Dawbuts Summer Newsletter 2019
The team at Dawbuts has been very busy lately, and is keen to share what they’ve been up to! From traveling across the world to a number of exciting announcements, get ready for this episode of Dawbuts Summer Newsletter 2019: A newsletter like no other!
This year’s conference of the World Association for the Advancement of Veterinary Parasitology (WAAVP) was held in Madison, Wisconsin USA. Janina, Sandy, and Matt traveled over to fly the flag for Dawbuts. One highlight of the meeting was an update on the WAAVP’s committee to provide guidelines for the conduct of drench resistance tests (Faecal Egg Count reduction Tests), provided by Prof. Ray Kaplan of Georgia.
These insights help us develop our own protocols for drench tests and of course our research programs as we strive to provide cheaper, more convenient, welfare-friendly and rigorous drench tests for our livestock producers.
In other WAAVP highlights, Nicole Lewis of New Jersey Dept. of Ag. reported an invasion of ‘bush ticks’ Haemaphysalis longicornis on sheep initially in NJ in 2015, but historical specimens were found in museum collections dating back to 2010. The tick is now confirmed in 7 states and probably present in 7 more. Spread by livestock, pets, and deer so no chance of containment. Theileria infection was confirmed in a cow in Virginia, but no outbreaks of disease noted. The main concerns in the USA are viruses and spirochaetes that could infect humans. The same tick causes the deadly theileriosis disease in Australian cattle.
Nicola Beesley of Liverpool in the UK reported that 70% of the liver fluke populations they tested were resistant to triclabendazole, the most common product used to treat fluke in both the UK and Australia.
Several researchers including Niclas Hogberg of Uppsala in Sweden reported on research where they used GPS-enabled loggers on calves and lambs to check the effect of worms on animal movements. The consistent theme was that higher worm burdens led to less time spent in productive grazing behaviour.
Whilst in North America, Matt & Sandy took the opportunity to visit friends in Calgary, Alberta, and go horse riding in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
Dawbuts in NZ
Matt was invited to speak at two meetings in New Zealand in October 2019, the Parasite Advisory Day at Invermay, Mosgiel, South Island and the New Zealand Society for Parasitology (NZSP) Annual Conference, held in Dunedin Town Hall.
Parasite Advisory Day
This event was attended by 75 people, mainly livestock vets. The order of the day was to focus on current challenges in livestock parasite control and propose solutions. The session opened with a challenge for technology transfer (including anyone involved in agricultural extension) by David Stevens and Marie Casey of Agresearch. Other speakers included Colin McKay of Elanco, Clive Bingham of Zoetis, Andrew Dowling of PGG Wrightson and Andy Greer & Ben Allot of Lincoln University.
One major difference we noted between the extension efforts of New Zealand compared to Australia was the NZ emphasis on ‘maximising refugia’. Some advisers gave this top priority in their messaging. In Australia we tend to be more conservative, taking each individual region and farm into consideration before looking at a refugia plan.
The delegates also took a tour of the Techion headquarters, in the adjoining lab and offices suite at Invermay (see photo below).
Picture below shows Tim Brown of Techion demonstrating FECPAKG2 research image-scanning to delegates of the Parasite Advisory Day.
This meeting combined both scientific and practitioner-focussed material and highlighted the depth of expertise in the New Zealand parasitological community. Kathryn McRae of Agresearch Invermay detailed the genetic progress being made in the New Zealand sheep flock, using worm egg counts (WEC) for selection. Seer Ikurior of Massey University detailed how movement tracking devices can be used to determine when sheep behaviour is affected by worm burdens, while Ian Scott, also of Massey University explained the species of hookworms infecting NZ dogs, as well as the effect of ivermectin and moxidectin treatment on equine small strongyles. Richard Sides of Boehringer-Ingelheim NZ presented results of a trial that showed primed, capsule-treated ewes on a farm in the Tasman district of the South Island had 10kg higher bodyweights at 75 days post-treatment compared to untreated ewes. Paul Hughes of Taihape Veterinary Services detailed efforts to improve drench efficacy by co-administering two products at once, similar to the approach taken with quarantine drenching in Australia. Otago University researchers presented several fascinating papers on wildlife parasites, including a description of the parasites of little penguins by Jerusha Bennett.
Matt presenting at the NZSP, focussing on drench resistance in Australia, and the advances in methods for drench resistance testing.
The NZSP gala dinner featured delicious Central Otago Pinot Noir and some ‘very sophisticated’ costumes and games. One other feature of being in New Zealand during the Rugby World Cup was that, for a passionate Wallabies fan, they served up a continual onslaught of banter, especially when Matt was the sole gold-jersey wearer in a sea of All Blacks supporters at the Mosgiel Tavern on quarter final night (which incidentally we lost to the England team). After enduring a week’s worth of ‘teabag’ jokes, I had a bit of a wry grin the following weekend when England beat the All Blacks.
Picture shows Wallabies supporter Matt with All Blacks supporter Greg Mirams, CEO of Techion in Dunedin, Oct 2019.
Techion has completed their hardware update with a new Micro-I 100 replacing the original unit. Any Australian customers who are still using the original Micro-I will have a scheduled free upgrade over the next few weeks. The new Micro-I 100 has a range of upgraded features that improve function and accuracy.
Improved camera that takes higher resolution photos
New stacking software that takes 5 images at different levels of the sample and compounds them to a single image
Battery so that it can be used away from a power source
Wifi capability for cordless communication
These changes have enhanced the image quality and user experience. On top of this, the software has been overhauled so that it is now easier to log in and complete tests.
For retailers and commercial providers of FECPAKG2 services, we are now offering free access to a range of educational and logistical resources. Please contact Adriana at Dawbuts for more details.
AWI Project Updates
The Dawbuts lab team, led by Phil Stein, has been working on new, improved methods for conducting drench tests. The project, sponsored by Australian Wool Innovation, aims to determine if drench tests can be made cheaper, more rigorous and enhance animal welfare. So far dozens of drench tests have been completed, involving worm egg counts on over 5,000 head of sheep. Samples have been submitted from co-operators from across Australia. There are still a few spots available so if you know of a farm that needs a drench test, especially in Victoria or Tasmania, please contact Dawbuts now!
Over the past year we have been working on an important research project for Australian Wool Innovation. The objective is to provide better tools for sheep producers to choose rams, based on objective evidence including their Worm Egg Count (WEC). The Australian Sheep Breeding Value for WEC ranks rams for their theoretical ability to throw lambs that have less worms and put less worm eggs in their dung. In practice, rams with negative WEC will be the ones that contribute to more productive farms due to less worms in flocks. This project is nearing completion.
Andrew (left) and Phil (right) working hard in the lab
Adriana (left) and Janina (right) out on field for an AWI-sponsored research project.
MLA/Elders Innovation Project
The article (below) from Meat and Livestock Australia’s ‘Feedback Magazine’, July-August 2019, details the outstanding efforts of Peter Gordon (along with colleagues including QLD Livestock Manager Cameron Wilson) from Elders, along with MLA’s own Ted Parish in transforming extension services to the northern cattle industry. A continual challenge for the livestock industries is ensuring that research outcomes that can benefit the producers ends up in practical form, not just buried in a scientific journal.
The Innovation Project takes complex research findings and delivers them to producers in case studies to assist uptake. Recent case studies include successful management of leucaena for maximising steer growth rates (Stephen & Christine Williams, Dalby QLD) and using exclusion fencing and stock movement control to maximise returns from their cattle herd as well as feral goats (Brent and Teresa Gadsby, Morven QLD).
Out and About in Gippsland
Courtesy of The Australian Dairyfarmer Nov-Dec 2019
Jake Bourne and Nathan Fenby attended the South Gippsland Dairy Expo in September. The two representatives of Zoetis Australia demonstrated how easy it is to take samples from cattle for genomic testing. Nathan has also been monitoring the effectiveness of different drenches on calves in South Gippsland.
Japan Beef Trip
Zoetis Japan sponsored an international forum for beef producers in August 2019, which Matt was invited to attend in the company of Tony Batterham, Beef Feedlot Manager of Apiam, Ben Kidd of Zoetis Feedlot Services and Scott Braund, Farm Manager of Mort & Co. Researchers, managers and practitioners shared fascinating insights into world markets for beef, as well as methods for producing and evaluating product.
Highlights of the trip (apart from sampling the world’s best beef served in various restaurants around Tokyo and Utsunomiya) included farm visits to some of Japan’s most progressive beef producers and a presentation on evaluating marbling scores in Wagyu beef.
Visit From Masaki
Veterinary graduate Dr. Masaki Takehara from the Epidemiology Department of Hokkaido University did prac work experience in our lab in August. Masaki has been working at various farms across Australia, including some time spent with Sally and Hamish Drury of Gulgong. Masaki plans to spend next year doing his Masters in Epidemiology at the Epicentre at Massey University in New Zealand. We wish Masaki all the best for his studies.
Farmer Day at Goulburn & Yass
In July, Phil braved the cold and went to Yass for the annual Farmers Breakfast at Yass Landmark. Matt flew the flag at the annual Goulburn Farmers Day at Landmark Goulburn. It was great to meet some of the farmers who submit samples to the Dawbuts lab, as well as show some appreciation for the wonderful work done by the staff at these two Landmark stores.
Herymath Group Cowra Meeting
This group, founded and led by Bruce Farquharson, has been influential in introducing innovations to NSW farms over the past 5 years. It has also provided encouragement and support for leading sheep producers. The July 2019 meeting, held at Cowra DPI Research Station, took advantage of one of the world’s foremost experts in meat science, Dr. David Hopkins (add pictures), who presented details of the trends in meat from Australian sheep producers and ways of improving quality.
RAMping up Repro Activities Cassilis, Longreach
In September Matt travelled to Cassilis, NSW to conduct another successful ‘RAMping Up Repro’ workshop at Dalkeith Station, in conjunction with AWI Sheep Connect and Zoetis. A magnificent venue in the big woolshed, healthy well-presented Merino rams and a great example of resilience and flexibility in the dry conditions. A big thank you to the crew at Dalkeith for providing the rams and Ian ‘Rosie’ Thompson for organising the day.
NRI Training – Shepperton
Dawbuts spent 2 action-packed days at the NRI training days in central Victoria. Day 1 focussed on sheep, while Day 2 featured diseases and management of cattle.
The trainees, from across NSW, Victoria and South Australia were a very knowledgeable and enthusiastic group. Many thanks to Sam Stringer of NRI for organising and to our local hosts at WB Hunter in Shepparton.
Latest Industry Figures from MLA
Dr. Sarah Goldsmid report (Vet magazine)
The October 2019 issue of ‘Vet Practice’ magazine features an article on Dr. Sarah Goldsmid, specialist surgeon and principal veterinarian at the Animal Referral Hospital. Sarah’s extraordinary skill with the scalpel has enabled cures and brought relief and comfort to thousands of pets and their owners over the past 30 years of her veterinary career.
Western Sydney Development
The construction of the new Western Sydney Airport (Nancy-Bird Walton Airport) at Badgery’s Creek, just north of Camden brings big opportunities for agribusiness. We’ve hosted visits from NSW government, Camden Regional Economic Taskforce and attended meetings including the business breakfast with guest speaker Mr. Sam Sangster, CEO of the Western Sydney Aerotropolis.
Despite the replacement of much of Western Sydney’s farmland with new suburbs, it is encouraging to see the level of interest in future agriculture for the region.