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New South Wales worm update - December 2012

Lachlan LHPA

Belinda Edmonstone and Nik Cronin, Forbes (  (

In the central area of the Lachlan LHPA average faecal egg counts for the month of November have ranged from 0-1240 with individual counts ranging from 0 – 1720. The last few months have been very dry with well below average rainfall. This will help clean up paddocks particularly with regards to Barbers Pole worm.  Strategically producers need to think about the first summer drench. Use an effective combination drench onto clean paddocks. Wormtest in February to see if a second summer drench is required.

Kasia Hunter, Condobolin (

In the western area of the Lachlan LHPA only one Wormtest was conducted in November for a mixed mob of Merino ewes and crossbred lambs. The average faecal egg count was 170, however individual counts were quite variable from 0 – 1360. Ostertagia (Small Brown Stomach Worm) and Haemonchus (Barber’s Pole Worm) were the predominant species cultured. No reports of clinical disease have been noted. The dry and hot conditions are certainly helping to reduce larval survival on pastures.

Eliz Braddon, Young (

In the eastern area of the Lachlan LHPA, monitoring was performed on an even mixture of lambs and various aged ewes.  Faecal egg counts have ranged from 140-3860 epg with the lamb mobs on average about twice as high as the ewe mobs in terms of worm burdens.  Most larval differentials have shown mixed infections of all three major worm species but with less emphasis on Barber’s Pole worm that we saw this time last year.  This is due to the drier conditions being seen this spring /summer so even though we suspect we have considerable pasture potential for Barber’s Pole worm, it has not yet eventuated due to the dry weather.  This weather will certainly help producers clean up those contaminated pastures from last year but caution needs to be used where rainfall has occurred.  Even a light shower of rain on a pasture with good ground cover could potentially be a breeding ground for any Barber’s Pole worms that are left from last year.  An effective first summer drench when putting stock onto clean paddocks is a must and continued monitoring of stock over the next few months, especially if we get summer rains, would be prudent.  Wormtesting in February should provide the information as to whether a second summer drench will be necessary.

Bob Templeton, Braidwood, (

Barbers pole worm is getting active again.  This is across the southern tablelands.  Black scour worm is continuing to produce large numbers of eggs so the population should be equally large.  There has been some variation on the administering of the November drench.  More than a few producers did not give it.  The drier weather may be slowing the worms down at present.

Tablelands LHPA

Bill Johnson, Goulburn, (

For the first time in almost three years, worm larvae on pasture are doing it tough. Dry and intermittently hot conditions are helping to destroy the reservoir of worm larvae on pasture, slowing the rate of re-infection of sheep after drenching. Some paddocks are carrying a heavy over-burden of dry feed, restricting the penetration of lethal sunlight. With weaning completed, good use could be made of bigger mobs of drenched ewes to open up these dense pastures to aid worm control.

Barber’s pole worms are still present on about half of the properties in the district, their larvae having survived the winter. Development of further generations of these worms is restricted to those paddocks which are still green, generally south-facing and low-lying.

Most owners have completed their all-important first summer drench. Some needed a lot of convincing that now was not the time to be using long-acting drench products.

Merino and crossbred weaners are likely to lose weight over coming weeks, unless fed supplements. Weight loss makes them more susceptible to worms, and is associated with higher death rates. Many cereal grain samples from the current harvest show protein levels too low for growing stock, so ask for a feed test before buying grain to feed lambs.

There has been a resurgence of blood-sucking liver fluke in both sheep and cattle. The risk increases over summer as sheep chase green feed into low-lying swampy or creek areas.

Central West LHPA

Evelyn Walker, Dubbo (

In the Dubbo area, we have had no reported deaths due to barber’s pole worm this month. This is unlike previous years. Farmers are still reminded to do regular worm testing of their sheep every 6 weeks during summer months for this area. Lab reports received so far demonstrate barber’s pole is indeed around. Egg counts have ranged from as low as 52 to as high as 1,225 in the Dubbo and surrounding areas. The larval cultures on these WormTests have been predominately barber’s pole worm. It will be interesting to see how long this hot and dry weather hangs around—great for keeping the worms at bay, but not so great for feeding conditions!

Riverina LHPA

Gabe Morrice, Narrandera (

Only one WormTest has been conducted in the past month in this area. It showed ewes with lambs at foot had an average strongyle count of 840 epg. Their 4–5 month old lambs had an average strongyle count of 80 epg, but Nematodirus at 200 epg. There have been no clinical cases seen or reported.

Colin Peake, Hay (

Two WormTests in the west in the last month, one from Dorpers, mixed flock, that have had close, confined grazing for two months due to flooding, average counts of 340 epg, range 80–600, 59% trichs, 17% haemonchus and 16% ostertagia. 1–2% of the lambs had dirty tails.

The other count had an average of 140epg in 18 month old crossbred ewes, 74% Trichs and 25% ostertagia.

Very little happening and very dry.

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