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Integrated Parasite Management

The increasing incidence of chemical resistance detected in pest populations has led to a new way to target internal and external parasites.  Integrated pest management (IPM) is a method of controlling parasites in a population of animals by using a combination of chemical and non-chemical methods. IPM approaches have been in use for some time to control pests in cropping and horticultural systems and have been successfully used to manage the risk of chemical resistance and improve overall pest control outcomes.  Non-chemical methods to combat internal parasites in livestock species includes providing “safe pastures” for young, vulnerable stock (such as weaners), and ensuring adequate nutrition so that stock can develop immunity to these parasites. The use of treatment thresholds below which treatment is not undertaken is also a key strategy in IPM.

Safe pastures are those pastures that have a low level of larval pasture contamination.  Preparation of safe pastures requires good planning so that young stock can be rotated onto a new pasture every few months.  These pastures can be prepared in a number of ways, including spelling paddocks over a hot, dry season, cropping cereals, hay and silage production, rotational grazing (short-term spelling) and alternating grazing pastures between sheep and cattle.  All of these methods have different levels of effectiveness, but the ultimate goal is to minimise the larval challenge to younger stock.

Worm egg counts (WECs) are a useful way of determining whether production losses may be occurring in livestock associated with worms. Use of chemicals to control internal parasites should be carried out after undertaking WECs to determine whether a need for a drench exists, and a drench that is known to be effective on the worm population should be used.  The most appropriate way to determine which is the best drench to use on your property and if you have any existing resistance among the worms on your farm is to conduct a Faecal Egg Count Reduction Test (FECRT).  Additionally, the correct dose and the correct method of administration should be used for any drench.  Timing of drenches throughout the year vary from region to region.  Contact your local Zoetis Professional Sales representative or your local advisor for information regarding the best time

IPM can also be used to help control external parasite and pest populations, including buffalo fly and cattle tick.  Examples of this include utilising dung beetles to break down faecal pats to reduce the eggs laid by fly populations, the use of a specialised fly trap to remove buffalo flies from cattle by exploiting the natural behaviour of the flies to move towards light, and the detection of natural predators or diseases (viruses and fungi, for example) which can be used to reduce the pest population.  Breeding hardier populations of animals – such as breeding sheep with a bare breech to combat fly strike – is a long term solution.  Other methods include monitoring pest populations and only using chemical methods of control when economic losses are occurring, as well as rotating the active chemicals used to slow the development of resistant populations.

By reducing a reliance on chemicals, the long term effectiveness of these chemicals can be sustained as well as reducing the risk of residues.

For more information on IPM, please contact your local advisor, your state DPI or Zoetis.

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