Controlling cattle ticks is an ongoing and challenging battle facing many Australian cattle producers each year. The parasites can significantly reduce cattle live-weight gain and milk production. It can also transmit 3 blood-borne tick fever organisms, which cause sickness and death in cattle. To maintain herd health, correct and early tick identification and ongoing tick management is vital.
Effective tick management
An effective tick management program should include the following steps:
- Choosing the right chemical active for your needs and planning the rotation of these activities.
- Using the right facilities or application method.
- Planning the timing of the treatment.
- Knowing your animal and paddock contamination.
- Knowing your market, such as when you need to sell or move cattle.
- Knowing that some treatments can reduce the efficacy of others if not used correctly.
What are the key issues when treating cattle tick?
The key issues when treating cattle tick can be complex and a few things need to be considered before treatment can occur. These include:
- Chemical resistance – resistance can occur when dips and sprays with a particular active ingredient have been overused or not used in a rotation program, and are no longer effective in eradicating ticks and other parasites.
- Using slower acting, but longer lasting chemicals that rely on the ticks feeding off the blood of the animal (i.e. ML – ‘mectin’ based products and Fluazuron applications). This control can take more time to be effective compared to other application methods.
- Recontamination of clean cattle can easily occur, especially if the male tick moves from animal to animal and does not ingest as much blood infected with the chemical base.
- Timing of the treatment. Treating cattle with long-acting chemicals when tick numbers are low can have a significant effect on the breeding cycle of the ticks and reduce numbers when the tick burden increases.
Female ticks are prolific breeders
The life cycle of a tick involves both stages on the animal and in the paddock. You may visibly only see a few ticks on your herd, but many immature ticks are unseen on the animal or in the pasture. The female tick is a prolific breeder, with the capacity to lay up to 3000 eggs in one cycle. Failure to take into account tick numbers within the paddock can lead to poor tick control. Good planning and effective use of treatments can lead to greater results in clearing ticks from your herd.
Avoiding chemical resistance in ticks through rotation
The key to more successful results in clearing cattle tick is to avoid chemical resistance. This can be achieved by rotating the chemical active ingredient used. This is different to just changing brands however. Producers need to ensure the active ingredient is different and regularly alternated.
There are a number of chemical ingredients used in cattle dips, sprays & drenches. Ivermectin (CattlePro, Paramax, Ivomec, Ausmectin, Cattlemax, Starmec LV), Abamectin (Paramectin), Doramectin (Dectomax), Fluazuron (TickPro, and TickPro Duo, Acatak & Acatak Duostar), Moxidectin (Cydectin, Moximax, Cattleguard), Diazinon (Dip & Spray), Chlorfenvinphos (Supona) Cypermethrin/Chlorfenvinphos (Barricade S Cattle Dip & Spray), Flumethrin (Bayticol), Amitraz ( Dipa-Tik, Taktic EC & WP) & Ethion / Deltamethrin (Tixafly).
Rotating chemical ingredients, which is different to changing brand names, as well as taking into account treatment times, will result in less resistance and better herd clearance management.
Discuss your options with us
This is a lot to take in, so if you’re not sure of the best rotation plan to avoid chemical resistance in your cattle when treating tick, contact Specialist Sales today to discuss your options.
Specialist Sales stock all these active ingredients in branded and generic products and we have qualified staff who can support your understanding of chemical resistance. Our website has detailed product information, explaining the different chemicals, dosage rates, withholding periods, and re-treatment intervals.