The recent widespread rainfall has given graziers a boost prior to Christmas. Likewise, worms will no doubt be enjoying the change in conditions.
Worm monitoring results have remained variable across the New England region in recent weeks. Many mobs of sheep have low to moderate worm burdens (including Merino ewes not having received a drench since August), however there is some sheep carrying significant worm burdens (up to 3500 epg in XB ewes).
Graziers are no doubt distinctly aware of the potential for Haemonchus issues to arise under the current circumstances, however I would urge them to perform worm egg count monitoring before making the decision to drench ‘just in case’. Paddocks which have been of low infectivity over the spring period will not automatically become ‘high risk’ after rain, particularly whilst some form of grazing management is in place. Paddocks which may have been identified as being ‘low worm risk’ would be best preserved for weaners in January given the lack of options available to now.
I wish all ParaBoss readers and VHR clients a merry Christmas. I hope that 2015 is wet and much less stressful than the year that’s been!
Here is a great little message for your children at this time—and not a bad one for oldies too!! Perhaps you might like to copy the graphic and stick it on the fridge!!
The few worm tests conducted in the past month in the Narrandera and Hay areas have shown variable levels of worm burdens. Even in the drier areas, on well-managed properties there is evidence of Nematodirus in weaner lambs. Irrigated properties are already showing significant Haemonchus (barber’s pole) burdens in their worm tests. Undrenched sheep and lambs have shown moderate worm burdens on other dryland properties. With summer storms and sheep seeking out feed in table drains, monitoring worm egg levels will be important over the coming months.
Storms and showers since the start of December have been ideal for hatching and survival of barber's pole worms. Previous worm egg counts had shown barber's pole worms were present in about half the flocks tested. With some properties still to give a first summer drench, and others holding off on drenching near-saleable lambs, expect to see weakness, anaemia and sudden deaths caused by barber's pole worms any time soon. Watch those lambs being finished on lucerne—it's surprising how quickly they pick up a belly full of worms when successive batches are finished on the one paddock. Be sure to check the Export Slaughter Interval before drenching lambs—you're looking at several months meat withhold after some drenches, especially those with longer protection periods against barber's pole.
Don't miss the opportunity to test the effectiveness of your first summer drench (or any drench, for that matter). Timing is important. Collect dung samples ten to fourteen days after (oral liquid) drenching to make sure the drench has worked. Pick up a Drench Check Test kit from LLS offices and rural merchandise outlets.
By far the most pressing issue for sheep producers has been blowflies. One stock agent remarked (after driving the length of the district one steamy afternoon) that blokes were jetting sheep in every set of sheep yards he passed! Body strike has occurred on sheep only a couple of months off-shears, and in suckers being drafted for sale. Poll strike in rams and wethers, and breech strike on any bit of scour have also been common. Again, there are wide variations in both the period of flystrike protection and the meat Export Slaughter Interval with blowfly treatments. The meat ESI, for example, ranges between nil and 120 days. You also need to take the wool withhold into account, particularly when treating lambs that you may have to shear soon. This wool withhold varies between 3 months and nil.
As in many areas, we are expecting this to be a bumper season for Haemonchus with all the heat and moisture they so love! It’s already started, with other worms continuing to party also.
We've done a few WECs on 4–7mth old lambs (merino, white suffolk and XB enterprises) over the last 3 weeks. Average counts per property range from 288–1404 epg, with individuals from 0–4240 epg. Two of these properties had already drenched their lambs a couple of months ago.
The larval cultures/PCRs have produced the following result ranges over 4 properties: Haemonchus 41%–100%; Trichostrongylus 0%–31%; Ostertagia 0% on 3 properties and 46% on one property.
Lessons are already being considered about stocking rates, ‘clean’ pastures, drench selections...
And it’s only the beginning!...
We have had a number of WormTests done but they are all different. Either high barber's pole or black scour or small brown stomach worm. It will be interesting to see how the wet start to summer reacts with the worms. Some places around Braidwood had 11 inches last week. Some around Bungendore had over 4 inches for the same period.
With general rain across the Northern Tablelands and Northwest, graziers now have paddocks painted green. Not quite sheep pick yet. They should be on the look out for metabolic problems, more so in cattle as most ewes are approaching weaning.
Rain should give us a nice emergence of barber’s pole worm larvae and a rise in clinical cases to coincide with the arrival of Santa.
Monitor, monitor, monitor.