Delaying tick control can be costly - Elders Rural Services
herd of brahman cattle

Delaying tick control can be costly

The cattle tick (Rhipicephalus (formerly Boophilus) microplus) is regarded as the most economically important parasite to the Australian cattle industry1.

Heavy cattle tick infestations can cause significant welfare concerns and production losses arising from blood loss, tick worry, hide damage, weight loss and reduced milk production. Cattle ticks are also the vectors of pathogens causing tick fever, illness and even death.

Research has shown that just one tick can reduce weight gain by approximately 1g/ head/ day or milk production by 8.9mL / head/ day2. With an average tick burden of 50 ticks, this equates to 9.12 kg/ head in lost weight gain or 81 litres of lost milk production over a six month period. The high cost of this blood sucking parasite means that tick control should be well-considered by northern Australian producers, where cattle ticks are present.

“It pays to ensure you are implementing the most effective tick control program at the start of the season” said Elanco’s technical services representative Craig Stevenson.

“An early season control program can help to reduce the build-up of tick populations on pastures and cattle before the annual peak. This in turn reduces their total population within the season.”

Mr Stevenson recommends commencing your control program when ticks are first identified at the start of the season. Products registered for the control of cattle tick may be administered either as cattle dips and sprays, pour-ons or injectable products. Acatak™ Duostar is the ideal strategic tick control to prevent the spring rise in cattle ticks.

“Acatak Duostar is a dual-active tickicide that combines the fast-acting knockdown of ivermectin, with the proven long-term protection of fluazuron. Fluazuron is an insect growth regulator that breaks the life cycle of cattle ticks. Immature ticks that ingest fluazuron are unable to moult to the next stage and die, whereas adult ticks that ingest fluazuron lay eggs that don’t hatch. This leads to lower pasture contamination as the number of female adults completing their lifecycle and laying eggs will diminish”, explained Mr Stevenson.

In addition to tick control, Acatak Duostar provides the convenience of controlling roundworms, buffalo flies, lice and mites in a single pour-on dose. Acatak Duostar should be applied in two bands either side of the spine from the shoulder to the rump about 7cm apart.

“Acatak Duostar is best applied using a 30mL Acatak Duostar manual applicator or a Genesis Power Doser™ fitted with a fan spray nozzle (55 psi operating pressure) and dosed to the heaviest animal in the mob.”

“Once applied, the product is not only absorbed through the hide but also absorbed orally when animals groom. Calves that suckle from treated cows will receive fluazuron through the milk, providing the calf with excellent tick control as well” said Mr Stevenson.

It is recommended not to re-treat for at least six weeks after the previous treatment and apply no more than three treatments per tick season.

Resistance to chemical treatments is well recognised for cattle tick. Acatak Duostar has two active ingredients to control ticks, each with a different mode of action. For the time that both actives are above the minimum effective concentration for tick control, ivermectin reduces the chemical resistance selection pressure on fluazuron and vice versa. Where repeat treatment is required within the same season, Acatak Duostar provides some level of rotation between the chemicals that the parasite population is exposed to. For this reason, combination products such as Acatak Duostar should be used in preference to the single actives where possible to help mitigate the risk of resistance developing.

“If you are unsure of your tick resistance status or suspect poor efficacy following chemical treatment, it is important to contact either your local Biosecurity Officer or the chemical manufacturer directly and they can assist with organising for cattle ticks to be tested for their resistance status.”

Note: Always read and follow the label directions. Acatak Duostar is contraindicated for use on pregnant cows within six weeks of calving to avoid handling stress. Meat WHP: 28 days.  Calves which have suckled on treated cows must not be slaughtered less than four months after the last treatment of these cows. Milk WHP: Do not use Acatak Duostar on cattle which are producing or may in the future produce milk for human consumption. ESI: 42 days

Article written by Elenaco for Seasons magazine. 

1. Lane, J. et al. (2015). Priority list of endemic diseases for the red meat industries. Meat & Livestock Australia. Report B.AHE.0010.
2. Jonsson, N.N. et al. (1998). Production effects of cattle tick (Boophilus microplus) infestation of high yielding dairy cows. Vet. Parasitol. 78: 65–77.

Acatak is a trademark of Elanco or its affiliates. Power Doser is a trademark of Genesis Industries (Aust).

Acatak Duostar is available from your local Elders branch

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