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.


WRML.2017-09-25 wormfax paraboss-feature-articles macracanthorhynchus halicephalobus ag-biggest-contributor etc

In this issue:

  • WormFaxNSW-August / Outlook from the Outhouse
  • ParaBoss News – September 2017 – Feature Articles
    • (Immunity loss at lambing and kidding (Kahn)  – and – Flystrike Assist app)
  • Macracanthorhynchus photos – Jayce Morgan, NSW DPI
  • Macracanthorhynchus hirudinaceus in feral pigs – Bruce Watt (WRML, 2015)
  • First human case of fatal Halicephalobus meningoencephalitis in Australia
  • Ag now the biggest contributor to the Australian economy
  • Is climate variability really on the rise?

WormFaxNSW-August / Outlook from the Outhouse

WormFax NSW is a summary of sheep WormTests from two of the major labs in NSW: The State Vet Lab and the Invetus (formerly VHR) lab in Armidale.  The August edition is now up on the DPI website:  http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/about-us/publications/wormfax

In summary, egg counts have been relatively low because we are coming out of winter and because it has been very dry over much of eastern Australia, and elsewhere. But, there have been occasional WormTest average egg counts >1500 eggs per gram of faeces. And this is an average; there will be individual animals with much higher counts. (A rule of thumb: two to a few times the average).

Remember also that sporadic worm crashes still happen in prolonged dry spells and droughts.   This is one possible scenario: sheep are crowded onto a sacrifice paddock for supplementary feeding.  Every so often there are scuds of rain and patchy storms. Little rivulets, carrying a lot of fresh manure, form. Then green ‘pick’ grows where the rivulets have run. Within several days, there are infective larvae aplenty, ‘climbing’ (swimming, actually) the green shoots. And the sheep ‘chase’ the green pick. If the producer has stopped regular WormTesting because ‘you don’t get worm problems in a drought’, there might be a ‘crash’, with very sick – even dead- wormy sheep. Emergency drenching then happens. And the drench may not be effective (due to drench resistant worms), because the producer has guessed what may be effective. (We are all human).

Other scenarios include chasing the remaining green pick along creeks with shady banks, and along bore drains, where there are some still remaining, or next to leaky irrigation channels or dams, or near permanent springs.

ParaBoss News – September 2017 – Feature Articles

Two of this month’s feature articles: see below

To get the monthly feature articles and news delivered to your inbox, subscribe to ParaBoss News: https://www.paraboss.com.au/subscriptions.php

Immunity loss at lambing and kidding

by Lewis Kahn, ParaBoss Executive Officer

‘Why are ewes and does more susceptible to worms in the last weeks of pregnancy and during lactation, and how does this influence management recommendations?’ >> Read more.

Flystrike Assist app

by Julia Smith, Development officer, DPIRD WA

‘The Flystrike Assist app, by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development in Western Australia, has been updated just in time for what is shaping up to be a busy flystrike season‘. >> Read more.

Macracanthorhynchus photos – Jayce Morgan, NSW DPI

Jayce Morgan is the Development Officer Pigs, Intensive Livestock Industries-Agriculture NSW, located at Tamworth, NSW. She recently sent me some pictures she took of Macracanthorhynchus hirudinaceus – the ‘thorny headed worm of pigs’, found in the proximal (upper) small intestine.

In Jayce’s pics below, the first shows the small intestine (SI), cut open in one place, and the (faintly striated/’wrinkled’) worm (sometimes mistaken for a tapeworm) exteriorised, but with the head still attached (leech-like) to the lining of the SI. The next shows (‘granulomatous’) nodules caused by the worm.

Image source/credit: Jayce Morgan

Image source/credit: Jayce Morgan

Acanthocephalans (thorny-headed worms, phylum Acanthocephala) are obligate endoparasites (i.e., internal parasites), ranging in size from 1 mm to over 40 cm. Acanthocephala is a separate phylum, closely related to Nematoda. They are called thorny headed worms because of the hooked-covered proboscis at the anterior end.

(‘Obligate’-having no options but one; ‘facultative’ -having more life choices. Similarly in bacteriology: e.g. facultative vs obligate anaerobes. Organisms all have their survival/reproductive strategies. Smart management (which might include coexistence) of troublesome organisms requires a good understanding of them. ‘Know your enemy’,  as Sun Tzu (‘The Art of War’) said).

Image (somewhat magnified!)/source: Georgi’s Parasitology ..

Acanthocephalans have a two-host life cycle involving aquatic or terrestrial arthropods (intermediate host) and vertebrates (final or definitive host; usually in the host’s alimentary tract).  The body of the adult worm is usually cylindrical, although some are flattened. The hollow proboscis, armed with hooks, which aids in attachment, is retractable, and lies in a sac. There is no alimentary canal; absorption takes place through the thick cuticle. The sexes are separate (dioecious), and males are much smaller than females. The eggs – resilient and produced in vast numbers (see Watt article) – are spindle- or oval-shaped, thick-shelled and contain a larva, which is called an acanthor due to its anterior circlet of spines and hooks. Once ingested by an arthropod intermediate host, the acanthor migrates to the haemocoel where it develops over 1-2 months into a cystacanth. The definitive host is infected by ingesting the intermediate host, and the cystacanth (a young adult), attaches in the alimentary tract where it matures, with females producing eggs after 5-12 weeks (the prepatent period). (Refs: 3,4,5).

The genera of veterinary importance are Macracanthorhynchus (pigs), Oncicola (dogs, other canids) and Prosthenorchis (Oncicola) (primates). (Ref: 4)

Macracanthorhynchus hirudinaceus (common name(s): “Giant Thorny-Headed Worm of swine”, or similar) adult worms are slightly curved white-pink (when fresh; and perhaps green-ish if stained by bile) and up to 10 cm (males) to 40-60 cm (females) long. (Oncicola canis is much smaller: about 6-14 mm long, and 2-4 mm wide). M hirudinaceus adults are thick, 5-10 mm wide, flattened, and have a cuticle that is transversely wrinkled. (This pseudo-segmentation makes them look similar to tapeworms). The adult worms resemble Ascaris suum, but taper posteriorly. There is no alimentary tract. There is a small proboscis at the anterior end. This is covered in about  six transverse rows of hooks. The prepatent period is  2-3 months, and longevity is about one year.  The large egg (~ 60 x 100 μm) is oval, symmetrical and has a thick grey-brown pitted shell. (Ref: 4).

M hirudinaceus is found worldwide, but not in some areas, eg western Europe. Light infections are usually asymptomatic; heavy infections may cause inappetance and weight loss. Diagnosis is based on finding the typical eggs in the faeces. At necropsy, the adults are Ascaris suum-like, but when placed in water, the tiny proboscis is protruded. The adults, using their proboscis, penetrate deep into the intestinal wall (duodenum; proximal small intestine). Heavy infections cause catarrhal enteritis. Occasionally perforation and even peritonitis ensue. Infection is seasonal (in the UK at least), partly due to availability of intermediate hosts.  Eggs are viable in the environment for several years. (According to one source (Ref: 7), the worms are prolific egg layers but it is an uncommon parasite). Infection is most common in pigs 1-2 years of age. There is little information regarding treatment, but various sources ( Refs: 4, 8) state loperamide, levamisole and various macrocyclic lactones may be effective (sometimes as single treatments, sometimes as repeated treatments), although one source (Ref: 8) cites a reference (Primm, et al. 1992. Am. J. Vet. Res. 53:508-512) reporting variable efficacy of ivermectin.  However, Ref: 1 says levamisole and ivermectin are effective for treatment. (Note that, in Australia, use of these drugs for this purpose may be off- or extra- label uses,  i.e., requiring veterinary prescription or not permitted. In short, check the label). Control is by preventing access by pigs to intermediate hosts. This is most easily done in modern intensive rearing situations, but where pigs are kept in small sties, faces must be removed regularly to reduce the prevalence of dung beetles. (Ref: 4).

As stated, the definitive host for M. hirudinaceus (i.e., the host in which the parasite reaches maturity) is typically a pig (or other suids), and the predilection site is the small intestine. Carnivores and primates, very occasionally humans (see below) or dogs, may serve as accidental hosts.  as mentioned, the parasite’s eggs are ingested by an intermediate host (typically a scarabaeoid or hydrophilid beetle (various dung/burrowing and water beetles)), which is subsequently eaten by the definitive host, resulting in infection of that host.

Macracanthorhynchus hirudinaceus  is one of the two main acanthocephalans known to infect humans and cause acanthocephaliasis (the other being Moniliformis moniliformis). (Moniliformis generally infects rodents (Ref: 4). In infected human hosts, the worms seldom mature and, if they do, they generally do not produce eggs.  Cases of acanthocephaliasis in humans (which are not very common as far as is known) generally occur in areas where insects are eaten for dietary or medicinal purposes. Nearly all known cases in humans have involved infection of the gastrointestinal tract, although Haustein et al. (2009) reported removing an immature unidentified acanthocephalan from a patient’s eye. (Refs: 3, 4, 5).

What’s in a name?

Acanth is from New Latin for ‘spine’ (hence ‘thorny);  ‘cephala means ‘head’; ancanthocephala means ‘thorny head; macracanthorhynchus means ‘giant thorny trunk’ (ref: 6).  Hirudinea is a class of the phylum Annelida comprising the leeches. [From Latin hirūdo leech] (Source: Macquarie Dictionary). And ‘hirudotherapy’ is the medicinal use of leeches.

Macracanthorhynchus hirudinaceus, then, could be taken to mean ” leech-like and with a great thorny trunk (or perhaps head)” (‘Head’ seems to fit the morphology better).

Haemocoel:  the primary body cavity of most invertebrates, containing circulatory fluid. From hemo- of blood + Greek koilos hollow, cavity.’ (Oxford Dict.) And, related to this, we have Latin coeliacus, from Greek koiliakos, from koilia ‘belly’; hence  coeliac, which means, relating to the abdomen, or, relating to or affected by coeliac disease.

Proboscis: the nose of a mammal, especially when it is long and mobile such as the trunk of an elephant or the snout of a tapir. In many insects, an elongated sucking mouthpart that is typically tubular and flexible. In some worms, an extensible tubular sucking organ. Latin from Greek proboskis means of obtaining food, from pro before + boskein (cause to) feed. (Oxford Dict.)

Dioecious: of a plant or invertebrate animal: having the male and female reproductive organs in separate individuals. Compare with monoeciousLatin Dioecia (a class in Linnaeus’s sexual system), from di- two + Greek -oikos house. (Oxford Dict.)

Sources /more information:

  1. http://www.merckvetmanual.com/digestive-system/gastrointestinal-parasites-of-pigs/macracanthorhynchus-sp-in-pigs
  2. http://parasite.org.au/publications/australasian-animal-parasites-inside-and-out/
  3. http://eol.org/pages/404600/overview  (Encyclopedia of Life)
  4. Taylor’s Veterinary Parasitology (textbook; 4th ed).
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macracanthorhynchus_hirudinaceu
  6. ‘Georgi’s’ Parasitology for Veterinarians (therefore highly simplified?? 🙂
  7. http://www.thepigsite.com/pighealth/article/421/thornyheaded-worm-macracanthorhynchus-hirudinaceus/
  8. http://research.vet.upenn.edu/Default.aspx?TabId=7877

Macracanthorhynchus hirudinaceus in feral pigs – Bruce Watt (2015)

Here is a nice article from Dr Bruce Watt (one of the many excellent LLS vets), written in 2015:


First human case of fatal Halicephalobus meningo encephalitis in Australia

Dr Jillian Kelly, a (NSW) Local Land Services District Veterinarian, came across this report in her reading:

Lim and others, 2015.  See case report here http://jcm.asm.org/content/53/5/1768.full

Halicephalobus gingivalis is a free-living, saprophytic nematode with might be described as a facultative (opportunistic) neurotropic (nerve/brain-seeking) pathogen. It was first identified and named in 1954 (Stefanski). (For more info, see the links below).

It occurs sometimes in horses (and some other animals) in various parts of the world. (So far, I have found no evidence that it has been diagnosed in horses or other animals in Australia, but I could be wrong). And sometimes, apparently very rarely, it occurs  in humans. Certainly confirmed cases are rare: the case that Lim and others describe, the first reported human case in Australia, is  just the sixth human case described in the literature worldwide since 1975. Diagnosis antemortem is a challenge, as is treatment, due to the problem of getting large-ish molecules past the blood-brain barrier.

More information here:



Pintore MD and others, 2017: https://parasitesandvectors.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13071-017-2070-3

saprophyte: a plant, fungus, or microorganism that lives on dead or decaying organic matter. (Oxford Dict).

Ag now the biggest contributor to the Australian economy

‘THE LATEST national accounts figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) have revealed agriculture is now the biggest contributor to Australia’s gross domestic product and is the nation’s fastest growing sector.’

Kristy Moroney  11 Sep 2017     More:  http://www.farmingahead.com.au/business/markets/ag-now-the-biggest-contributor-to-the-australian-economy/

Is climate variability really on the rise?

By Neil Lyon, 18 September 2017

“Australia’s climate has always been variable and the level of climate variability is neither increasing nor decreasing in most parts of Australia, according to soil scientist and environmental analyst, David Freebairn.”


(Blowed if I know…)


SL, Armidale    2017-09-25

e&oe  (Apologies in advance if there are any typos – my brain has gone AWOL)

WRML.2017-09-08.cELISA and flukicide efficacy-George.liver fluke.footrot.horse ID.etc

In this issue

  • Coproantigen ELISA as an indicator of efficacy against multiple life stages Fasciola hepatica infections in sheep – George SD
  • Early Spring – treat for liver fluke?
  • Footrot in sheep – more
  • Feedback sought on horse identification
  • Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation
  • RIRDC’s new name and direction
    Roman god of faeces
  • First production motorcycle
  • Rainbows
  • xkcd: weather forecasting models

Coproantigen ELISA as an indicator of efficacy against multiple life stages Fasciola hepatica infections in sheep

George, S.D., Vanhoff, K., Baker, K., Lake, L., Rolfe, P.F.,
Seewald, W., Emery, D.L., Application of a coproantigen ELISA as an indicator of
efficacy against multiple life stages Fasciola hepatica infections in sheep.Veterinary
Parasitology http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetpar.2017.08.028


  • Following effective treatment, no faecal antigen was detected from 1 week
  • cELISA conducted 1–4 weeks after treatment will demonstrate obvious treatment failure against adult F. hepatica
  • Where immature parasites are present the initial cELISA should be followed with a second cELISA at least 6 weeks after treatment to ensure resistance to immature stages is detected.
  • Coproantigen ELISA (cELISA) correlated strongly with adult fluke burden (FWEC didn’t)


  • Coproantigen ELISA (cELISA) correlated strongly with adult fluke burden (R²=0.78).
  • cELISA and FWEC combined can provide a non-lethal endpoint (R²=0.84).
  • Treatment failure against immature stages could not be detected until 6 weeks post-treatment.
  • Detection of emerging resistance detection requires cELISA ≥ 6 weeks post-treatment.


“At present diagnosis of true resistance and determination of drug efficacy in Fasciola hepatica infection rely solely on terminal experiments. The coproantigen ELISA (cELISA) has been reported previously as a sensitive and specific tool appropriate to detect treatment failure, and potentially drug resistance.

Two studies were conducted to determine whether the cELISA was appropriate for on-farm efficacy and resistance testing in Australian Merino sheep. In Study 1 sheep were infected orally with 50 F. hepatica metacercariae on three occasions, twelve, six and two weeks prior to a single flukicide treatment with triclabendazole, closantel or albendazole. Sheep were sampled weekly for a further seven weeks prior to necropsy. Following effective treatment, no faecal antigen was detected from 1 week. When immature stages (≤6 weeks) survived treatment, coproantigen reappeared from 6 weeks post-treatment. Therefore, cELISA conducted 1–4 weeks after treatment will demonstrate obvious treatment failure against adult F.
hepatica, but is not sufficiently sensitive to detect survival of immature fluke until these reach maturity.

In study 2, fluke burdens of sheep necropsied 13 weeks post single infection were compared to fecal worm egg counts (FWEC) and cELISA at necropsy.
Regression analysis demonstrated that cELISA correlated strongly with fluke burden, whilst FWEC correlated weakly with cELISA. The correlation between FWEC and fluke burden was also weak, although stronger than that of FWEC with cELISA.

The cELISA is an appropriate tool for monitoring effectiveness of treatments against Fasciola hepatica if an adult infection is present, however when immature stages of the parasite are present it is not as reliable. Where immature parasites are present it is recommended that initial cELISA be followed with a secondary cELISA at least 6 weeks after treatment to ensure resistance to immature stages is detected. Further testing is justified for monitoring the effectiveness of control programs by detecting adult populations that have survived a treatment regime.”

Early Spring – treat for liver fluke?

Do you need to treat for liver fluke?

If / when you treat, how do you know the fluke drench worked?

More information:

Footrot in sheep – more

‘Article citing Dr Bruce Watt: http://centraltablelands.lls.nsw.gov.au/resource-hub/media-releases/2017/buyer-beware-footrot-on-the-rise

“There has been an increase in the number of diagnosed footrot infections on the Central Tablelands, as well as in neighbouring regions such as the Central West,” said Central Tablelands Local Land Services Regional Veterinarian, Bruce Watt.

‘Signs of footrot include lame sheep, inflammation between the digits and underrunning of the sole and heel of the foot. In some severe cases, sheep will lie down or walk on their knees.

‘NSW’s footrot protected status requires that the flock prevalence of virulent footrot in the state is kept below one per cent.

‘Virulent footrot is a notifiable disease under the NSW Biosecurity Act 2015. Any landholder, land manager, agent or veterinarian who suspects that footrot is present in a mob they have seen or have been consulted about is legally obliged to notify a Local Land Services District Veterinarian.’

Images credit/source: Central Tablelands and Central West LLSs. Sept. 2017. Images show underrunning. One foot also appears to be fly blown. The blood is from paring.

Feedback sought on horse identification

Horse owners are being asked to have their say about the possible introduction of mandatory identification for all horses in NSW.

NSW DPI is seeking feedback via a short online survey to gauge interest and support for a simple NSW horse identification scheme.


Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation

Located at Wagga Wagga, NSW, the Graham Centre is a cooperative venture involving Charles Sturt University and  NSW Department of Primary Industries. Its vision is “to be the Australian Centre of Excellence for innovation in grain and red meat production and value adding”.

To see past newsletters (“The Innovator”), see here:  http://www.csu.edu.au/research/grahamcentre/news/newsletter

RIRDC’s new name and direction

From Farming Ahead:


THE RURAL Industries Research & Development Corporation (RIRDC) has announced a new trading name and direction for the federal statutory authority, now known as AgriFutures Australia, the former RIRDC promises to forge a bold new path for Australia’s rural industries.

However, from the (nice) picture in the article, it appears they are currently without an office.

Roman god of faeces

You learn something new from your colleagues everyday ..   some days it’s useful ..

‘In Roman mythology, Sterquilinus (“manure” or “feces”) — also called Stercutus and Sterculius — was a god of feces. He may have been equivalent to Picumnus. The Larousse Encyclopaedia of Mythology gives the name as Stercutius, a pseudonym of Saturn, under which the latter used to supervise the manuring of the fields.  Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sterquilinus    Sterquilinus essentially taught the use of manure in agricultural processes. He was not the sole deity of manure on its own; as in, sewage.’

First production motorcycle



‘roses are red…violets are blue…..and purple in a rainbow is a supernumerary hue  ‘     Rainbows from prisms: ROYGBIV (red orange yellow green blue indigo violet) should be ROYGCB? (c=cyan; b=blue)??  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9udYi7exojk
Primary colours: a fundamental property of light??…or, related to the color vision system in animals? Humans are normally trichromats (only three types of colour receptors). Most placental mammals other than primates are dichromats.  Birds and marsupials have four color photoreceptors in their eyes, and hence are tetrachromats with a more complex colour perception system. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primary_color


xkcd: weather forecasting models



SL, Armidale.   2017-09-08

e&oe.    Conflicts of interest: none that I recall


TL;DR  1. (aka ‘summary’)= too long; didn’t read  2. how a friend replies to some of my more prolix emails

WRML.2017-08-30.van Wyk gold medal.black disease and fluke.ParaBoss News. resistance-long acting drenches.etc

In this issue:

SAVA Gold Medal awarded to Dr Jan vanWyk
Black disease and liver fluke
Another reason to subscribe to ParaBoss News
Resistance to long-acting drenches – Sawford
Beasley et larval migration test ML resistant cyathostomins (horse worms)
Ten years since equine influenza outbreak
Ascochyta eats into chickpea defenses – lessons re anthelmintic resistance?
Footrot alert -central western NSW
Australia’s oldest? publican sells 1884 pub
Banksias and pardalotes

SAVA Gold Medal awarded to Dr Jan vanWyk

‘Anyone’ who knows ‘anything’ about veterinary parasitology knows the name Jan van Wyk.

Here is an excerpt from the attached/linked document:

“The Gold Medal of the SAVA (South African Veterinary Association) was awarded to Dr Jan van Wyk for his exceptional and sustained scientific achievements as helminthology researcher in a professional career stretching over an impressive 55 years.
Jan graduated as veterinarian in 1962 and spent 6 years as state veterinarian before transferring to the Onderstepoort Veterinary Research Institute’s Helminthology Department, where he was an assistant-director from 1983-1997. Hereafter he was appointed as extraordinary lecturer at the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Veterinary Science, a position that he still holds.
He dedicated his entire career to research in helminthology, concentrating on the control of verminosis in sheep, with emphasis on avoiding the development of resistance to conventional chemical methods/chemotherapy by helminth management. His scientific productivity and absolute objectivity are exceptional.
His impressive CV lists 93 papers ….. ”    “… His dedication to improvement of the
health and production of livestock and thus the quality and success of farming is phenomenal, always going out of his way to make his scientific studies of practical value to the commercial and developing farming community. …..”      (Thank you for the heads-up,  Johann S)

See attached for pics and more information: van Wyk J-Gold Medal South African Vet Assoc 2017-frm J Schroder 2017-08-29

Congratulations Jan! 

Black disease and liver fluke

This from the Welsh Veterinary Science Centre (WVSC) news  (Thanks Sion Jones)

Image source/credit: Welsh Veterinary Science Centre

Black disease alert… (Wales!)

“The WVSC has seen three cases of Black disease in cattle in the last two months. There were two cases in June, and one this month. Typical liver lesions were found in a two year old beef suckler heifer that was found recumbent, hypothermic and died within two hours. Also in June, a 12 month old beef heifer was found dead and had a liver lesion at post mortem. Most recently, Black disease was diagnosed in a nine year old Friesian cow that became inappetent, recumbent and hypothermic before dying.
Black disease is usually associated with migrating liver fluke larvae, which suggests a relatively early fluke challenge this year, and a continued risk of infection for this autumn. Consideration should be given to clostridial vaccination to protect against the causal organism Clostridium novyi.  Also, flukicide treatment with a flukicide active against immature fluke larvae, bearing in mind milk and meat withdrawal periods for adult animals.”

We do of course get black disease and other clostridial diseases in Australia. And black disease (infectious necrotic hepatitis) here is also considered to be often associated with migrating liver fluke. But, the out-of-the-ordinary does happens. At the former Regional Vet Lab Armidale, we had a case (late 1980s/early 1990s?) of black disease (I think in sheep) from a fluke-free property. Investigation found that the affected sheep, part of a research project, had had a liver biopsy. And vaccination had been overlooked.

More info: http://www.merckvetmanual.com/generalized-conditions/clostridial-diseases/infectious-necrotic-hepatitis

The connection of black disease with liver fluke is mentioned in NSW DPI’s Primefacts on liver fluke.

Wormboss also has information on flukes:  http://www.wormboss.com.au/worms/flukes.php

(This piece on black disease is just an excuse to post a pic of ‘nice’ pathology…:-)

Another reason to subscribe to ParaBoss News

Here is an excerpt from the latest issue (August 2017), from Dr Kate Sawford (Braidwood NSW):

“There have been two confirmed reports of resistance to long-acting drenches in the district over the past three months. While the long-acting drench may not have caused this resistance (it may have come about by historic use of its short-acting counterpart), these cases serve as a reminder that you can assume nothing when it comes to worm control.”

“In the first instance the producer had given the long-acting combination drench to a mob of ten-month-old lambs. Around fifty days later lambs started dying and the producer decided it was time for a WormTest. The WormTest showed individual worm egg counts (WEC) ranging from zero to 21000 eggs per gram (epg) with an average WEC of around 5000 epg. In the second instance the producer gave a long acting containing a single active to two separate mobs of ewes that had been formed following scanning and dividing the previously larger mob into single- and twin-bearing ewes. The producer decided to do a DrenchCheck around two weeks after giving the long acting and found that both mobs still had WECs and the drench had been less than 90% effective in each of the two mobs”

Read the rest of what Kate had to say, including a discussion regarding best practice with respect to long-acting drenches.

Preeminently important though they are  🙂 , ParaBoss News is not just about worms; it also gives local/regional/national updates regarding lice and flies. See, for example, Dr Bill Johnson’s (Goulburn) discussion on lice treatment failures.

Source: https://www.paraboss.com.au/news/outlooks/nsw/august-2017.php#bill-johnson

Beasley et larval migration test ML resistant cyathostomins Vet Para 2017

May be of interest:

Adaptation of a 96-well plate larval migration inhibition test for measuring the sensitivity of cyathostomins to macrocyclic lactone anthelmintics

Article in Veterinary Parasitology · August 2017
DOI: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2017.08.010

Ten years since equine influenza outbreak


“The NSW DPI led the fight against the EI outbreak.”  

… with Livestock Health and Pest Authorities (now part of Local Land Services) District Veterinarians – and others – playing a major role as well….   Along with private vet practitioners and many others….. Not least horse owners!


equine influenza outbreak 10 years since it happened-article in The Land 2017-08-29

Ascochyta eats into chickpea defenses

http://www.theland.com.au/story/4881513/ascochyta-eats-into-chickpea-defenses/?cs=4937   (‘Story features Tamworth-based NSW DPI plant pathologist, Kevin Moore)

‘Analogous in some ways to anthelmintic resistance. (Interestingly, but entirely irrelevant, there is a chick pea variety called Hatrick).

‘However, the ascochyta situation was constantly changing.’   ‘..so I’m suggesting to you people, look after these great new chickpea varieties that you are helping develop and farm sensibly,” he said.’   “therefore, growers needed to be smart about how they farmed, and make sure they plan their management to prevent diseases overcoming the resistance traits of new varieties.’

‘Sounds like a plea for integrated pest management to me. (For the sheep/goat worm version of IPM, go here: http://www.wormboss.com.au/programs.php

(Ascochyta is a genus of ascomycete fungi, containing several species that are pathogenic to plants, particularly cereal crops’. Source: wiki.   Yep, I had to look this up (which was difficult, as we vets are barely literate… 🙂

Footrot alert -central western NSW


Australia’s oldest? publican sells 1884 pub


Sundry and various

One of my fave plants in our garden

Banksia ericifolia  heath-leaved banksia   (from the Latin erica, meaning “heather”).    The eastern spinebill and wattle bird like it too.

B ericifolia026_24 2000-10

Recently seen by LPK in coast(al) banksias outside his window at UNE:

striated pardalote

lerp: a structure of crystallized honeydew or sweet, edible waxy secretion, produced by larvae of psyllid bugs as a protective cover.  (Australian Aboriginal; Wembawemda lerep) Macquarie Dictionary)

pardalote: New Latin pardalotus from Grk pardalotys marked like a leopard, from pardalis leopard (Macq. Dict.)


SL, Armidale, AU  2017-08-30

Egregious errors and omissions excepted (ee&oe)

Conflicts of interest: none that I recall.

WRML.2017-08-24.spring-worms.prenatal fluke infection.DPI and science week etc

In this issue

Spring has sprung, the grass is ris
Prenatal liver fluke infections
Chemotaxis and taxis
Prenatal liver fluke infections
Chemotaxis and taxis
NSW DPI and National Science Week
‘Farm subsidies in Australia: the facts’
Rugby rankings
Injectable pain relief for sheep
Teratogens, congenital defects etc
Efficacy of flu vaccines?
Respiratory tract infections (RTIs)
Leading causes of death
Pics of the week
15 best jokes from Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2017
Why no solar eclipse every month?

Spring has sprung, the grass is ris

…assuming you have had enough rain.

Spring often means grass and growth, and green grass often means worms. As a general rule, if it’s good for grass, it’s good for worms.

But, you can see grass; mostly you don’t see worms, and what they do to your bottom line. There are exceptions of course, and these are mainly due to the haematophagous (‘blood-eating’) worms of ruminants, liver fluke (Fasciola hepatica) and barber’s pole worm (Haemonchus (‘blood-spear’)), both of which can be dramatic (overt disease, deaths), and both of which are easily seen on post-mortem examination, unlike the ‘hair’  (Greek for hair = trich-) worms (black scour worm (Trichostrongylus spp), small brown stomach worm (Teladorsagia circumcincta) etc).

‘Best thing you can do? (Yeah…I know this is getting boring…):

Read and follow Your Program, at Wormboss.com.au. And, among other things, ‘Your Program’ will tell you to use worm egg counts (WormTests) to regularly monitor worm burdens, and before and after drenching (these WormTests are called DrenchCheck), to monitor drench efficacy. Yep, you have heard it all before.

(Spring…starts 1 Sept or from the equinox?)

Prenatal liver fluke infections

There is evidence this happens and it was mentioned in the DPI Primefact, “Liver fluke – a review”. http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/animals-and-livestock/sheep/health/internal-parasites/liver-fluke-review

But it was Dr Matt Ball (of Virbac; formerly a NSW District Veterinarian) who put the idea into my head. During a talk to farmers at Milton on the South Coast, Matt asked me about pre-natal fluke infections. I confessed I couldn’t recall confirmed cases but, ‘though on the spot, had the nouse to say it should be biologically possible.

(BTW…what’s in a name?: Veterinarians Pierre-Richard Dick and Max Rombi founded Virbac (from virology and bacteriology) in 1968).

We know ‘ectopic’ (out of place) fluke infections occur, i.e. migrating fluke can end up in the wrong place, for example, in the lungs of cattle.  (But fluke probably are not as adept at getting lost as Burke – of Burke and Wills fame).

And presumably immature fluke find their way from the small intestine to the liver by some sort of chemotaxis ( I am guessing). So, why couldn’t migrating fluke end up in another liver that is on board?  ie. the liver of a foetus.

And, lo, they sometimes do. Reading an out of print book (possibly the book by Dr Vic Cole), I came across a reference to prenatal liver fluke.  The paper is by Rees et al:

Rees JB, Sykes WE and Rickard MD, 1975. Prenatal infection with Fasciola hepatica in calves. Australian Veterinary Journal, 51, p. 497.

An earlier survey (results unpublished) by Rees and others found 450 (~ 1.27%)  ex 35,462 calves had gross signs (visible to naked eye) suggestive of liver fluke infection. These were 1-3 week old calves, slaughtered at Shepparton abattoirs (Goulburn valley district, Victoria, AU) in July-September, 1973.

In the following year, at the same abattoirs and the same time of year, they repeated the study, but as well as gross examination, also did closer examination including histopathology of affected livers, examinations of flukes, inspection of gall bladder contents etc. But, the closer examinations were only done on those with gross changes consistent with fluke infections. The authors noted 1974 had unusually high rainfall and was a very good year for fluke in that district, as adjudged by the number of outbreaks of liver fluke disease. However the prevalence of liver lesions in 1974 did not vary significantly from that in 1973. Of the 16,776 calves in the 1974 study, 0.5% we found to have liver fluke.

Most infections were patent, ie producing eggs. Apart from this, using various measurements, the parasites in each case were judged to be not less than 10 weeks old. The ages of the calves, and the fluke recovered from them, indicated the infections were prenatal.

The numbers of liver fluke in affected livers was small, consistent with other reports. However, most bile samples from infected calves had liver fluke eggs, often in very large numbers.

For various reasons, this estimate of ~ 0.5% almost certainly was an underestimate. European reports had estimates of prevalence up to 7.9% in calves up to 12 weeks old that were being used for experimental purposes (1959), and from 0.4 – 1.27% in Berlin abattoirs (in 1935). Meanwhile field and abattoir-based veterinarians in Germany reported very low field prevalences of prenatal fluke infections in calves in  the field.

(I gather the calves in the studies by Rees and colleagues were dairy calves (it’s implied), and possibly from areas with irrigated pastures?  So, there perhaps are some epidemiological clues regarding ‘intensity’ of infection?? which might be different from beef grazing systems??)

Some researchers have reported that livers of calves prenatally infected by liver fluke may not, or do not, have recognizable gross pathology (bile duct thickening; hepatic lymphadenomegaly) suggestive of fluke infection. Rees et al did not find that to be necessarily the case.

Rees et al noted also that there were European reports of prenatal fluke infections in lambs, a foal, and in man. (Wondrous creatures, these worms!)

What is the significance of prenatal fluke infections in cattle and other livestock? The authors discuss this but, in short, it is unclear.

Obviously preventing exposure of pregnant livestock to infective fluke cysts (metacercariae) on pasture will prevent prenatal infections. As to the mothers being treated with flukicides, I could only guess what effect this might have on infections in the foetus. Possibly there is some data somewhere. And if a drench is  known to be a potential teratogen (adversely affecting physiological development – usually embryonic/foetal), presumably it will be noted on the label.

Anyway, it is an interesting story (and one retold without fear or favour :-), and worth parking in the back of your brain, if there is room (and your information retrieval systems are working. (In my case, it’s a fluke when I remember things..)…sorry…). (Thank-you, MB).

Chemotaxis and taxis

Chemotaxis got me thinking about taxis (aka ‘cabs’). Apparently taxi is short for ‘taximeter cab’, the taximeter being the device that computes the fare due. (French: taximetre, from taxe charge). The ‘taxis’ in chemotaxis is from the Gk (taxis), meaning ‘arrangement’. Taxis, in the case of the guided movement of motile organisms, means, I presume, their movement (towards or away from a  stimulus) and destination is ‘arranged’.  I suppose you can see the sense of ‘arrangement’ in the word ‘taxonomy’.

NSW DPI and National Science Week

According to a DPI media release 18 August 2017:

Rigorous and industry-aligned scientific research is critical to ensuring the state’s primary producers meet the challenges of increasing competition and environmental uncertainty, according to NSW DPI Chief Scientist Phil Wright.

The NSW Department of Primary Industries is the nation’s largest rural research and development (R&D) provider and is ranked in the top 1 per cent of science institutions globally, in both ‘agricultural science’ and ‘plant and animal science’ categories.

“The emphasis is firmly on delivering cutting-edge, practical information to NSW primary producers, through more than 550 current R&D projects on the go across the state,” Dr Wright said. 


nsw dpi national science week

‘Farm subsidies in Australia: the facts’


I am unable to verify these facts, but have no reason to doubt they are true. It’s not the first time that I have heard that farmers in Australia and New Zealand are the least subsidised of OECD countries….(and the Kiwis have beaten us even at that! – if less is more…   🙂

farmer subsidies various countries

If I have not managed to upset some readers with the above, how about the following….:-)

Rugby rankings

Current (21 Aug 17) world rankings; rugby union (men): Three of the top 5 countries are from the Southern Hemisphere.  NZ at number 1 (naturally), and South Africa (now 4th) having swapped places with Australia (now 5th…(cough..) ).  Ranking and points: 1.NZ(95.21), 2.England (90.14), 3. Ireland (85.39), 4. S/Africa (84.51), 5. AUS (84.21). http://www.worldrugby.org/rankings/mru?lang=en

Injectable pain relief for sheep


Teratogens, congenital defects etc

See: http://www.merckvetmanual.com/generalized-conditions/congenital-and-inherited-anomalies/overview-of-congenital-and-inherited-anomalies

Efficacy of flu vaccines?

It seems this is a hard question to answer with any accuracy.   In one place in a discussion on this, the CDC says this:
‘CDC conducts studies each year to determine how well the flu vaccine protects against flu illness. While vaccine effectiveness can vary, recent studies show vaccine reduces the risk of flu illness by about 50%  to 60% among the overall population during seasons when most circulating flu viruses are like the vaccine viruses.’  (With an efficacy like this you can understand the push to have as many people vaccinated as possible – to limit spread. And this might apply to young children in particular, because, when infected with flu viruses, they shed (shed)loads of virus particles. Apart from this, flu in individuals can be a serious disease, not least in youngsters and ‘oldsters’…but see notes below on the 1918 flu pandemic).

And the efficacy may be lower in people over  65 years old, but still, it is argued, worthwhile.

Here is an excerpt from CDC which puts a little more meat on the answer (but leaving questions unanswered):

Flu vaccination can reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalization, including among children and older adults.

  • A 2014 study* showed that flu vaccine reduced children’s risk of flu-related pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) admission by 74% during flu seasons from 2010-2012.
  • Another study published in the summer of 2016 showed that people 50 years and older who got a flu vaccine reduced their risk of getting hospitalized from flu by 57%.
  • A study that looked at flu vaccine effectiveness in pregnant women found that vaccination reduced the risk of flu-associated acute respiratory infection by about one half.

Respiratory tract infections (RTIs)

With flu being very prevalent in AU at present, RTIs are likely on our minds, and ‘in our lungs or URTs’. Something I came across:

resp tract infections deaths world map accessed wiki 2017-08-21

resp tract infections deaths world NOTES accessed wiki 2017-08-21




NZ (‘muddy’ yellow) doesn’t fare as well as Australia (bright yellow), which perhaps makes their dominance in Rugby Union even more impressive  ;-).   But, on a serious note, if we drilled down to health outcomes for indigenous Australians, the picture would not be something to be proud of.

According to this article, the 1918 flu pandemic (January 1918 – December 1920) infected 500 million people around the world and resulted in the deaths of 50 to 100 million (three to five percent of the world’s population), making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history. Unusually the 1918 pandemic predominantly killed previously healthy young adults. Some later research found that the virus caused respiratory failure and death in animals through a cytokine storm (overreaction of the body’s immune system). It was then postulated that the strong immune reactions of young adults ravaged the body. Native Americans were apparently hard hit; I imagine other indigenous peoples were as well.

Continuing on this unhappy but (scientifically) interesting note …

Leading causes of death – USA

Causes Of Death-ten leading -USA

A friend wryly noted that old age is a risk factor for death. (Thanks BG)

Now for something nice..

Pics of the week


15 best jokes from Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2017

http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/comedy/15-best-jokes-from-edinburgh-fringe-festival-2017-revealed-20170822-gy1zji.html     (Thank-you, KQ)

Why no solar eclipse every month?



SL, Armidale. 24 Aug 2017


ectopic  – Greek: ektop(os) – displaced

fluke (Old English: floc) – a parasitic flatworm typically with hooks and suckers; also denotes a flounder or other flatfish (and presumably liver fluke etc are so named because of the similarity to flounder/flatfish?)

hepatic – pertaining to the liver.  (Gk: hepatikos – of the liver)

lymphadenomegaly – enlargement of lymph nodes   (aden (Gk) – gland.  megas (Gk) – great, huge)

‘natal’ in English has two meanings: relating to birth (Latin, natalis), or relating to the buttocks (Latin, natis = buttock).

teratogen…from Gk teratos – ‘monster or’ ‘marvel’   (gen…from Gk (gignesthai) – be born, produced…hence ‘genesis’)

URT: upper respiratory tract


The problem with political jokes…they tend to get elected..

WRML.2017-08-17.outlook.wormfax.dpi research boosts lamb production.pre-lambing drenches etc

In this issue:

Outlook from the Outhouse –  incl. WormFaxNSW for July
Timely advice on pre-lambing drenches
NSW DPI research boosts lamb production by 20%
Impact of targeted anthelmintic treatment of cattle on dung fauna
Strategic cultivation can alleviate soil stratification
Quoll v Wedgie
Total solar eclipse 21 August
Eradicating exotic pests with ‘infertility genes’
Australians we shouldn’t have forgotten
Cyclists and motorists aren’t equal
Manage your relationship with your phone
Another subscription – for science nerds – Science Daily
Photos   (and…unprotected MAMIL..)

Outlook from the Outhouse –  incl. WormFaxNSW for July

WormFax is now up on the DPI website: http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/about-us/publications/wormfax.  WormFax is a monthly summary of sheep worm egg counts for NSW from the DPI (Menangle) and Invetus (Armidale) labs. Many thanks to both these labs.

Worm egg counts (sheep/NSW) have generally trended down as winter has progressed, but still there were some WormTests with average egg counts up to 2000 or so. (And, as a rule of thumb, there will be individual sheep with counts up to 2-4 times the mean for a WormTest).

You can never take your eye off the ball: you have to keep getting the basics right. Two of these are regular worm egg counts, and checking that the drenches you use are effective. An all-encompassing ‘basic’: read and follow Your Program. Here endeth the sermon.


Rainfall 1st march - 15 awst 20170815.drought_1

For some areas in northern NSW and Queensland, the rainfall received in the period 1 March – 15 August is only above average due to very heavy falls in March.

rainfall 3 months may-july 17


Timely advice on pre-lambing drenches

In this month’s ParaBoss Feature Articles:


Of course, if you are already subscribed to ParaBoss News, you would have seen this article. Subscribe here: https://www.paraboss.com.au/news.php

NSW DPI research boosts lamb production by 20%


Thinking more broadly, the grazing system outlined may help with sheep worm control as well. Grazing management is part of integrated worm management, and we know that it is particularly effective against Haemonchus contortus – barber’s pole worm – because its eggs are viable on pasture for only 5 days or so. (The system Haemonchus loves most is set stocking. In this ‘system’, when the conditions are right, there are more likely to be viable eggs on pasture, ready to go).

More info: http://www.wormboss.com.au/tests-tools/management-tools/grazing-management.php

Impact of targeted anthelmintic treatment of cattle on dung fauna


Cooke, AS, Morgan, ER & Dungait, JA, 2017, ‘Modelling the impact of targeted anthelmintic treatment of cattle on dung fauna’. Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology.


    Abstract The insecticidal properties of many anthelmintics pose a risk to dung fauna, through the effects of drug residues in dung on the activity, oviposition and development of dung-dwelling invertebrates. Reductions in dung fauna numbers can inhibit dung degradation, which may impact biodiversity and nutrient cycling on farms. A simulation model was created to predict the impact of antiparasitic drugs on cattle dung fauna, and calibrated using published data on the dung-breeding fly Scathophaga stercoraria. This model was then tested under different effective dung drug concentrations (EC) and proportions of treated cattle (PT) to determine the impact under different application regimens. EC accounted for 12.9% of the observed variation in S. stercoraria population size, whilst PT accounted for 54.9%. The model outputs indicate that the tendency within veterinary medicine for targeted selective treatments (TST), in order to attenuate selection for drug resistance in parasite populations, will decrease the negative impacts of treatments on dung fauna populations by providing population refugia. This provides novel evidence for the benefits of TST regimens on local food webs, relative to whole-herd treatments. The model outputs were used to create a risk graph for stakeholders to use to estimate risk of anthelminthic toxicity to dung fauna.
    (Alas, I have only seen the abstract).

Strategic cultivation can alleviate soil stratification


‘Interesting article (by Bob Freebairn, former DPI Agronomist) for a non-agronome like me.

Work by: Helen Burns, Mark Norton and Peter Tyndall (NSW Primary Industries Department) conducted the study and Grains Research and Development Corporation helped fund it.

Quolls are so cool! (as are wedgies, espec. when they take down drones) – Dr Ballard et al


Pics and article in The Land. Source(s): Dr Guy Ballard (NSW DPI) and colleagues.

The cannister in the foreground (of the pic below) is a lure cannister containing chicken necks.
 ‘..Nature, red in tooth and claw…’  Alfred Lord Tennyson
quoll and wedgie

Photo credit: Dr G Ballard (NSW DPI), Trent Forge and colleagues.

Comment from Guy Ballard: ” You might have seen our camera trap image, of a quoll and wedge tailed eagle facing-off, doing the rounds on social media recently.

It’s from a long-term monitoring site where we are studying the impacts of wild dog and fox control on predators, prey and plants.

NSW DPI leads the collaborative project with UNE, including PhD student Trent Forge, and the National Parks & Wildlife Service.

The quoll exited the field of view quickly after this image was taken, pursued closely by the eagle.”


According to wiki, ‘the largest wingspan ever verified for an eagle was for (a wedge-tailed eagle) … (2.84 m (9’4″))…but eight or nine other eagle species regularly outweigh it..’ Quite a mouthful for a quoll.

Total solar eclipse 21 August


Eclipse science according to xkcd: https://xkcd.com/1877/

Eradicating exotic pests with ‘infertility genes’


‘TRADITIONAL methods of invasive species control could be replaced by ‘gene drive’ technology in the future, in which populations of pest animals inherit a ‘negative gene’, such as one causing sterility.’ Article by Kristy Moroney, 16 Aug 2017, citing  Dr Thomas Prowse and colleagues, University of Adelaide.

Australians we shouldn’t have forgotten

Opinion piece at ABC by Ben Pobje


Doubtless there are others. One springs to mind: the late Ron Clarke.  Most Australians might recall he was some sort of runner. Or that his brother captained Essendon.

But most would not know he was one of the all time greats (17 world records), even though he never won Olympic Gold. (However, Emil Zatopek, out of admiration for Clarke, gave him one of his). Ironically Europeans in general had a greater appreciation of Clarke’s athletic achievements than did those ‘down under’. Most of us, at least currently, remember Betty Cuthbert.

And consider the Australian aboriginal who was likely faster than Usain Bolt. (The book [ISBN-13: 978-0733623912] is not so much a dig at Bolt as at the hubris of modern humans).

Then there are the everyday unsung heroes* : they are all around us.    *gender inclusive

Cyclists and motorists aren’t equal

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-17/cyclists-and-motorists-arent-equal-on-the-road-the-conversation/8813706      Interesting article.

Parental advisory: this is not about MAMILs (middle-aged men in lycra).

Manage your relationship with your phone

http://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2017-08-12/how-to-better-manage-your-relationship-with-your-phone/8784384    (There should be an app for this…)

Another subscription – for science nerds – Science Daily

As if you didn’t have already have information overload, here is another possible subscription for science nerds:  https://www.sciencedaily.com/newsletters.htm

But, as always, trust, but verify. Science is done by humans. Or, as Prof Richard D Feinman says: Habeas corpus datorum – show me the (body of the) evidence.

(Habeas corpus… (Medieval) Latin for “that you have the body.”… the writ of habeas corpus was to allow a court to determine if detention of a prisoner was legally valid…  first originated back in 1215, through the 39th clause of the Magna Carta signed by King John, which provided “No man shall be arrested or imprisoned…except by the lawful judgment of his peers and by the law of the land,”   Source here. )


ABC Open: http://preview.tinyurl.com/yapns53h



SL, Armidale  17 August 2017

e&oe   Conflicts of interest: zero


Unprotected MAMIL

MAMIL-skoda-half size https skoda-wlc.s3.amazonaws.com

Source: https://goo.gl/images/HPuKdR    (At least he is out having a go… (cf couch potatoes/armchair critics…))