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Lifting the limits imposed by worms on sheep meat production

The impact of gastrointestinal nematode parasites (worms) represents the highest animal health cost to the Australian sheep industry.  At the same time, the endemic nature of anthelmintic resistance and its increasing severity highlights future risks for the industry.  Integrated regional worm control programs have been tested and developed for Merino sheep enterprises but surprisingly, little attention has been paid to worm control in sheep meat systems. The primary objective of the work conducted during this project was to develop and evaluate integrated worm control programs for meat sheep systems which delivered the following benefits:

  • Improved animal welfare with reduced worm-related adult mortality.
  • Increased sheep meat production as a result of reduced parasitism and mortality.
  • Elimination of unnecessary drench treatments leading to a reduction in drench treatment frequency and reduced selection pressure for development of drench resistance.
  • Increased annual gross margin returns

Development of the worm control programs occurred in four geographical regions of eastern Australia, from the Northern Tablelands, NSW to the winter rainfall zone in Victoria. The project covered the years 2012-2015 and was conducted on 17 commercial sheep properties. The experimental design allowed evaluation of integrated (Lifting the Limits; LTL) and regionally-typical (TYP) worm control programs by reference against the performance of worm suppressed twin-bearing ewes and prime lambs.  Industry engagement was facilitated by formation of industry advisory groups within each region with the purpose of reviewing progress and improving industry adoption of project outcomes.


Title Size Date published
2.4MB 15/10/2015


Contract No. Title Start date End date Funding type
Lifting the limits imposed by worms on sheep meat production
01/09/2011 01/10/2015

This page was last updated on 23/08/2017

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