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Online learning: Treatment—Pesticide residues in wool

Pesticide residues are a concern for the environment, people who handle sheep and wool and for the meat trade. There are even some ‘eco-wool’ markets now looking for low residue wool.

Structured reading

For those who like to see all the information and simply read through it in order. Each heading is a link to a page of information—the dot point provides a summary of the page.
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Pesticide residues
An introduction to pesticide residues.

Wool and meat residues
Explanation of residues, their impact and their management.

Question and answer

For those who prefer a problem based approach to learning, answer the following questions.
Each of the questions below links further down the page to the answers.

Questions:

  1. Why do lice treatments have a Sheep Rehandling Interval?
  2. Do lice pesticides tend to adhere to the wool fibre or bind with the wool grease?
  3. What do ESI and WHP refer to?
  4. What does the European Eco-label for Textiles do?
  5. Which pesticides cannot be used to control lice if the wool is to meet EU Eco-label requirements?
  6. What are the key ways to produce low residue wool?

Answers:

You can also click on each question below to go to WormBoss pages with related information.
 

1. Why do lice treatments have a Sheep Rehandling Interval?

Sheep Rehandling Interval is the period between treatment and when the wool or treated sheep can be safely handled without the need for protective clothing. Some products can pose health risks to those handling the sheep for some time after treatment or to those handling the wool shorn from recently treated sheep. If a wool-rehandling period is given on the label, this must be observed to protect those handling the sheep or wool, but may also be required for other wool residue issues.
 

2. Do lice pesticides tend to adhere to the wool fibre or bind with the wool grease?

Most chemicals used to treat external parasites bind to the wool grease rather than the fibre itself. The scouring process removes wool grease and most contaminants at the same time, resulting in contaminated scour effluent and lanolin.

Wool Harvest Interval (WHI) (equivalent to wool withholding period) is the period between treatment and when wool can be harvested to satisfy Australian environmental requirements.
 

3. What do ESI and WHP refer to?

Meat withholding period (WHP) is the time from chemical application to when an animal may be slaughtered for the domestic market. The WHP is mandatory for domestic slaughter and is always on the label.

Export slaughter interval (ESI) is the time from chemical application to when an animal may be slaughtered for export. The ESI may not be on the label, but is required by any abattoir that may export meat. The ESI can be found in the Products list in LiceBoss Tools, on the current version of the National Sheep Vendor Declaration or on the APVMA website.
 

4. What does the European Eco-label for Textiles do?

The European Eco-label for Textiles enables consumers to recognize garments that are made from raw wool (i.e. unscoured or ‘greasy’ wool) that meets residue specifications currently deemed acceptable in terms of environmental impact.
 

5. Which pesticides cannot be used to control lice if the wool is to meet EU Eco-label requirements?

  • SPs must not be used, even off-shears.
  • The IGRs triflumuron and diflubenzuron must not be used, even off-shears.
  • Dicyclanil (e.g. CLiK®) must not be used, except when applied only to the breech at least 6 months before shearing. In this case it may not exceed the residue limit of 2 mg/kg in the fleece. The low dose dicyclanil product (CLiKZiN®) applies only one-quarter of the usual dose of dicyclanil and can be used on the body and breech up to 5 months before shearing.
  • Apart from use as flystrike dressings, organophosphates must not be used within 7 months before shearing, but short wool treatments (applied within 6 weeks of shearing) will not usually exceed the required limits.
     

6. What are the key ways to produce low residue wool?

  • Reduce the need for flystrike chemicals by implementing an integrated control program for flystrike with increased reliance on non-chemical methods
  • Implement a lice biosecurity program to prevent the introduction of lice on strays or purchased sheep and treat only when lice are found.
  • If jetting for protection from flystrike close to shearing or when only a short period of protection is needed, use a chemical with a short residual period,
  • Jet only the most susceptible mobs and only the most susceptible areas,
  • If sheep are purchased without a declaration regarding any previous treatment then their wool should be kept separate at shearing.
  • Wool from sheep that are struck and treated individually should be kept separate at shearing.
  • If lice are found in long wool, consult the Long Wool Tool to determine if a long wool treatment is necessary and which chemicals to use.

 


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