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New South Wales worms, flies and lice update - February 2017

NSW WormBoss Worm Control Programs

NSW WormBoss Drench Decision Guides





Please note: a number of our regular contributors were unable to provide a report this month as they were busy with the bushfire response.


Riverina LLS

Young: Elizabeth Braddon, DV ( and Rahul Shankar, DV (

We have had anywhere from an inch (25 mm) to 2 inches (50 mm) of rain during the past 2 months. Temperatures fluctuated from a low of 4°C in the early morning to 43°C by mid-afternoon a few weeks ago. Feed in general is/has dried off for many producers and many have begun supplementary feeding their various classes of stock. Cases seen to date have involved both nutritional and worm burden issues. Protein and energy are known to increase the resilience of sheep against worm burdens. Sheep that are losing condition, especially young sheep, are more likely to feel the effects of worms when they are nutritionally compromised. The rains have started to allow for re-growth in various pasture paddocks, and with the increased feed that will come in a few weeks time, producers should be mindful of worm larvae that could present a threat to stock as they graze this fresher feed closer to the ground.

Some producers are seeing signs of a worm burden in their respective mobs and have instigated a second summer drench. As always, we advocate the use of a Worm Egg Count (WEC) test prior to a drench being administered.

Flies are still active and producers should be mindful of the need to crutch and apply appropriate flystrike treatment and protection to any affected animals. Pregnant ewes that are close to lambing should be supplementary-fed given the feed conditions currently. Energy (not protein!) is the most critical factor for late-pregnant ewes and the quality and quantity of feed on offer in many paddocks are insufficient to sustain pregnant ewes.

Dusty conditions have also led to cases of 'summer pneumonia' and a case of inhalation pneumonia post-dipping in weaner lambs. Cases of Lupinosis are also occurring in the western parts of the Riverina with the wet spells we have been having.

With another 5–6 weeks to go before Autumn is officially here, we hope the fire danger throughout the countryside remains low—our thoughts go out to all those affected by the recent fires and all who have helped those in need.


Northern Tablelands LLS

Inverell: Andrew Biddle, DV (

Our weather picture is still much the same. Hot weather with occasional storms making worm issues variable within regions and localities. Monitoring is the only way to know what is going on.

Glen Innes: Nigel Brown, DV (

The warm and moist weather is creating beautiful conditions for worms this year and Andrew Biddle at Inverell has reported some very high Worm Egg Counts for barber’s pole worm.

The need to test your property status with respect to drench resistance has never been higher, but many producers have forgotten when they last did a test, and are assuming the level is the same as it was then. Not the case. I have visited several properties on other jobs and seen sheep with blanched gums that had collapsed during mustering. Many properties seem to be getting less than three weeks from a drench before animals are going down again. Is this drench resistance, or is it really due to the ingestion of vast numbers of larvae during grazing? The latter seems likely since the warm moist pasture is an ideal breeding ground.

(Editor’s note: even a slight reduction in drench efficacy will be intensified by a heavy intake of larvae.)


North West LLS

Northern Slopes: Ted Irwin, DV (

There has been plenty of worm activity in the region. Some high counts have been in the thousands, and there have been a few cases of lambs with clinical signs of infection. Storm activity has been patchy, but mostly there has been enough to hatch plenty of worms.

Moree: Justine McNally, DV (

District WormTest results over the last month.

Date Class Drench Last drench
(days ago)
Black Scour % Oster-


23/01/17 1-2 years   90-120 296 0-2960 94 5 1
24/01/17 lambs Rametin/Duocare 15 20 0-80      
25/01/17 3yr ewes Eweguard 55 2520 0-6280 2 0 98
25/01/17 5yr ewes Eweguard 55 2324 0-4840 2 0 98
29/01/17 lambs and ewes Ewes - cydectin;
Lambs - Duocare
9 48 0-160 0 0 100
29/01/17 lambs and ewes Ewes - cydectin;
LA Lambs -
9 20 0-80      
30/01/17 wether weaners Cydectin 81 3752 1200-5960 0 0 100
4/02/17 weaner lambs Startect 12 200 0-680      
8/02/17 mixed age ewes     768 40-3040 5 0 94
13/02/17 mixed age ewes     60 0-320 25 44 31
14/02/17 lambs and ewes Ewes - Startec;
lambs - Rametin/
E - 97; L - 38 2020 1040-3240 0 1 96


Murray LLS

Albury: Scott Ison, DV ( and Mark Corrigan, DV ( and

Deniliquin: Linda Searle, DV (

There has been a lot of worm testing in the western part of the district lately as farmers decide on their summer drenching routine.

The results of worm testing have been quite variable with a table summary of the results found below. While the scour worms were once again the most common sort of worm present, there was evidence of barber’s pole worm in some of the largest egg counts.

We normally start to see barber’s pole worm if we have had a few wet summers in a row. Barber’s pole worm is a blood-feeding worm and will result in anaemia and protein loss rather than scours. Sheep affected by barber’s pole worm may be exercise intolerant, go down when moving or stressed, and have ‘bottle jaw’ which looks like accumulation of fluid under the jaw.

In some of the results, the average worm count is made up of an extreme variation in range with some individual sheep having counts vastly lower or higher than the average count. In this situation, it may be advisable to only drench the tail of the mob rather than the mob as a whole.

Worm Egg Count 

Class of sheep

Drench / date

Speciation / percentage (%)

Strongyle type

Nemato-dirus (epg)








merino ewes




weaner lambs
abamectin 11/11/16


296 (80-1000)



hogget ewes
moxidectin 18/8/16






barber's pole worm found

1032 (320-1920)



black scour            91%
brown stomach     7%
large intestinal
(large bowel worm)   2%

108 (80-440)


merino ewes
moxidectin 15/1/16

black scour          29%
brown stomach   71%




barber's pole         13%
black scour           83%
brown stomach    2%
large intestinal
(large bowel worm)    2%



merino weaners
abamectin 15/11/16




abamectin/closantel Oct 2016

black scour            84%
brown stomach    16%



5-year old merinoS
not drenched








6-year-old merino ewes
triple combination drench 20/2/16




XB ewes
moxidectin 10/2/16


316 (0–1080)


undrenched lambs












































Note: no tapeworm eggs were seen in samples.

Worm control in the east of the region appears to have been good through January and February. Three farms submitted a total of six samples in late January with five of them returning averages of less than 100 eggs per gram and one returning a result of 184 eggs per gram. A number of samples were also submitted for larval differentiation only after faecal egg counts had already been performed. Three samples were brown stomach worm dominant, one was black scour worm dominant, one barber’s pole dominant and two had mixed infestations.


South East LLS

Goulburn: Bill Johnson, DV (

The variation in recent worm egg counts from property to property and between paddocks on the same property suggests a fair bit of barber's pole worm activity. Some parts of the district received a couple of pretty handy storms, which have given barber's pole a boost. Other areas remain dry, and hot days have killed most barber's pole larvae. But that doesn't explain why on the one property, a mob of mature ewes with solid counts up to 1500 eggs per gram are running alongside a mob of one year olds with a count of zero, both mobs set-stocked since a December drench. The message is that, like the weather, worm activity is difficult to predict, particularly when barber's pole could be about. A worm egg count and culture for worm type is the only reliable way to get a handle on what worms are doing in any mob.

Nematodirus (thin-necked intestinal worms) survive as eggs on pasture better than other worms, and are able to withstand hot dry summers and cold frosty winters. Older sheep develop good immunity to them, but they often affect lambs following a mass hatching of eggs after rain towards the end of summer. Worm egg counts in weaners recently have shown substantial nematodirus counts, but we haven't yet seen the profuse scouring, weight loss and deaths typical of an outbreak.

Alert: Those areas yet to receive a decent summer storm should be on the lookout for these signs a couple of weeks after rain.

Levels of black scour and brown stomach worms have also been significant in some mobs, even adult sheep, although the sheep generally look healthy. A second summer drench is still required for most of the mobs checked recently.

For February 2017 state outlooks, please follow the links below:
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