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New South Wales worms, flies and lice update - December 2019

NSW WormBoss Worm Control Programs

NSW WormBoss Drench Decision Guides





WormTest with the Best

Special thanks to DAWBUTS ANIMAL HEALTH and THE NSW DPI VETERINARY DIAGNOSTIC LABORATORY: two of the"reference" laboratories due to their highly accurate results. The following are successful participants in the 2019 ParaBoss WEC QA and have demonstrated proficiency in worm egg counting.


Central West LLS

Coonamble: Jillian Kelly, DV (

Continued dry conditions mean worm burdens in sheep are low.  Having said that, stock numbers across the Coonamble district are at an all-time low, and few people are doing worm tests. I have come across two cases of inappropriate drenching lately—one producer giving moxidectin as an induction drench for feedlot lambs, another drenching sheep every 6 weeks, regardless of need.

There is considerable information available via the WormBoss website, and also via your LLS District Veterinarian about drenching strategies and choices, and producers are advised to do their homework before reaching for the drench gun. 

Producers are reminded that drench resistance develops quicker in a drought— as there are few viable larvae on the pasture that are not exposed to the drench. Any worm that survives your drench will be resistant and go on to reproduce.

With the lack of rain, blowfly activity has simmered down. However, it could  flare up again over summer with any storm or shower activity. Producers are advised to look at FlyBoss and develop a flystrike management plan. Nuisance flies are still present in large numbers and are adding to pink eye risks in cattle herds across the district.

Forbes: Nik Cronin, DV ( and Belinda Edmonstone, DV (

The dry conditions continue. 

Very few worm tests have been conducted lately, and it is likely for most local situations that worm burdens in sheep are low. However, now is the ideal time to be reaching for a worm test kit to determine whether or not a summer drench will be of benefit. Remember, if a low worm burden is detected, there can be a benefit in leaving that mob of sheep undrenched, particularly if they are strong adult sheep, to avoid amplification of drench resistance. This is the refugia strategy.

Northern Tablelands LLS

Armidale: Amanda Walker, DV (

Whilst rainfall received across parts of the Armidale region over the last month is far from drought-breaking, it has been enough to promote worm development. Producers are advised to monitor using a WormTest 4–6 weeks after rainfall that results in green pick, and continue monitoring each month. Regular WormTest monitoring is essential to inform decision making around the need for drenching.  

WormTests performed across the region have been variable with some worm egg counts recorded in excess of 900 eggs per gram (epg), whilst other properties continue to record zero egg counts. For advice on when to drench, consider using the drench decision guides or contact your local LLS office

Inverell: Andrew Biddle, DV (

From my perspective, there has been no improvement in the seasonal outlook or the general health of sheep in the western part of our region.

Many are early weaning, that is, if the ewe hasn’t already done it herself.

We have seen some tragic marking percentages, but, at the same time, there are producers with enormous faith in the industry, who are feeding through lambing in confinement and achieving marking percentages upward of 90%.

Many of these producers are now doing their maths to decide whether to feed these weaners through or cash them in early. Early sale seems to be the preferred option.

Many of the weaners remaining on-farm are showing a smorgasbord of weaner ill-thrift presentations, and mortalities caused by enteritis, coccidiosis, pneumonia. All these conditions are exacerbated by some degree of immuno-compromise from the lack of adequate nutrition.

Greater Sydney LLS

Menangle: Aziz Chowdhury, DV (

Severe dry condition across the Greater Sydney region are keeping the worm activities low.

In worm egg counts conducted recently, strongyle-type worm eggs were the predominant type of egg with 80–90% of them being barber’s pole (Haemonchus) and 10–15% black scour worm, (Trichostrongylus).

Dangerous to catastrophic fire conditions have been affecting human and animal welfare in the region. Currently, at least 10–15 bushfires are burning, some of them are out of control. Farms on the central coast and the Blue Mountains area are mostly affected due to the ongoing dry conditions which are predicted to continue until the New Year. 

For December 2019 state outlooks, please follow the links below:
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