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  • Matt Playford

Dawbuts Autumn Newsletter 2018


Wanted – Lousy Sheep!!

Dawbuts conducts clinical research on sheep with lice. From time to time we need to purchase sheep that are already infested with lice so that we can treat them with a new product. If you know of a sheep producer that is willing to sell lousy Merino sheep of any wool length, please let us know. We will check to see if the sheep are suitable by conducting a lice count and biosecurity assessment.


Beef 2018

Beef 2018

Matt and Hilary from Dawbuts will be attending Beef 2018 held at Rockhampton, QLD, 6-12 May. Dawbuts will be showcasing the latest in on-farm parasite diagnostics, FECPAKG2. Be sure to come and visit the Dawbuts and Techion (NZ) teams in the Landmark tent during the show and enter the draw to win your own FECPAKG2 unit and years subscription, worth over $2500!


24 Hour Worm Egg Count Results

Last year Dawbuts began using Express Post for our Reply Paid Worm Egg Count Kit Service. We have seen a huge improvement in the travel time for parcels with overnight parcels coming from NSW and VIC and 2-3 days from SA, WA and regional QLD. This has allowed us to return worm egg counts within 24 hours allowing you to make farm management decisions quicker.



Buiatrics Update

When you first see or hear the word ‘Buiatrics’- what do you think of?

Funny smells, internal organs, drama, Eastern Europe?

For cattle vets, this is a magical word, evoking images of cows, sheep, aeroplanes and beer. It is an invitation to meet with like-minded bovine enthusiasts from all over the world. Because to those who share the passion, Buiatrics refers to the biannual conference held at one of the world’s great cities to examine all aspects of cattle (and sheep) medicine- the World Buiatrics Conference!

I will be representing Dawbuts at the 2018 conference in Sapporo, Japan. This is a bit of a homecoming for me, as Sapporo was our family home for 4 years between 1989 and 1993, when I was a grad student at Hokkaido University. In fact, Sandy and I spent our honeymoon years there and it is the place where our eldest daughter was born. Michi was born in The Angels Hospital in Sapporo and spent her first years of life in the sub-freezing temperatures and massive snowfalls of the capital of Hokkaido, Japan’s northern island. Michi’s name is derived from the ‘do’ character which forms part of the word ‘Hokkaido’. It means ‘the way’ and is the same character that is found in words like ‘Judo’. The alternative reading, sounds much better and it suits our adventurous daughter, who always seems to be finding her own ‘way’ through life.

Keynote speakers at the conference include Australian and international luminaries such as Prof. Mark Stevenson from Melbourne University and Prof. Richard Whittington from the University of Sydney, as well as Prof. Joe Brownlie from the UK who will be looking at the challenge of eradicating BVD from cattle herds. My own presentation is on a study we have recently conducted in Tasmania, in cooperation with colleagues from Smithton Veterinary Clinic and Zoetis – “Using pooled samples and Mini-FLOTAC to assess efficacy of cattle anthelmintics on a 5,000-head heifer-rearing unit in Tasmania, Australia.” *Matthew Charles Playford (1), Craig Dwyer (2), Matthew Izzo (2), Nicole Selwood (1), Andrew Hancock (3), Janina Demeler (1), Phil Jarvie (3) (1.Dawbuts Pty Ltd, 2.Smithton Veterinary Services, 3.Zoetis Australia)


Did you know?

In a study conducted on 6 farms in the New England area of NSW, Merino ewes with worm egg counts of >1200 eggs per gram (epg) had a risk of dying that was 3.5x higher than ewes with a WEC in the 400-800epg range. Other significant risk factors were bodyweight and fat score.

Yes, you read it right. Ewes with high worm egg counts are much more likely to die.

Another good reason to know the worm egg counts of your ewe flocks!!!

Reference G Kelly, L Kahn, S Walkden-Brown (2014) Risk factors for Merino ewe mortality on the Northern Tablelands of NSW. Australian Veterinary Journal 92, 3:58


AWI Worm Egg Count Trial

Dawbuts is about to undertake a new trial funded by Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) testing drench resistance across the country. Australian sheep producers spend an estimated A$93m per year on sheep drenches. However most of the time, they don’t know if the drench is working. One of the reasons why farmers do not drench test is because the traditional test is based on low-sensitivity counts that require a mob average of 300 epg before it can begin. This may be hard to achieve, especially if the sheep are being managed for low worm burdens. The second problem is that leaving sheep until they have higher worm burdens exposes them to the risk of sickness and low production.

Janina McKay, Dawbuts Research Manager, has trialled Mini-FLOTAC for drench testing in sheep in Europe with impressive results, but it is a different story in Australia with big mob sizes, high levels of barber’s pole worm and more advanced drench resistance. This trial covers all of Australia and by this time next year we will be able to analyse how each of the methods performs under real-world conditions. The objective is better worm control for Australian sheep producers and that can only improve both welfare and productivity.

Dawbuts are seeking participants to join this free trial that aims to find an effective and cheap method to test for drench resistance. Participants will receive the laboratory results of the testing. If you want to get involved, send us an email at


Cattle Vets Conference, 3-6 April

Matt travelled to Fremantle for a few days of sunshine and socialising at the Australian Cattle Vets conference held .

The gala dinner was held at Fremantle Prison (pictured below right). Dr. Paul Cusack, channelling his inner Ned Kelly, was lucky to be paroled, not thanks to good behaviour. The Australian Bovine practitioner of the year award was bestowed upon Bega practitioner Dr Peter Alexander. Our congratulations to Peter and Mandy on this highly deserved accolade.

The subject of drench resistance in cattle was discussed at length. Dr. Gareth Kelly (pictured below left) presented trial data from 6 farms around Wagga Wagga that compared growth rates in yearling cattle (starting worm egg count ranging from 90 to 925epg) treated with a single-active mectin injectable or pour-on drench, with those treated with a combination pour-on drench (Eclipse containing abamectin and levamisole). The combination treatment groups had an average 5kg increased weight gain over 90 days. The full paper is available in the ‘Proceedings of the Australian Cattle Veterinarians Conference, Fremantle WA 2018- Kelly, G- Running the risk of convenience- Do pour-on choices increase the risk of drench failure?’.


Dawbuts Schools Program

Camden, NSW is famous throughout the world as the home of the Macarthur family. Pioneer woolgrowers John and Elizabeth Macarthur came to Sydney on the Second Fleet in 1790 and first kept Merino sheep on their small plot ‘Elizabeth Farm’ in Parramatta. They moved to Camden and established ‘Belgenny Farm’ in 1805 and later Camden Park Estate in 1836. Sheep from Camden were taken to all parts of Australia and formed the basis of the Australian wool industry.

The family legacy includes the education of their 7 children, who made important contributions to early Australia’s scientific, agricultural, commercial and social advancement.  Today, many high schools around Camden keep sheep as part of their Agriculture and Primary Industries courses. To encourage young people to consider a career in the sheep industry, Dawbuts provides training, consultancy and laboratory services to local high schools.

Work Experience Georgia Smith of Camden High School completed a work placement as part of her Primary Industries subject for the NSW Higher School’s Certificate.

Working with Agriculture teachers

Matt regularly talks with high school teachers about the care and management of their flocks and gave a talk to the NSW Agriculture Teachers Association on control of worms in sheep. Rick Nieuwenhuis of St Greg’s Cambelltown pictured with the Dawbuts Team (right).

Laboratory services

Dawbuts conducts routine worm egg count monitoring for schools around western Sydney. Dawbuts is happy to support Camden High School in their Agriculture program. Farm manager Geoff Kibblewhite of Camden High School pictured below with Nicole from Dawbuts, and students at St Greg’s Cambelltown using the Dawbuts worm egg test kit to collect samples under the guidance of farm manager Mr. Rick Nieuwenhuis (right).

University of Sydney Veterinary Science Placements

Juliana Yip (below left) and Georgia Gibbs (below right) are currently completing a 15 day Industry Placement at Dawbuts. Both students are in their final year of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Sydney. Juli was born in Toronto, grew up in Hong Kong, and has lived in Australia since beginning her degree. She has a strong interest in parasitology, and completed her university research project on the spectrum of parasites in pet reptiles around Sydney. Georgia is originally from the Northern Beaches of Sydney and is interested in all aspects veterinary medicine, particularly clinical equine and small animal medicine.

Georgia and Juliana Lab

Dates For Your Diary

Plan to visit the Dawbuts Team at one of our upcoming events –

Beef 2018, Rockhampton – 6-12 May 2018, Rockhampton, QLD

Landmark Goulburn Trade Day – 25 May 2018, Goulburn, NSW

Landmark Yass Trade Day – 7 June 2018, Yass, NSW

Ramping Up Repro Gulgong – 7 June 2018, Gulgong, NSW

Contact us for More Info about these events or let us know you will be there too!

LOGO 2017
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