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New South Wales worms, flies and lice update - June 2020

NSW WormBoss Worm Control Programs

NSW WormBoss Drench Decision Guides






Central West LLS

Coonamble: Jillian Kelly, DV (

The district is continuing to experience warm days and cool nights, with some rainfall and heavy dews. Recent worm tests in sheep have been mixed, with some farms having very low burdens, and others having burdens so high that they needed a drench. There is a mix of barber’s pole worm and black scour worms present on farms in the district, so a larval differential is advised when ordering the testing. One farm has recently identified anthelmintic resistance to closantal and abamectin in barber’s pole worm. They identified this by doing a post drenching WormTest, which showed that there were still 480 epg post drenching. A full worm egg count reduction trial (DrenchTest) will be performed on this farm in weaner sheep in spring to determine which other anthelmintics are no longer effective. Across the district, large numbers of cattle and sheep are being brought into the district, either purchased or on agistment. A quarantine drench is recommended to avoid bringing resistant parasites onto your farm. There continues to be some mild blowfly activity due to the warm, wet winter seasonal conditions. Producers are encouraged to monitor their sheep and treat struck sheep.

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

In Forbes, we have not seen any cases or heard reports where worms have been an issue in local sheep flocks.

This is the perfect time for producers to use WormTests to monitor worm egg counts to identify low level/early barber’s pole burdens and avoid subclinical production lossses from scour worms or unnecessary use of drenches.

With lambing well underway, it would be good practice to start thinking about choice of weaning paddocks. Use an effective drench onto a clean paddock at weaning to give these very susceptible young animals a great kick start.

With restocking underway all across the district and sheep coming in from all different parts of the country, use of a quarantine drench with 4 actives (including one of the newer drench groups) is advised to avoid the introduction of drench resistant worms to your property. See WormBoss for quarantine drench guidelines.

Murray LLS

Albury: Mark Corrigan, DV (

Deniliquin: Scott Ison, DV (

After a good autumn break and now some cooler weather, conditions in the west of the region are consistent with low levels of worm infestation. Most sheep are in good body condition and will be controlling their light worm burdens. Sheep that are physiologically stressed (e.g. lambing ewes) should be monitored and in many cases will not need drenching. There was only one worm egg count performed at the state lab for this region in the past month. It resulted in the low count of 140 strongyle epg.

In the east, conditions have seen one of the better autumns for years. Worm egg counts have been low to moderate as spring lambing producers consider what to use for the pre-lambing drench. One flock that has not had any summer drenching for 4 years had moderate levels of barber’s pole worm—enough to consider in their pre-lambing drenches. This demonstrates the importance of continued WEC monitoring. The region is coming towards the end of pregnancy scanning for ewes and, as expected, pregnancy rates have been very good following the early autumn break.

South East LLS

Alexandra Stephens, DV (

This month there have been a number of cattle properties tested for fluke using the pooled fluke ELISA. These results have varied from negative, to low positives to highly positive.  The results usually indicated the amount of grazing into fluke-infested creek lines. A positive blood test, even when cattle are looking good, demonstrates the need for monitoring and a strategic winter fluke drench. This wipes out the adult fluke in winter and breaks the fluke life cycle while the snails are inactive, to lessen the effect of fluke in the herd in the next summer. 

Testing of ewes pre-lambing has in many cases returned low worm counts. But care is needed before deciding not to drench. Cultures from a number of worm egg counts from around the district showed 50% barber’s pole, particularly where there were some occasional sheep with higher counts. The average may still be low (ie <200) but drenching is advised to avoid bringing barbers pole through the winter and contaminating lambing paddocks. Ensure that these ewes are not simply drenched with a long acting moximectin  (a triple drench or a primer is advised) as barbers pole worms have a strongly emerging resistance to the mectins and drenching with a long acting mectin will heavily select for mectin-resistant barber’s pole worms.

Monitoring of weaner sheep has been very valuable as many flocks are showing low counts with only ongoing monitoring advised, probably reflecting the current excellent nutrition available and the baking that the pastures received over summer. Monitoring saves unnecessary drenching, or undetected production loss.  Some of these counts are coming back with high tapeworm counts. Tapeworm can be drenched with praziquantel, but it is generally not advised as tapeworm are not thought to cause production loss. 

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