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Title: Australian surveys on parasite control in sheep between 2003 and 2019 reveal marked regional variation and increasing utilisation of online resources and on-farm biosecurity practices
Contributor(s): Colvin, Alison Frances  (author)orcid ; Reeve, Ian  (author); Thompson, Lyndal Joy (author); Kahn, Lewis Phillip  (author)orcid ; Walkden-Brown, Stephen William  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2021-07
DOI: 10.1016/j.vprsr.2021.100614
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Australian Wool Innovation Limited (AWI) commissioned three cross-sectional surveys of sheep producers' sheep parasite control practices over a 15-year period from 2003 to 2018. The aims were to document current sheep parasite incidence and control practices, to measure change in sheep parasite control practices over time and to inform extension messages for sheep industry advisors and sheep farmers. The surveys were conducted in 2004, 2012 and 2019 measuring sheep parasite control practices in the years 2003, 2011 and 2018. The surveys focused on incidence and control of the three major sheep parasite groups; gastrointestinal nematodes, blowflies and lice. The 2003 and 2011 surveys were paper-based and the 2018 survey was accessed via a link to an online survey. This article is the first in a series of four presenting the results of the three surveys and will cover methods, demographics, production systems and general parasite management. Response rates to the surveys declined each year from the peak response rate in 2003 (n = 1365 in 2003; n = 575 in 2011 and n = 354 in 2018). Mean reported rainfall was significantly lower in 2018 (407 mm) than in 2003 (611 mm) and 2011 (650 mm). The demographics of the respondents and their production systems were largely similar between the three surveys for respondent age, median property size, income from wool and sheep meat, proportion of the property area cropped, median sheep dry sheep equivalent (DSEs), ewes as a proportion of the total flock and median cattle DSEs. Month of weaning was more likely to be in summer months for summer dominant rainfall areas and spring for intermediate and winter dominant rainfall areas. There was a marked increase in the proportion of respondents asking for an animal health history when introducing sheep to their flock from 2011 (9%) to 2018 (65%). Similarly, a greater proportion of respondents isolated introduced sheep for at least 2 weeks in 2018 (82%) compared with 2011 (19%). However, there was a decrease in the use of a quarantine lice treatment for introduced sheep from 2011 (50%) to 2018 (21%). Farmers rated themselves, other farmers or member of their staff as most important sources of information on parasite control in both 2011 and 2018. There was a significant increase in the proportion of respondents visiting the ParaBoss suite of websites from 2011 to 2018 confirming their growing importance for information delivery and decision support.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Veterinary Parasitology. Regional Studies and Reports, v.25, p. 1-8
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Place of Publication: Netherlands
ISSN: 2405-9390
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 300304 Animal protection (incl. pests and pathogens)
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 100413 Sheep for wool
100412 Sheep for meat
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Appears in Collections:Institute for Rural Futures
Journal Article
School of Environmental and Rural Science

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