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New South Wales worm update - February 2014


Riverina LLS

Elizabeth Braddon, Young (

Riverina Local Land Services:

The Riverina Local Land Service is a new organisation that came into being on 1 January 2014.  Local Land Services is a new way to deliver services, information and advice to farmers and landowners in rural and regional NSW, including: agricultural advice & livestock management; plant and animal disease management; biosecurity; emergency management assistance and  natural resource management.  More information about Riverina LLS can be found at or about the Local Land Services in general in NSW including an interactive map to help see what area you may now be in at

Wagga Wagga office:  DVs Amy Shergold ( and Tony Morton (

The early onset of very hot, dry conditions in the Wagga Wagga region has resulted in relatively poor survival of worm larvae in pastures. This has meant that many mobs have not needed a second summer drench, including those that received their first summer drench as early as October last year.  We have seen results of faecal egg count monitoring over the past month representing weaners, ewes and rams. Average counts ranged from  0 to 1,320 e.p.g and even  on the same farm different mobs ranged from  80 e.p.g.  to  in excess of 1,000 e.p.g, mostly consisting of scour worms. However, one mob of ewes had a 70% burden of Barber’s pole worm. If you have not yet monitored following your first summer drench, or if you did not give a first summer drench, it would be worth running some worms tests now. There may be areas, particularly irrigated country, where larval survival may be better. Unfortunately this summer also brought bushfires to our region and our thoughts go out to all those affected.

Young office:  DVs Rahul Shankar ( and Eliz Braddon (

It has been a hot dry summer so far in the Young area of the Riverina Local Land Service and as a result there has been relatively little worm activity.  Most mobs being tested are ewe mobs in preparation of a second summer drench or pre-lambing for the autumn lamb producers.  Results have ranged from 0 - 464 epg with the majority of the ewe mobs well under 200 epg.  The cases where counts have climbed above that have been in 6-8 month old lambs or in ewe mobs where there has been Haemonchus activity (Barber's Pole Worm).  

With recent falls of rain (ranging from 18- 30 mm) it would be wise to think about doing some worm tests with larval culture in about 4-6 weeks.  With evidence that Haemonchus is present in some counts, and with the added rainfall and warm daytime temperatures, we could start to see some March / April clinical disease from Barber's Pole, particularly where producers had known Barber's Pole activity in previous years.  Also producers are reminded that recent on farm drench resistance profiles have indicated that we have a high level of Mectin resistance in our local Haemonchus population, so drench choice will be important in these cases.  

Gundagai Office: DV Ian Masters (

Hot dry summer has been good for worm control. Some mixed results in recent monitoring. In general most mobs drenched after November still have very low burdens and no need for a follow up summer drench. Odd mob drenched in October showing counts ranging from 400-1,000 epg with a high percentage of haemonchus on larval diff in some cases. Not showing signs of parasitism at this stage. Some good general rain in most areas this week and a follow in March could result in an early autumn break and ideal conditions for a build up in worms.

Bill Johnson, Goulburn, (

Hot, dry conditions through summer reduced survival of worm larvae on paddocks. Several properties have recently found their adult sheep picked up next to no worms since the first summer drench. They have dropped a second summer drench for adults from their worm program, in favour of doing another worm monitor test in about six weeks time. Adult sheep on the whole look well, but are expected to lose weight now unless supplementary-fed, until feed grows after recent rain. It will be important to have the results of a worm monitor in your flock to know if worms are in part responsible for any weight loss.

Keep your lambs under close observation. These conditions (a couple of inches of rain after a dry spell) are ideal to cause outbreaks of scouring and even some deaths from thin-necked intestinal worms (Nematodirus). First signs of trouble appear about fourteen days after the rain, in lambs/weaners on country grazed previously by young sheep or lambs. Scouring and weight loss in a fair proportion of the mob is frequently put down to the sheep "chasing the green pick". An autopsy is the best way to get an answer, because the crash starts before many of the worms have matured to egg-laying stage.

A handful of flocks in a couple of areas, mainly to the east of Goulburn, are still experiencing problems with Haemonchus (barber's pole worms), and this rain will make things worse for them. These flocks have had continual problems with Haemonchus for three summers, and have strains that show multiple drench resistance. In one case, a 'triple active combination' drench suppressed symptoms in dorper lambs for a bit over a fortnight. On most other properties, the level of barber's pole worms in sheep has declined to the extent that our mid-February rain will not give them too much of a boost. It will only be a different story if that rain is followed up by a decent autumn.

Stock grazing along creeks and low-lying swampy areas during the summer have likely picked up liver fluke. Be sure to make a note of which mobs grazed where, as you may need to test or drench for fluke next month.

South East LLS

Petrea Wait, Cooma (

Due to the hot, dry conditions on the Monaro very few worm tests were carried out in January. The few that were done were in the Bombala region, where conditions have been slightly better with some remaining pasture, although still hot and dry. One test was a drench check and showed zero epg in one mob of ewes and an average of 56 epg in a mob of weaners, a great result. The other test was done following deaths and scouring in lambs and showed average strongyle counts of 1460 epg with 86% Barbers pole.

Several tests have been done in early February, again in the Bombala region and there have been some significant egg counts ranging from 270 to 5212 epg, as well as liver fluke counts up to 29 epg. Now we have had some reasonable rain across the region and the pasture is starting to come through I would expect to see the worm numbers on the rise.

Central West LLS

Evelyn Walker, LHPA DV, Dubbo (

There have been no reports of deaths nor sheep experiencing wormy issues in the Dubbo region. Worm tests are still being conducted and of those reported, worms are present but in low numbers. If your area was lucky enough to get rain, be sure to mark your diary and do a worm test about 4 weeks after rainfall. This way, you can see where your worm levels are at or whether an impending worm crisis is about to erupt. In other areas especially Dunedoo, there have been moderate mixed worm burdens reported.

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