ParaBoss WEC QA Program


Update 25 August 2020:     The 2020 round of the ParaBoss WEC QA Program has been cancelled due to foreseeable freight delays. The program relies on swift transport of perishable samples across Australia within a 5-day period. This was successfully achieved with Australia Post in the 2019 main round with all samples arriving at their nominated address by Friday, after being prepared and then sent in eskies with freezer bricks on the Monday afternoon.

Australia Post is still warning of continuing and unpredictable freight delays, which are unlikely to improve by our planned October send-out. Our samples would likely take one to two weeks for delivery, in which time freezer bricks thaw and eggs hatch.

We have recently trialled methods to prevent the eggs from hatching so soon (formalin and air exclusion). These have failed to maintain acceptable egg counts.

ParaBoss apologises for any inconvenience this causes to businesses hoping to participate this year. The 2019 results will remain published for a further year. We hope that some normality will return by this time next year to recommence the program.

Producers using worm egg counting services are still urged to use WEC providers who have proven their accuracy in the 2019 round. Find them listed here.


About the WEC QA Program

The ParaBoss WEC QA Program for worm egg count (WEC) providers tests the accuracy of their work.

It will assist providers to maintain quality procedures and ParaBoss will endorse those delivering accurate services.

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 demonstrated the accuracy of their work is available on the WormBoss Professional Service Providers pages.

The program will continue to be promoted in the ParaBoss News,
subscribe to receive ongoing updates.

(an alert will be sent out via the ParaBoss News system to notify when registration is open)

Further information:

Do you provide a worm egg counting service, whether paid or complimentary?

WormBoss strongly recommends the use of worm testing, testing drench efficacy and breeding worm resistant stock, all which require worm egg counts.

ParaBoss receives numerous enquiries regarding WEC providers, but have no way of endorsing any providers. Providers have expressed their dismay that there is no scheme for them to demonstrate their proficiency.

ParaBoss WEC QA Program

  • The program will involve an annual "round robin" trial in October each year to assist WEC providers to check the quality of their testing and to receive assistance if required.
  • Providers who satisfy the testing QA program will be endorsed and promoted to sheep, goat and cattle producers nationally.
  • Supplementary rounds may also be run.

Who is this for?

  • For 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 (planned for October), participants will take part on a "round-robin" trial—they will be sent a number of samples of knnown 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 have the opportunity to approach ParaBoss-endorsed laboratories or individuals to review their worm egg counting procedures, and be able to undertake a follow up assessment.

When will the testing occur?

  • The samples will generally be sent out in October each year. This coincides with our supply labortory having the sheep to supply samples (note field samples are not used).  The plan is for only one sample send out annually due to the large preparation and freighting logistics and high cost involved. See details below of how samples will be prepared. 

What will it cost?

2020 charges (program now cancelled for 2020 due to COVID-related freight delays)

NSW, VIC, TAS, SA, QLD, NT (to a single location)

  • First set of samples: $350 
  • Each extra set of samples: $30
  • Cost for each Operator:  $20

WA (to a single location)

  • First set of samples: $300 
  • Each extra set of samples: $30
  • Cost for each Operator:  $20

(WA cheaper due to lower freight costs)

See information below regarding how our samples will be prepared.

What are the benefits?

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


  • Be "endorsed" by ParaBoss and WormBoss.
  • Receive a free listing on the WormBoss Service Providers page (all current listings for WEC providers will be removed when this program commences).
  • Ongoing promotion to sheep, goat, camelid and cattle producers (via ParaBoss News, WormBoss website, industry newsletters such as AWI Beyond the Bale and MLA Feedback and in the rural press).
  • Recommendation of endorsed providers in response to enquiries received by WormBoss.

Further information:

Sample Preparation 

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

  • The program is managed by Dr Brown Besier (now retired from DPIRD, WA)
  • The  Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, WA, (DPIRD WA) at Albany, managed by Jill Lyon, 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. (These sheep are also used to prepare the Barbervax vaccine).
  • Statistician, Andrew Van Burgel (DPIRD WA) is the data analyst.


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 sheep.
  • The eggs are taken from sheep with a high worm burden, the 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 faeces and egg solution are then measured into sample containers.
  • 13 samples are prepared for each participant with various worm egg counts in them.

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 has been shown in the previous program to not affect the counts.

Samples will be freighted on a Monday to arrive no later than Friday of the same week. 

ParaBoss will advise all participants 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 fairly high freight cost—higher to eastern states than WA.

What participants will need to do

  • Register and pay for the program through the link (this will open in August each year and close 3 weeks prior to sample send out).
  • 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.
  • Receive samples and carry out the worm egg counts.
  • Return your results.
  • 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 requested this.
  • Anyone not satisfying the requirements will be provided with a report describing the likely reasons for inaccurate results. We will also provide you with contacts and introductions at major laboratories to allow you to gain further advice and or training. Such further advice/training would be at your own cost. Special arrangements will be made for follow up testing (again at your cost).

2020 Schedule


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