Australia's resource for control of worms, flies and lice in sheep, and worms in goats
Duddingtonia flagrans fungi preying on a nematode larva. Source: Brock University Wiki Server
There’s more than one way to catch a worm
Imagine using soil-dwelling fungi to provide worm control. These fungi naturally exist and form complex webs in faeces, which ‘catch’ larvae and prevent them emerging onto pasture. Unfortunately, the natural level of these nematode-consuming fungi is too low to be useful. When fungal spores were fed to sheep in one trial, they reduced the number of infective larvae emerging from sheep faeces by over 90%, but their effectiveness has been variable. Fungal ‘spores’ would need to be fed to livestock to provide the necessary effectiveness, but there isn’t a product available, although there’s been plenty of science. It's a tantalising prospect for the future with some considerable challenges to overcome.
State Outlooks for May 2017
Given the moist and warm autumn conditions over much of the sheep-rearing regions, worms are expected to continue to increase in numbers until mid-winter, with monitoring for flies, lice and liver fluke remaining appropriate. Many regions are preparing low worm-risk paddocks for either the spring lambing season, or weaning.
Many farmers have been surprised by significant parasite burdens in pre-lambing ewes. Weaners are also at risk. Flies are still very active in some areas and reports of lice infested flocks are starting to come through.