October 2017) article on this by the inimitable Lewis Kahn is worth reading (aren’t they all?). If you subscribe to ParaBoss News – and you should – this would have landed in your inbox recently.

 “…it’s important to keep in mind that either method is better than not testing!”

Find the article here:  http://www.wormboss.com.au/news/articles/tests/individual-or-bulk-worm-egg-counts-is-there-a-difference.php

A summary table from the article:

Table 1. Strengths and weaknesses of individual versus bulk worm egg counts.

Individual method Bulk method
Strengths Shows the variation in WEC among animals in a mob

Essential for determining ASBVs

Essential for DrenchTests

Essential for post treatment DrenchCheck

Samples a larger proportion of the mob

Results more likely to reflect the true mob average

Weaknesses Samples a smaller proportion of the mob

Results may not reflect the true mob average

Does not show variation in WEC among animals in a mob

Cannot be used for determining ASBV

Cannot be used for DrenchTests

Should not be used for post treatment DrenchCheck

All parasitology labs are more than au fait with the sample preparation involved in doing individual animal worm egg counts.

If you send samples for bulk counts, it would be good to talk to your lab about whether they do bulk counts, and also how they do them. For example, if your lab only takes faeces from the top of each jar (if you send faeces in the standard 10 vials found in many/most kits), and bulks these, then you are not really getting a bulk count, i.e., not all the faeces you have collected is being represented in the bulk counts.

Also in the latest ParaBoss News, there are articles about: lamb marking pain relief options, lambs sabotaging lice treatments, Rain!— and risk barber’s pole worm, and Sarcocystis.

Compendium of Pesticide Common Names


‘Might be of use/interest.

“For purposes of trade, registration and legislation, and for use in popular and scientific publications, pesticides need names that are short, distinctive, non-proprietary and widely accepted. Systematic chemical names are rarely short and are not convenient for general use, and so standards bodies assign common names to the active ingredients of pesticides.”

You can even learn about naftalofos (syn naphthalophos) (Chinese 萘肽磷  French  naftalofos  Russian  нафталофос).  “There is no ISO common name for this substance; the name “naftalofos” is approved by the World Health Organization and the name “naphthalophos” was formerly approved by the British Pharmacopoeia Commission.”


(Note: it seems? that only those anthelmintics that are also insecticides or acaricides, are included).

Which breed dominates beef production in the United Kingdom?

By Jon Condon, 17 October 2017

‘In the country where the breed originated, its interesting to note that Angus cattle do not dominate the UK beef industry as they now do in the US, Canada, Argentina and temperate regions of Australia. What is the UK’s most popular breed type?’


Flying Doctor issues new snakebite advice


The ‘Sir Ivan’ fire

“February’s devastating bushfires burnt through 55,000 hectares of farming land in the NSW Central West, destroying more than 5,000 head of sheep and cattle and damaging
vital agricultural infrastructure.” There were also devastating fires elsewhere in the state.

Source: Beyond the Bale; article on ‘Fibre for Firefighters’.

Spotting bad science

spotting bad science 2017-10

Source/credit: Compound Interest 2015  http://www.compoundchem.com/



SL, Armidale  ~ 20 Oct 2017


This newsletter is devoid of conflicts of interest, sensationalised headings,  and other bad things.