NSW WormBoss Worm Control Programs
NSW WormBoss Drench Decision Guides
Cold, dry weather has seen no significant worm activity in sheep, albeit with few faecal worm egg counts being performed. The dry outlook, the onset of cold weather and dust storms have seen more breeder mobs sold, with approximately 30-40% of stock numbers left in the district, with more destocking to come as summer approaches. Some crops are failing and being grazed or will be baled for hay. Producers are urged to meet the energy and protein requirements of their stock, to improve resilience and resistance to worm burdens, but also for general good health, production and welfare. Fly burdens have been low, again due to the ongoing dry conditions.
Things are still very quiet on the worm front, with no investigated, or reported worm issues from the Forbes area. Few worm egg counts have been done, and most have found only low counts, near or below the threshold for recommended drenching. However, one worm egg count test did find a reasonable number of Nematodirus (thin-necked intestinal worm) eggs in undrenched lambs. The eggs and third-stage larvae of this worm are quite resistant to cold, dry winters, and while they rarely pose a problem to adult sheep who develop good immunity, they can cause significant problems in young sheep. This ability to survive adverse conditions on pasture can be a consideration when selecting a weaning paddock, particularly at times when green feed might be sparse and short, and the risk of larval pick-up is high. Luckily these lambs were not yet showing clinical signs of disease, although the burden was high enough to have been causing production loss. It shows the value of worm testing the most susceptible groups of sheep.
Minimal worm testing has occurred in the past month as most sheep flocks in our district lambed through July and August. In preparation for lamb-marking, now is the perfect time to grab some poo and do a worm egg count on your ewe mobs to see if they will require a drench when they come into the yards. With the showers of rain and relatively short pastures, worm activity will be on the rise as temperatures increase as spring approaches. If a worm egg count of greater than 200 eggs per gram (epg) is returned, it would also be a great time to request a larval culture to see what worm species are active on the farm. This will help inform your drench choice and provide some risk assessment information for your lambs and weaners going forward this year. We will talk more about drench checks as we get closer to weaning!
There have been few worm egg counts (WECs) completed in the Griffith/Narrandera area in the past month. One mob of lambing ewes in 3.5 body condition score (BCS) and grazing on a cereal crop had a WEC of 0 eggs per gram (epg), whereas another mob of ewes with lambs at foot had WECs of 120–280 epg strongyle type eggs and some evidence of coccidia; the larval culture is still pending. With some rainfall, increasing temperatures and sheep in the yards on many properties now is an optimal time to monitor with WECs.
Only one worm test has come through for the Hay area. The result was zero eggs per gram (epg). Conditions are still very dry out here, and the ground cover is sparse. To date, there are no reports of any mobs with worm outbreaks.
No rain and no parasites turning up in any of my investigations.
There have been quite a few cases of recumbent ewes in late pregnancy. Some have been bought on by the recent sudden cold snap and others by the protracted drought. Ewes have generally been on feed for their entire gestation and producers are now looking for the best way to manage the continued supply of feed during lambing.
No spelled lambing paddocks with adequate pasture are available to provide for ewes through to marking.
Strategies to provide more space for ewes, smaller mob sizes, and adequate shelter while also maintaining access to feed need to be implemented.
In the west this month frequent small amounts of rain have led to pasture growth across most of the region. There seem to be widespread issues with low levels of coccidiosis throughout the region. Some scouring has been seen although this has not been linked to high worm burdens.
A mob of mature-aged sheep recently treated with a combination of abamectin, albendazole, closantel and levamisole in February had an average worm egg count of 12 eggs per gram (epg) strongyle type eggs and 4 epg Nematodirus type eggs.
A mob of 1 year old of sheep were treated with abamectin in May and had an average count of 80 epg strongyle type.
No worm eggs were present in a mixed lot of sheep which were treated with abamectin in early July.
A mob of suckers that did not have a drench history had an average worm egg count of 20 epg strongyle type.
A mob of sheep which had been treated with moxidectin 2 weeks earlier had an average of 55 epg strongyle type.
South East LLS
There have been very few worm tests performed in the last month on the Far South Coast. However, there have been cases of worm burdens being the final straw for young stock in poor condition, and on a local goat property, there were some very high average worm egg counts of greater than 7000 eggs per gram. It is advisable to remain diligent, test regularly, and treat accordingly. For anyone running small ruminant stock, the weather ‘turning’ is a prudent warning to have a plan in place for the control of barber’s pole worm BEFORE conditions become ideal, which feels as if they are just around the corner.
Faecal worm egg counts (WEC) conducted in the south east this August are continuing to show individual property and mob variation, making WECs on weaner sheep a very good investment.
Some mobs are returning zero or minimal egg counts while others are showing on average, levels around 1000 eggs per gram. Those with the higher counts have a higher proportion of Haemonchus (barber’s pole) present in the larval differentiations.
Sheep are currently grazing heavily in the larval pick-up zone, but the nutritional quality of the graze is very high, even though limited in quantity in some circumstances.