The ParaBoss Worm Egg Count Quality Assurance (WEC QA) Program certifies worm egg count (WEC) providers that meet prescribed accuracy and precision standards, and is the only program of its type in Australia.
All businesses or individuals that provide paid or free WEC services for sheep, goats, cattle, camelids and horses (i.e., strongyle worm egg counts) or who undertake large numbers of on-farm WECs for these species, are encouraged to participate annually.
Producers should use ParaBoss Certified WEC Providers to achieve accurate and precise worm egg counts for
- optimum drench timing to minimise lost productivity, animal welfare impacts, and drenching costs
- correct ranking of livestock measured for resistance to worms
- correct assessment of the effectiveness of drenches
The certification process is rigorous and involves operators conducting egg counts on a series of duplicated samples sent to participating operators across Australia. Their results are then analysed for accuracy and variability against set criteria.
About 60% of businesses meet the criteria and become certified immediately. A further 20–30% that have minor issues can become certified if they can fulfil further requirements. About 5% of participants have major issues making them ineligible for certification.
NEW REGISTRATIONS OPEN 1 JUNE 2023
All WEC providers should participate, whether services are free or paid
This is the only independent program in Australia to benchmark WEC results and provide assistance and recognition.
Businesses that satisfy the standards will:
- Be certified by ParaBoss for one year.
- Receive a free listing on the WormBoss Service Providers page.
- Be promoted as a group via ParaBoss News, the WormBoss website, and in industry newsletters such as AWI Beyond the Bale and MLA Feedback.
- Be recommended by ParaBoss staff in response to enquiries for WEC services.
- All laboratories, veterinarians, livestock merchandise/stock agents and individuals who do worm egg counts as a paid or complimentary service to others.
- Any individual producers who do their own worm egg counts and who wish to ensure they are achieving accurate results.
- Those doing larger numbers of counts for their property are encouraged to participate.
- Those doing infrequent, small numbers of counts on farm may simply like to do annual comparison counts with a ParaBoss Certified laboratory.
- Find a ParaBoss Certified WEC provider
- The samples will be sent out in winter each year.
- Dispatch date for 2023 is 17 July with most arriving 2 to 7 days later.
- Generally only one sample send out will occur annually due to the significant preparation and freighting logistics. See details below of how samples will be prepared.
- Due to the preparation and packing process we use, samples last 3 weeks from dispatch if they are immediately refrigerated on arrival.
Each registration costs $350 plus $20 per operator, GST inclusive.
- Each registration is for one business (not an individual person).
- The single business must either be at one location or at locations close enough to share the samples with a short car trip (not by post).
- The same business, operating at different, more distant locations (e.g. interstate) must register separately, as they will require their own sample set.
- Each registration receives a single set of samples, and each sample within the set will contain enough faeces for the number of operators participating.
- For certification, all operators at a business should participate each year. Operator names are not required at registration; only when results are submitted.
Certification is for one year only.
Refunds may be provided if cancellation occurs before samples are sent; see the Refund section.
Of note: The ParaBoss Program is NOT able to provide a refund if sample packages are delayed or lost by Australia Post. This is a risk the participant must bear.
The program operates on a user pays basis for the participating laboratories and operators, but with fees set as low as possible to cover our costs.
- Once per year (in winter), participants will take part in a "round-robin" trial—they will be sent 13 samples (everyone receives the same 13 samples), on which they will conduct worm egg counts.
- Participants provide their results back for analysis via their WEC QA online account.
- Participants with results within the accepted range for both accuracy (mean worm egg count) and precision (variance ratio) will receive ParaBoss certification as a WEC provider.
- Those whose results are outside the accepted range will be provided contacts and an introduction to ParaBoss-endorsed laboratories or individuals who can offer training opportunities (this will be at the cost of the participant).
- Those with only minor issues will have an opportunity to meet further criteria to allow them to be certified.
- Those with major issues will not be certified in the current round.
Each business will receive
- Access to their own WEC QA online account. This includes learning resources about worm egg counts as well as an online data entry form for your results, and your report will also be displayed here.
- A sample set with 13 jars of homogenised faeces, each of varying worm egg count.
Each jar will contain enough of that sample for all registered operators (at least 3 grams of faeces per operator) (e.g. 5 operators x 3 g = 15 grams in one jar, plus some extra).
If greater than 3 g per operator is required (e.g. FECPAK, Parasight, Mini Flotac processes), please specify this in the registration process (there is no added cost for larger samples).
- Instruction and recording sheets are included with the samples.
In 2022 we moved to a different sample preparation process and dispatch time.
The difference overcomes a number of previous issues.
In past programs, worm-free faeces was used with egg solution added and was carried out in October to match supply of faeces from a separate program.
The new process uses high egg count faeces from artificially infected sheep that is diluted/mixed further with worm-free faeces as required to achieve the desired levels of worm eggs. A single large batch is created for each sample that then undergoes an extremely thorough homogenisation process to ensure minimum variation between samples sent to each business.
The new process has been thoroughly tested with reference laboratories to confirm its suitability, and was a great success in its first year, 2022.
Particular benefits are:
- Operators will no longer need to modify their process for individual samples at all.
- Businesses with multiple operators will have much more flexibility for the time when each operator does their tests.
- The mixing and dilution ability of the one operator (who previously did this for everyone) is no longer a factor in everyone’s results.
Register and pay
- When the registration opens, register and pay before the closng date:
- Previous businesses should open their existing account - DO NOT create a new account. If you cannot open your account, contact email@example.com.
- New businesses should create a new online account.
- Registration will close 2–3 weeks prior to sample dispatch to enable us to prepare all the post satchels and choose enough sheep for faecal collection.
Receive and chill samples
- Samples will be express-posted with Australia Post to all businesses on the same day (a Monday). They should arrive in 2 to 8 days depending on your location. You will be provided with a tracking number.
- On receiving samples they should be immediately refrigerated, but not frozen.
- Your online account will provide all the details required to participate, and further printed instructions and recording sheets are included with the samples.
- Every operator must prepare each of the 13 samples themselves, from weighing, diluting and mixing their subsample through slide preparation to counting the eggs and calculating their eggs per gram of faeces results.
- You have the flexibility to carry out the tests anytime over the next few days to a week. Operators can test on different days to each other and can stagger their own 13 tests over more than one day. The samples are robust, but should be kept in the refrigerator except for the short time each operator removes their subsamples.
- There must be no sharing of mixed faeces/salt solution or prepared slides (it is obvious from your results if you do this, and you will not be certified).
- Use your normal process for individual counts. However, you should review your methodology in advance (use the online resources provided once you register and pay).
- Upload your results through your online account by the nominated time (11 days after sample dispatch). With multiple operators, data upload can be done by one person, but they should then be printed and checked by each operator.
Await analysis and reports
- Results from all businesses must be uploaded before we can start the analysis, because the analysis uses a "consensus mean" calculated from a subset of operators with a proven track record.
- We first check all of your data for various types of errors (e.g. your epg does not match your eggs counted by your multiplication factor), which requires us to contact businesses with errors, to correct these, before running the analysis.
- We then review the automated results, make any adjustments and then prepare all of the individual reports.
- Reports will be provided in your online account about 6 weeks after the sample dispatch. You will be notified by email when they are ready.
Become certified if criteria is met
- Businesses whose results satisfy the program criteria will be certified.
- Certified businesses who have provided permission to do so will have their contact details provided to the ParaBoss website managers, who will update the Find an advisor listings within a few weeks.
- For businesses not satisfying the program criteria:
- Those with only minor issues will have an opportunity to meet further criteria to allow them to be certified. This will include them reviewing the online resources and their own protocols and responding.
- Those with major issues will not be certified in the current round.
- For those requiring further training or self-auditing, we will also provide introductions to appropriate certified laboratories or selected operators to allow you to gain further advice and/or training. Such further advice/training would be at your own cost.
Recommendation for new participants
- If you have not participated previously we recommend that you thoroughly review your process and conduct a self-audit well before the next round.
- Sample production is carried out for ParaBoss by the University of New England, Armidale, under the direction of Dr Deborah Maxwell.
- Data analysis methodology has been provided by Andrew van Burgel, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia, Albany.
- The online participant and data management, analysis and reporting website and its functionality has been developed by Graeme Wright, Wrightway Design.
Registration and payment opens
Registration and payment closes
Dispatch of samples from ARMIDALE NSW
Samples arrive at your lab
2–7 *days later
Submit your WEC results to ParaBoss by
Confidential reports available to participants
Listing in WormBoss Service Providers Page updated
Businesses who do not upload their data on time will delay all subsequent steps for every business.
Samples are sent by Australia Post.
Once the samples are dispatched we have no control over them.
- Payments are made to the University of New England, and any refunds will be issued by them.
- A refund, minus a $20 administration fee, will be provided if it is requested by Thursday 13 July 2023, before samples are collected
- No refunds will be provided from 14 July onwards.
- The program cannot take responsibility for delayed/lost sample packages. As such a refund will not be available if parcels are delayed or lost by Australia Post. This is a risk the participant must bear., however, the samples are quite robust and have demonstrated their ability to last at least 11 days without refrigeration, due to the preparation process where air is excluded from the samples.
To request a refund, please email the manager.
Our new sample preparation and packing process and winter send-out provides multi-operator laboratories with much more flexibility with test time. Samples generally arrive 2–7 days after dispatch and must be refrigerated, but not frozen, on arrival.
- Complete testing by 10 days after sample dispatch and record results by the 11th day. Contact us in advance to discuss the possibiity of doing your testing up to a week later.
- EVERY operator must prepare EACH sample from scratch including weighing, mixing, diluting, preparing slides and counting eggs. In the previous rounds, each sample was mixed by one person, and then all operators took subsamples. THIS MUST NO LONGER BE DONE.
- Enough faeces will be in each sample jar for all operators to prepare their samples from scratch.
- Each operator can prepare their samples at different times to their other operators.
- Each operator can prepare their 13 samples across a number of days.
- Multiple operators do NOT have to do them at the same time anymore.
- Once a sample is diluted with salt solution it should be counted within 30 minutes, but definitely no later than 60 minutes as eggs will be starting to break apart and your results will be inaccurate. Initial dilutions with water only do NOT need to be counted straight away.
- Keep the sample jar refrigerated except for a short time when each operator is removing enough faeces for their own WEC preparation.
- If interruption is possible, avoid preparing multiple samples at once.
- Do not underestimate the time it will take to conduct the counts.