ParaBoss WEC QA Program

The ParaBoss Worm Egg Count Quality Assurance Program allows worm egg count (WEC) providers to demonstrate the accuracy and precision of their service and be endorsed by ParaBoss if they meet the prescribed standards.

Inaccurate worm egg counts can result in producers missing the optimum drench time: too late and there will be lost productivity and animal welfare impacts; too early and drenching costs are not justified.

In the inaugural 2019 round of testing, 70% of participants were within the accepted limits, but 30% returned results that were too low, too high or too variable. 

A list of WEC providers that successfully met the ParaBoss standards is available on the WormBoss Professional Service Providers pages.

REGISTRATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED FOR THE 2021 ROUND

All WEC providers should participate, whether services are free or paid

What are the benefits?

  • This is the only independent program in Australia to benchmark WEC results and provide assistance and recognition.

Those who satisfy the standards will:

  • Be "endorsed" by ParaBoss.
  • 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.

Who can participate?

  • All laboratories, veterinarians, livestock merchandise/stock agents and individuals who do worm egg counts as a paid or complimentary service to others.
  • Any individuals who do their own worm egg counts and who wish to ensure they are achieving accurate results.
  • View the WormBoss Professional Service Providers pages

What is involved?

  • Once per year (generally October), participants will take part in a "round-robin" trial—they will be sent 13 samples of known worm egg counts, on which they will conduct worm egg counts.
  • Participants provide their results back for analysis.
  • Participants with results within the accepted range will receive ParaBoss endorsement 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).

What is the cost?

NSW, VIC, TAS, SA, QLD, NT

  • The first set of samples: $350
  • Each operator: $20
  • If a second set of samples is required: $30
    (e.g. for a larger number of staff, or conducting the WECs by different staff on separate days)

WA*

  • The first set of samples: $300
  • Each operator: $20
  • If a second set of samples is required: $30
    (e.g. for a larger number of staff, or conducting the WECs by different staff on separate days)

Prices are GST Inclusive.

*WA is a lower price than other states due to much lower freight costs, reduced packaging size and ice bricks required, as the samples are dispatched from the DPIRD laboratory in Albany.

A full refund will be provided if the program is cancelled.

How often does testing occur?

  • The samples will generally be sent out in October each year.
  • 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. 

What will participants need to do?

  • Register (create an online account once the registration opens on 1 September 2021) and pay for the program through the link (registration will close 22 September 2021).
  • You will be provided with all the details required to participate. This includes a document providing standard operating procedures for doing worm egg counts, allowing you to review your process in advance. However, you should use your normal test procedure as far as possible.
  • Receive samples and carry out the worm egg counts.
  • Upload your results through your online account.
  • Reports will be provided about 1–2 months later. 
  • Those whose results satisfy the requirements will have their contact details added to the WormBoss provider page if they have provide permission to do so.
  • Anyone not satisfying the requirements will be provided with the likely reasons for inaccurate results. We will also provide introductions at major laboratories to allow you to gain further advice and or training. Such further advice/training would be at your own cost. 

2021 program schedule

Action

Date

Registration and payment open

1 September

Registration and payment closes

24 September

Dispatch of samples from Albany WA

4 October

 

Samples arrive at your lab

2–7 *days later 

Submit your WEC results to ParaBoss by

15 October

Confidential reports available to participants

12 November

Listing in WormBoss Service Providers Page updated

26 November

 

* Samples are sent by courier in WA and by Australia Post to other states.

Once the samples are dispatched we have no control over them.

A test send-out to rural locations in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland on Monday 13 September saw 6 parcels arrive by Friday of the same week and the 7th arrive on Monday 14th. 

How are the samples prepared?

ParaBoss has been fortunate to gain the  expertise of the key staff and laboratory that ran a previous program for some years.

  • The  Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, WA, (DPIRD WA) at Albany, is the sample supply laboratory.
    This laboratory has a suitable supply of clean and worm-infected sheep at the time required, which greatly reduces the costs for participants. 

SAMPLES ARE NOT SIMPLY TAKEN FROM WORMY SHEEP AND SENT TO YOU.

Considerable analysis by eminent parasitologists originally determined a process to eliminate as much variation as possible.

  • The faecal component of the samples are taken from worm-free housed sheep.
  • A large volume of faecal samples are collected from sheep artificially infected with Haemonchus contortus.
  • The worm eggs are then extracted from those samples to provide a purified solution of eggs.
  • This is measured to assess the quantity of eggs per millilitre of solution.
  • Specific amounts of worm-free faeces and egg solution are then measured into sample containers.
  • 13 samples are prepared for each participant with various worm egg counts in them.
  • All of these processes with sheep are done under animal ethics approval.

The samples are packed into eskies with ice bricks to keep the samples cool during the trip to each participant.
The hotter months have been avoided for this reason. Some embryonation may occur on the longer journeys, but this does not affect results, as shown in the previous program.

Samples will be freighted on a Monday to arrive, ideally, by Friday of the same week. 

ParaBoss will post the schedule a month in advance of the date samples will be sent.

We are obliged to freight with a UN3373 categorisation of biological samples. This categorisation and the express freighting results in a high freight cost—higher to eastern states than WA.