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Saleyards on notice as
sheep lice numbers rise
By CARLA WIESE-SMITH
ANIMAL health professionals are con-
cerned about the increasing numbers
of lousy sheep arriving at saleyards
across the state.
In particular, the number of affected clean-
skin sheep has prompted them to call for
greater awareness and education about the
Senior animal health officer Chris van
Dissel said that since June 1, Biosecurity SA
staff had reported 26 lice detections across
the state's saleyards.
Of these, 11 cases had been in cleanskin
"Given these breeds make up less than 20
per cent of what is presented at the saleyards,
there is an obvious issue in the cleanskin
industry," Mr van Dissel said.
He said there was a perception among
many producers that cleanskin sheep did not
"So they're not going to be checking and
treating them," Mr van Dissel said.
"People need to realise that cleanskin sheep
do get lice and check them, especially if
they are planning to put them through the
Biosecurity SA officers inspect about 95pc
of the markets across the state for NLIS com-
pliance, lice, footrot, OJD and exotic diseases.
If lice are detected in a consignment, there
is a fine of $375 across the board.
"As an animal health officer, I'd much
rather be called out to a property before a sale
to inspect sheep for the presence of lice than
have to call the vendor after a sale and inform
them they've got a fine," Mr van Dissel said.
He said farmers with cleanskin sheep
should not be complacent when it came to
sheep lice and should always check sheep
before sending them to market to avoid
getting a fine.
"If you notice something at home, call your
agent or PIRSA and we can advise on how to
effectively treat them," he said.
Perception cleanskin sheep not lice affected
$375 fine for infected sheep at saleyards
Effective treatment remains issue
a first for SA
CLEANSKIN sheep are becoming increas-
ingly popular in SA, mainly because of
their easy management.
But these ovines -- which do not neces-
sarily carry much, if any, fleece -- are just
as susceptible to parasites such as lice.
Adelaide University honours student
Megan Jaeschke (pictured) has set out
to discover if there are effective treat-
ments on the market to eradicate lice in
"There's a big perception that these
breeds are lice resistant, but they do
grow wool and shed so there is a pos-
sibility the lice can live in those tufts of
wool," she said.
Ms Jaeschke's project -- the first of its
sort in SA -- is based at the university's
Roseworthy Campus and will examine 72
lice-affected Dorper sheep sourced from
The trial is being supported by funding
from the SA Sheep Advisory Group and
being overseen by Dr Colin Trengove,
with assistance from Biosecurity SA
"The sheep will be split into groups of
six, with three groups (18 sheep) being
treated by each product as well as three
control groups," Ms Jaeschke said.
"The products being tested are
Coopers Blowfly and Lice, Avenge and
The sheep, which were given their first
treatment on Monday, will be examined
every two weeks to count the number of
Ms Jaeschke's trial will also take her
across the state to examine 50 flocks for
She has already assessed 10 flocks and
has plans to travel to Kangaroo Island
and pastoral areas.
The trial is planned to wrap up in
-- CARLA WIESE-SMITH
Mr van Dissel said another of the reasons
some producers did not treat their cleanskin
sheep was because they were not paid for the
"But there are associated production losses
in cleanskin sheep if they're standing around
scratching all day," he said.
Effective treatment was also an issue: there
were products available not suitable for clean-
skin sheep because they did not have lanolin
on them to spread the product.
But Mr van Dissel said the 'gold standard' for
cleanskin sheep was plunge dipping.
"The right product will eradicate the lice,"
"For those with 100-200 sheep, handjetting
is not such an onerous task as if you had bigger
A research project by Adelaide University
student Megan Jaeschke is looking into effec-
tive lice treatments for cleanskin sheep.
Previous evidence to date suggests that
backliners are not a suitable option, Mr van
BeeAware of pollination
A new website launched last month aims to help
farmers boost productivity of the crops they grow
by optimising honey bee pollination. BeeAware is
the latest honey bee biosecurity initiative developed
by Plant Health Australia (PHA), the coordinator of
the industry-government plant biosecurity partner-
ship in Australia. The site was launched by PHA
chairman Dr Tony Gregson at the Victorian Apiarist
Association Conference in Melbourne on July 8.
According to Rod Turner, PHA's risk management
manager, BeeAware is a comprehensive resource
with a dual purpose. It helps beekeepers to keep
hives healthy and helps farmers to understand the
yield benefits that pollination by honey bees can
bring. Some, but not all, crops depend on pollina-
tion to get good yields of fruit or seeds.
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