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New South Wales worm update - August 2012


Lachlan LHPA

Eliz Braddon, Young. (

Most tests this month relate to pregnant or lactating ewe mobs. The average faecal egg count for these was 582epg. The worm species have been Trichostrongylus (Black Scour worm) and Haemonchus (Barber’s Pole worm) vying for the most popular! Young sheep (lambs and weaners) have generally had a higher average count coming in at 925epg.

The main point to take home is that most producers should be aware that worm activity has not stopped over these cool frosty months. Many mobs will probably require drenching again at this point to avoid production losses at best and deaths in the more severe infestations.

For those producers that had heavy Haemonchus activity last summer, they will need to be very vigilant as the weather warms up as larvae become even more active on pasture and eggs start hatching as well. A key to controlling these worms will be knowing what drenches are effective and also having the ability to clean up pastures to put sheep onto. 

Belinda Edmonstone, Forbes (

In the central area of the Lachlan LHPA average faecal egg counts for the month of July have ranged from 0-2000epg with individual counts ranging from 0-6360epg. We continue to see internal parasite as the major cause of loss of production and deaths across the area. Scour worms are beginning to dominate the larval culture results however we are still seeing issues with Barber’s Pole worm.

Moving into spring producers need to monitor their flocks closely as the weather warms and if moisture remains barber pole worm will start building up numbers on pastures.

Tablelands LHPA

Bill Johnson, Goulburn, (

Worms have been a hot topic around here for more than a year. Amidst all the talk there has also been plenty of action. More producers have done more worm egg counts to monitor the health of sheep, as well as to check on the effectiveness of drenches; and there has been plenty of thought given to selection of lambing paddocks. The widespread losses of ewes during and after lambing in 2011 have so far largely been avoided, despite recently high counts of Black Scour worms and residual problems from Barber’s Pole worms in a few flocks.

Some mobs of Merino weaners are showing the combined effects of poor quality pasture and high scour worm burdens, and have tended to be overlooked in all the activity of lambing and marking.

Of major concern has been resurgence in liver fluke. Fluke snails disappeared as springs and creeks dried up during the drought, and there was no need to drench for fluke, even on some properties where fluke had been a persistent problem. Serious and sudden losses have occurred in several flocks this month where sheep have grazed country prone to flooding.

In all cases, river and creek flats had been under water several times in the past two years, and often had slowly drying pools of water as flooding receded.

It is worth considering a fluke drench this month, before the weather warms up enough for snails to resume breeding, for sheep in paddocks where fluke have previously caused trouble. Alternatively, submit samples for testing from sheep that have grazed risky paddocks, remembering that fluke eggs only appear in sheep dung three months after infecting the sheep.

Jim McDonald, LHPA DV, Yass (

The Yass District is experiencing a very cold, harsh winter. Feed quantity and quality is falling which impacts on sheep production and the animals natural ability to cope with parasite burdens. Now is a crucial time to monitor young sheep or ewes and lambs which have not had the benefit of long acting drench treatments.

Weaners which have only been drenched with short-acting preparations have worm egg counts which are typically high for this time of year. These counts range from 40-1240epg, averaging 550epg. In the Yass District, weaners typically ‘crash’ in August/September so don’t take your eye off then for at least 6 weeks. In the knowledge of the amount of contamination present, preparations for weaning this year’s lambs should be in the planning phase regarding paddock selection, preparation and sourcing appropriate drench products - whether short acting oral, longer acting injection or capsules.

Due to the pasture contamination that is present on most farms and if only short acting products have been used pre-lambing, consideration should be given to drenching both ewes and lambs at lamb marking. In the previous 2 years, some producers have run in to trouble with both ewes and lambs 6-8 weeks after pre-lamb treatment.

Regarding worm types present - in the southern areas Trichs are the main worm species accounting for 70-80% of larval diff tests, but in the northern areas around Crookwell, Barber’s Pole is still making up a large chunk of the worm species, with one holding having a larval diff of 100% BPW.

We now look forward to a little more rain and a lot more warmth.

Riverina LHPA

Gabe Morrice, Narrandera (

Very few WormTest results received over the past month. One WormTest received showed high levels of Nematodirus in undrenched weaner lambs. Other WormTests seen have had low numbers of worm eggs present. One clinical case in weaned lambs that seemed to be rapid reinfestation relating to being grazed over heavily contaminated pastures. The lambs displayed ill thrift and scouring as well as some deaths.

Producers are reminded to drench weaners with an effective drench. This year would be a good year to conduct drench resistance tests in lambs just prior to weaning to work out the best drenches to use.

Colin Peake, Hay (

Only 1 WormTest in the last month, which had a zero egg count. No reported clinical cases either.

Very quiet in the Western Riverina.

Spring will be here soon, producers need to be on guard.

Dan Salmon, Riverina (

A few interesting worm issues in the south.

One producer did a WormTest on his ewes just after lambing to see if they needed any help. Half his samples were 0 or 40epg while the other half ranged from 160-1260epg. No type as yet.

An autopsy on a 5yo ewe for an unrelated cause had apparently masses of Teladorsagia in the Abomasum. Total worm count was only 4000 but even that is unusual in a mature ewe in good body condition on good feed.

Otherwise, very little by way of testing or reports of clinical disease.


Ian Masters, Gundagai (

Worms in sheep continue to be the major animal health issue in this part of the world. There has been a large jump in FEC’s in mobs monitored this month. Average counts of 600-1000epg are common in weaners. It’s an ideal season to do some drench testing.

A few on the go at the moment with a surprisingly high Haemonchus count in a lot of autumn born lambs (up to 70% in some flocks). Lambs in these flocks can look good with minimal scouring, so BPW contributing to high counts but not causing obvious symptoms at this stage. Also seeing this in some ewe flocks monitored this month, so monitoring post weaning is advised.
Trichs seem to dominate counts in the colder high rainfall parts of the district. I did see one case where lambs dropped out during muster for weaning. Good to fat condition but a fair % scouring and affected lambs were anaemic with a high FEC. Probably a mixed burden with good % of BPW.

In extreme cases there have been some flocks with heavy lamb and ewe losses caused by worms. Wormy ewes are not milking and undernourished lambs are forced to forage early. Reinfestation has been a problem. Sheep drenched but going back onto contaminated paddocks with very poor pasture growth due to cold conditions. There are obviously major worm management issues on these places that need to be addressed. In conclusion, young sheep are fully loaded, so effective drenching at weaning and good paddocks to wean onto will be essential to avoid problems this spring.

South East LHPA

Bob Templeton, Braidwood (
Black Scour worm is now increasing across the boards on the southern tablelands.

There are still some pockets of Barber’s Pole worm hanging on but these may have been a carryover from autumn or the occurrence of resistance to the drenches used. Spring has arrived despite the snow last week. The Daffodils are out!

Central West LHPA

Evelyn Walker, LHPA DV, Dubbo (

Black Scour worms are still around, but the Barber’s Pole worm is getting an early spring start.

In the last week, have seen good conditioned Merino ewes go down with Barber’s Pole worm. No signs of bottle jaw were seen. Instead, the only evidence was pale gums and massive numbers of mature Barber’s Pole worms in the abomasum. On this particular property, the last drench given was in April. This is an important reminder to us all to start worm testing now. See where your egg counts are at. And, if indicated by your egg counts, drench. Speak to your local District Vet if you have questions about interpreting your WormTest results

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