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Community & Business

11 June, 2021

New product rubs out parasites

A NEW product targeting parasite control in beef and dairy cattle and all other domesticated farm animals has the rural industry talking and more importantly, opening their wallets to try it within their own enterprises around Queensland and interstate.


Maree and Alan Thomsett of Fly-Gone, Homebush, helped Bub Dixon of "Payne's Lagoon" Station, Charters Towers, take delivery of her new back-rubber at the FNQ Field Days Mareeba recently

BY SALLY TURLEY 

A NEW product targeting parasite control in beef and dairy cattle and all other domesticated farm animals has the rural industry talking and more importantly, opening their wallets to try it within their own enterprises around Queensland and interstate. 

Meat and Livestock Australia estimated the combined, on-farm cost to the northern cattle industry from cattle ticks and buffalo flies to be in excess of $244 million a year for control costs and lost production. 

Necessity is the mother of invention and Homebush cattle producers Alan and Maree Thomsett of Aldaree Cattle Company, needed a solution. 

Alan was working away at Coppabella mine, leaving Maree to manage their two properties largely on her own and parasites were becoming an increasing issue.

“We had cattle going down with three day throughout summer and with me away a lot of the time, we had to work out a convenient and effective control method that would be easy for Maree to handle on her own,” Mr Thomsett said. 

"We had an idea for a modified back-rubber and started work on it a couple of years ago. It took about three or four months to nut it out to a stage where we were happy with it for our own use, then we saw that a lot of people on Facebook were also having trouble with fly and decided it might be worth sharing our design with them. 

“The reaction to 'Fly-Gone' has been amazing. Once we decided to share our product online, the orders have just kept coming in. We just started locally and made 6 sales on the first day. Everyone is loving them and over 300 units have sold since December.” 

The Fly-Gone has several advantages over the traditional back-rubber, primarily better suitability for use during northern summers, traditionally the wettest period of the season and the time of the most prolific parasitic infestations. 

Unlike other back-rubbers, the Fly-Gone is water proof as the rain just runs off the container and it doesn't penetrate the wicks, so the insecticide is not diluted by rain. 

The units can be hung in a tree or anywhere out in the paddock, without need for a lick shed for protection.

“The curtain effect of the design means the entire beast's face, body and legs are treated by contact with the vertical wicks and animals of any size or height can use it. It will work for goats, llamas, sheep and horses and will treat mosquitoes, mites, lice, ringworm and even Queensland itch on horses,” said Mr Thomsett.

“The 20 litre reservoir enables 1 unit to treat up to 100 head of cattle and once full, we have been getting full coverage on animals for 4-6 weeks in between refills, which can be done comfortably at ground level. 

“Operators can use a range of dips, but we recommend "Organic Cattle Coat," an Australian product with no with holding period for meat or milk, which is sold in all rural stores. 

“Cattle Coat has a pleasant, citronella smell and we find cattle adapt to it fairly quickly, usually within 24-48 hours. If animals are proving a little reluctant, some of the wicks can be tied up out of the way until they familiarise themselves with it.” 

Once familiar, animals will use the device as required, and because of its design, Fly-Gone is unlikely to be knocked down or jumped on, even by less domesticated stock. 

The unit can be pre-charged in the shed and if it is left to hang and drip down the wicks for around 12 hours before being taken out, it will be operational on set up in the paddock, saving time on a follow up trip.

Fly-Gone has become so successful, that the Thomsetts no longer need to work off farm, but instead have set up a workshop behind their house and spend a lot of their working hours building up product to meet the ever-growing demand.

Alan and Maree have spent a lot of time on the road this year, attending field days in Bundaberg, Beef Week, Rockhampton, the FNQ Field Days, Mareeba, the Charters Towers Beef Expo and they will be at the Richmond Field Days later this week.

The Fly-Gone back rubbers have sold throughout Queensland and the Northern Territory, down into New South Wales, Adelaide and Victoria to a mix of dairy, beef, goat, llama and sheep enterprises.

Mr Thomsett said they carried the necessary supplies to restock wicks, but that customers should get at least a two year lifespan out of the originals. 

The Thomsetts recently added to their product range with the design of a flat-pack, bolt together, movable trailer that would be ideal for a cell grazing operation.  


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