Act now to control cattle tick

WITH spring just around the corner, the Animal Health Alliance advises producers in cattle tick infested areas of northern NSW to treat their stock for cattle tick now to help control the parasite right through spring and summer.

Cattle ticks are estimated to cost Australian farmers $146 million a year, making them the single most economically important tick affecting livestock.

Chief executive officer of the Alliance Dr Peter Holdsworth said following the outbreak of cattle tick fever in Quirindi in May, it was important for farmers to remain vigilant as the weather warms up heading into spring.

“NSW has an ongoing cattle tick control program and currently only a small area of the far north coast is affected. However, the cattle tick is widely distributed throughout Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia,” Dr Holdsworth said.

“The cattle tick is a single host tick, meaning it spends most of its life on the one beast.

“Cattle ticks latch on to cattle and other livestock from spring onwards and have the potential to multiply quickly. The female tick stays on the animal until it matures and falls off to lay around 1000 eggs at a time.

“If left untreated, the cattle tick can significantly reduce live weight gain in beef cattle and milk production in dairy cattle. But more seriously, the ticks transmit blood diseases, such as tick fever, that can spread quickly and rapidly kill infected cattle,” he said.

Quarantine regulations apply to stock movements, including horses and other livestock, across the Queensland border.

Livestock coming from inside Queensland’s tick line must be treated for cattle tick before they enter NSW, and must be checked for ticks by inspectors from NSW Department Primary Industries (DPI).

Dr Holdsworth said in addition to quarantine regulations, stock owners in northern NSW can use a number of strategies to protect their herd against cattle tick.

“External parasiticides can be applied by dipping or spraying cattle during the spring months, but resistance can be a major issue so strategic rotation of chemicals is important,” he said.

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