Commercial flocks needed for sheep lice trial

Commercial sheep flocks needed for sheep lice trial

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File photo: Rachael Webb.

File photo: Rachael Webb.

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A large scale field trial is set to get underway to develop a new sheep lice treatment under commercial conditions.

Sheep body lice are thought to cost sheep producers up to $125 million per year with a range of chemicals available for use but some carry withholding periods or are unavailable for use on ewes or lambs.

Eurofins Animal Health are currently involved in a new program that will evaluate new products against natural sheep body lice (Bovicola ovis) infestations in commercial flocks.

EAH production animal research manager Ry Evans said the lice products to be assessed had demonstrated strong efficacy against B.ovis infestations during preliminary trials under controlled pen conditions.

But commercial producers were needed to participate in upcoming field trials to assess the effectiveness of the treatments.

"The programs will consist of a series of trials to be conducted across the high-rainfall, wheat-sheep and pastoral zones," he said.

"This will enable producers from a range of geographical locations to participate, with trial designs to suit a range of production cycles and commercial operations."

Trial sites will be selected based on suitability criteria and the availability of mobs with lice infestation issues.

The treatment will be supplied and managed by EAH for each participating site, all sheep in the trial mob will be treated and remain on-farm under routine management for the duration of the trial.

EAH staff will undertake lice counts and coordinate with the operations of producers to assess the product's performance.

Cooperating producers will be offered incentives for their participation but their involvement will have much larger benefits to the industry.

Those producers interested in being involved in the program are encouraged to contact EAH for further information.

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