Current small stock tick control practices and producer attitudes towards tick control in the eastern Cape Province of South Africa are discussed. These were ascertained from returns to a questionnaire survey to which 31,2% of farmers polled, responded.
In general, producers did not favour an intensive tick control policy for small stock. Angora, mutton
and wool farmers had a definite preference for synthetic pyrethroid acaricides, the majority treating either less than 6 times p.a. or between 11-15 times p.a. Most producers changed acaricides because of price. All small stock producers favoured plunge dip application of acaricides while the majority of wool sheep and Angora producers utilized footbath application as a second preference. Mutton producers favoured pour-on and hand spray application as a second choice. Producers who used plunge dip application techniques experienced the highest percentage of confirmed acaricide resistance which is in accordance with application preference. The general incidence of confirmed acaricide resistance, however, was of a low order but highest amongst mutton farmers. An average cost for acaricide treatment of R1,65 per small stock unit p.a. was calculated from data gained
in this survey. Only a small number of producers used the available heartwater vaccine. Small stock mortalities experienced by producers per production unit indicated higher mortalities at high acaricidal treatment frequencies. Farmers allowing a small number of ticks to infest their sheep experienced fewer mortalities due to heartwater than those than kept their sheep free of ticks. Angora goat farmers experienced the same, but with higher mortalities, probably due to the apparently high susceptibility of Angora goats
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