Meghan Cornelius, Department of Agriculture & Food, Katanning (WA)

Meghan Cornelius
Meghan Cornelius



Targeted treatment could reduce drench resistance

New strategies for targeted treatment to control scour worms in adult sheep are being developed in order to avoid drench resistance.

Murdoch University (WA) post-graduate student Meghan Cornelius said the approach has the potential to prolong the effectiveness of chemical products before resistance develops, and help reduce the cost and effort of drenching.

About Meghan Cornelius

Meghan is part-way through her PhD research, with her findings so far showing that adult sheep with higher body condition scores of approximately 3+ (1 being extremely lean and 5 carrying excessive fat) are able to tolerate moderate worm burdens and are less likely to require drenching than animals in poor condition.

“Depending on the degree of severity of worm burdens, producers may be able to leave those sheep with the higher condition scores in the flock without treatment, which will reduce the development of drench resistance, and also minimise input costs and save valuable time for farmers,” Meghan said.

“However,  the lower condition score sheep in the flock (under 3) should still be drenched, as we believe they are less resilient and more likely to be adversely affected as a result of scour worm burdens.”

When she is not focusing on her PhD research program, Meghan is applying some of her research knowledge to her role as the Department of Agriculture and Food WA (DAFWA) sheep genetics extension officer.

Take Home Messages

  • Adult sheep with higher condition scores (3+) are more likely to tolerate scour worm burdens than low condition score sheep.

  • Producers may be able to avoid drenching higher condition score sheep , to help reduce the development of drench resistance

  • Targeting summer drenches to low condition score sheep will also reduce the time and cost of drenching.

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