Ticks - the Spring Rise

By Brian Tessmann, QDO President

Those in the dairy industry know that as spring arrives, so does tick season. Industry will be monitoring the quantity and scale of tick outbreaks to judge the worth or otherwise of the new Biosecurity Legislation.

From the 1st of July the new Queensland Biosecurity Legislation and regulations changed the position of the tick line by dividing it into two categories, free and infested zones. It gave more power to government to manage ticks while also increasing the individual farmers’ responsibility as well. The trade off in changing the tick line regrettably was that some were left in a zone they did not wish to be in and individually did not deserve to be in.

The test as to whether the changes were worth all the upset will be whether or not there are less tick outbreaks across the line in the tick free zone and how quickly the existing tick outbreaks in the free zone are cleaned up. If matters do not improve or, if God forbid things get worse, it can only the result of poor legislation or poor implementation by the government department.

As anyone with ticks should know, the warmer and somewhat wetter spring weather brings increased tick numbers and it will soon be very obvious where new tick outbreaks are. Importantly everyone connected to the cattle industries now has a bio security obligation not to infect others with cattle tick or allow ticks to spread and in the free zone.

Landholders must not get infected with ticks and must eradicate the ticks if they become infected. It is essential that anyone cleaning up or controlling ticks in free or infested country get their programme underway by the 1st of October and remain informed and vigilant on the progress of their programme.

While excuses abound as to why ticks spread or why they have not been cleaned up range from acaraside resistance to red deer, almost always the actual animals at fault are Homo sapiens. It is vital both farmers and government meet their responsibility and obligation to manage cattle ticks.