Ticks are a stressor of cattle that can impact animal production and welfare. Their impact is made worse if the animal already deals with other physiological demands, such as pregnancy or lactation.
Traditional management targeted ticks on animals using chemical control. This approach was limited by residues and withholding periods for meat and milk and has rapidly led to increased chemical resistance. Acaricides alone do not offer a permanent solution for tick control. Vaccines have also had limited success. The Bm86 anti-tick vaccine was withdrawn from the Australian market because it required at least 2 doses and a booster to be effective. Current research is underway to develop new anti-tick vaccines but it is unlikely that vaccines will confer total efficacy against ticks.
Therefore, modern management of ticks uses an integrative approach that targets ticks on animals, as well as aiming to reduce seed ticks contaminating pastures. In addition, the choice of breed is important. Choosing breeds that are adapted to the environment (tropical or temperate), and breeds that have a natural resistance to ticks, will maximise the general health of the cattle and reduce the costs of tick control. The following links provide more information on ways to reduce ticks on your property.