Producers’ perspectives on worm control

04 January 2016

A recent survey of Australian goat producers completed by Leah Brunt, a final year veterinary science student at Charles Sturt University, sheds light on worm control in goats.

Eighty eight goat producers completed the survey, with a range of enterprise sizes and types represented. The survey, completed in 2014, confirmed the importance of worm control for many Australian goat enterprises, including:

  • 90% of surveyed Australian goat producers thought worms were a problem for the Australian goat industry.
  • 73% of the surveyed Australian goat producers thought that worms had caused production losses or health impacts for their goats some time between 2008 and 2013.
  • 51% of the surveyed Australian goat producers believed that worm resistance to treatments is a problem in Australia.

“Research completed around the world shows, without doubt, that worms can seriously affect goats,” said Leah Brunt.

“Our survey highlighted the risks for Australian producers and we also began to investigate current worm control practices in the Australian goat industry.”

The surveyed goat producers treated goats for worms on average 2.5 times during 2013. More than 20% of respondents treated four times in that year and some producers treated their goats for worms six times or more per year.

“It is not sustainable to simply rely on chemical treatments for worm control in goats,” Leah said.

“Goat producers need to utilise a coordinated package of chemical and non-chemical control options to maximise the productivity and sustainability of their businesses.”

There are also limited choices in worm treatments registered for use on goats in Australia and some producers are tempted to use products only registered for sheep or cattle to try to control worms. Without accompanying veterinary advice, this is illegal and has potentially serious efficacy, safety and meat residue implications for the whole goat industry.

MLA recently expanded the survey work to investigate case studies about producers who are effectively and sustainably controlling worms in their goats. These case studies will serve to assist other producers in developing their worm control strategies.

More than 70% of the survey respondents nominated using at least some non-chemical control strategies to help with their worm control and more than 70% had done some worm egg count testing for their goats.

“Goats are browsers so nutrition and grazing management can be very effective tools in assisting worm control,” Leah said.

“We are very interested in talking to producers who are utilising non-chemical strategies to improve their worm control and hope to build an updated package of tools to help effectively and sustainably control worms in goats in the future.”

Further information

For more information or if you are interested in discussing your current goat worm control strategies, contact Leah Brunt or Dr Rob Woodgate at Charles Sturt University T: 02 6933 4905 or rwoodgate@csu.edu.au

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