Cattle tick treatments should happen now – 5 tips to plan your approach

Did you know that a single female cattle tick lays up to 3000 eggs leading to rapid contamination of pasture and new infestations for your cattle?

Cattle tick remains the most significant pest of cattle in Australia and right now with some warmth and moisture, tick numbers are rapidly increasing. Dr Matthew Ball – Technical Veterinarian with Virbac Australia has been involved in cattle tick control for over a decade – not just in QLD but also NSW, New Caledonia and even Papua New Guinea. Here are his top five tips to beat cattle ticks this season.

Dr Matthew Ball Technical Veterinarian, Virbac Australia
Dr Matthew Ball Technical Veterinarian, Virbac Australia
  1. Start your treatments early

    Control cattle tick in Spring while numbers are starting to rise so that you prevent many future generations of ticks from contaminating your paddocks in Summer and Autumn.

  2. Fight that tick lifecycle for longer

    During Spring to early Summer use tick chemicals multiple times at the label re-treatment intervals to suppress ticks for at least 100 days.

    If you are treating just once or twice with short acting products you will remove some ticks from the cattle but have minimal impact on overall tick numbers in your paddock. Instead use Cydectin injection three-four times 28 days apart OR Cydectin Pour-On four-five times 21 days apart. With a Taktic plunge dip or spray cattle are treated five times 21 days apart. This type of approach will actually reduce tick numbers on your farm, allow a long break from treatment over summer and has been proven to be the most effective for productivity.

  3. Sweep your paddocks clean with strategic use of Cydectin Long Acting Injection for Cattle (LA)

    Cydectin LA kills ticks for longer than any other registered product in Australia. For at least 65 days after treatment no ticks will be able to lay viable eggs on your pasture. With a single injection you are treating both the animals and the paddock. A popular and highly effective strategy is to use this product in mobs of steers or heifers maintained at a moderate to high stocking rate in a known contaminated paddock. For 100 day paddock tick suppression the same group of animals can be repeat treated with Cydectin LA 56 days later or another group of young animals can be treated and rotated into the paddock. These younger cattle ‘sweep’ the paddock clean for later use by cows and calves.

    The strategy can be repeated in multiple paddocks to clean the farm up, increase productivity and reduce overall reliance on chemicals.

  4. Make best use of local dip facilities

    A plunge dip filled with an effective chemical is the best way to rapidly clear cattle infested with tick.

    While Cydectin is a potent and persistent choice for tick control, amitraz application as in Taktic provides a fast way to ‘clear’ cattle because it paralyses the mouthparts of the tick without the need for them to take a blood meal. Best practice tick control programs combine the use of Cydectin and Taktic. For example, those with a plunge dip can use Taktic 60-70 days after use of Cydectin LA to extend their program with a different chemical class. The plunge dip may also be used as the main control method in adult beef cattle while productivity gains are made by using Cydectin LA in the younger cattle. In lactating dairy cows use of a spray race with Taktic in rotation with Cydectin Pour- On delivers a more sustainable program than relying on one chemical alone.

    Unfortunately many properties no longer have easy access to plunge dips or spray races and will need to rely on injectable tick control. However to ensure the best chance of clearing cattle for movement those without a plunge dip are advised to administer Cydectin Injection on farm and then seven days later transport cattle to a plunge facility for amitraz application a few days BEFORE inspection of cattle.

    Australian Cattle

  5. Know what chemicals are effective

    Chemical resistance can be a problem in tick control. Older chemicals such as organophosphates and synthetic pyrethroids are often not reliable. There is also resistance on some properties to amitraz but with a break in use and introducing alternative chemicals reversion to effectiveness can often occur with this important tick chemical. Fluazuron is an insect growth regulator and is one of the newer actives but resistance is developing to this chemical in Queensland. Cydectin LA provides more reliable persistence in a tick program.

    There has been no resistance detected to Cydectin in Australian cattle ticks. If you are uncertain which chemicals are working on your property, are seeing fully engorged ticks three days after use of a tick product or are observing shortened protection with use of fluazuron it is best to collect and submit ticks for resistance testing. Local animal health advisors, biosecurity officers or Virbac staff can give advice on testing ticks.

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