Making More from Sheep Australian Wool Innovation Limited Meat & Livestock Australia
MODULE 2: Market Focused Wool Production
Tool 2.6
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It is desirable for the wool industry to use chemicals in a more targeted way to control external parasites (lice and blowflies) to:

  • Maximise the cost-effectiveness of treatments for lice and blowflies
  • Minimise the environmental consequences of chemical treatments on-farm
  • Minimise any harmful impacts of chemicals on farm workers
  • Ensure wool is suitable to be sold into any residue-sensitive market (including its eligibility for EU Eco-label certification)
  • Ensure sheepmeat will not contain chemical residues that could affect its suitability for safe human consumption
  • Ensure sheepmeat for export adheres to current export slaughter interval standards of the purchasing country.

Minimising on-farm chemical use

More targeted chemical management starts with looking for opportunities to use chemicals as little as possible.

Download the Chemical Management Checklist (76 KB)

Integrated Parasite Management – sheep (IPM-s)

Chemical and non-chemical options can be combined in an approach called ‘Integrated Parasite Management’ (IPM). An IPM system still includes the use of chemicals, but they are used selectively and as infrequently as possible instead of being the first and most frequently used option.

See procedure 11.2 in Healthy and Contented Sheep and visit the AWI IPM-s web page for guidelines for managing sheep parasites in winter-dominant, summer-dominant and Mediterranean rainfall zones: http://www.wool.com/Grow.htm and look for Integrated Pest Management under the Animal Health tab.

Chemical application

Correct application of the most appropriate pesticide is needed to effectively eradicate or control the targeted pest in a safe manner for the sheep, operators and the environment and to meet meat and wool withholding periods.

To achieve this, read labels closely (and the material safety data sheet, if necessary) and take care with preparation and dispensing of the pesticide. Ensure correct calibration of the delivery tools and apply product with effective equipment to well-prepared and contained sheep.

Eradicating lice requires correct treatment – if only a few lice survive, the population will build up again over a period of months and re-treatment will be required. Unfortunately, getting it right is a challenge and eradication of lice often takes several years, even when managed by careful operators. Many labels, especially those on older wet dip products, are complicated and confusing. Also, many dipping facilities on farms are in poor condition and do not do an effective job.

Seek advice from the chemical company, your contract dipper or vet if directions are not clear. If a wet dip is preferred, using a reputable contract dipper is often the best approach.