A regional model of sheep lice to study the effect on lice prevalence and costs for Australian farms using a range of treatment efficacy in combination with other lice control strategies
Lucas, PG and Horton, BJ and Parsons, D and Carew, AL, A regional model of sheep lice to study the effect on lice prevalence and costs for Australian farms using a range of treatment efficacy in combination with other lice control strategies, Animal Production Science, 57, (9) pp. 1931-1939. ISSN 1836-0939 (2017) [Refereed Article]
Using a previously developed predictive model, three different management practices were examined in combination with post-shearing chemical treatments for lice, to determine which combinations could provide costeffective reductions in lice prevalence over a 20-year period. The model included nine sheep production regions across Australia, all of which have different regional flock prevalence of lice and mean numbers of sheep/property. The lice prevalence model simulated the effects of four management options on Australian lice prevalence and on financial return (expressed as net present value) over a 20-year period. Management options modelled in this study were: treatment for eradication, inspection for lice detection, intervention level, and biosecurity of purchased sheep. The costs and benefits of these management options were calculated on the basis of published data or standard industry costs. Combinations of eradication achieved through treatment and biosecurity of purchased sheep provided the greatest modelled reductions in Australian flock lice prevalence at the lowest cost. With current management practices, lice prevalence was estimated as 16.3% of Australian properties infested and lice costs were estimated at 902 cents per sheep over 20 years. The model estimated that with appropriate management, lice prevalence could be reduced to less than 1.5% of properties infested and costs could be halved to 435 cents per sheep over 20 years. With further development, the modelling described herein offers potential guidance for Australian sheep producers in selecting the most effective and cost-efficient combination of management strategies to reduce lice infestation.