Back to State Outlooks

New South Wales worm update - May 2013



Belinda Edmonstone and Nik Cronin, Forbes (  (

In the central area of the Lachlan LHPA there were only 2 WormTests performed for the month of April with average faecal egg counts ranging from 16-316. Individual counts range from 0 – 1240. The dry seasonal conditions continue to ensure worms as a general rule are not such an issue. However the situation will change when we get a break in the season. Nematodirus (thin necked intestinal worms) can cause a problem in young sheep when there is rain after a dry spell as there will be massive hatchings of the very resistant eggs these worms produce.

Liver Fluke

The recent confirmation of liver fluke in three beef cattle herds in our Authority had us wondering about the effect of the recent wet years on liver fluke distribution in our region. In general, liver fluke disease in livestock is a significant problem in the higher rainfall areas of the state such as the Tablelands, extending into irrigation areas, and less of a problem where conditions are more dry.   We used blood samples collected from 4 properties to test for liver fluke using the pooled fluke ELISA test (each property - 20 cattle, 4 pools).  Despite the cattle showing no clinical signs three of these properties tested positive for liver fluke, two at high levels of infestation.  These cattle were home bred, and the property had been subject to flood the last few years.  The cattle on the other property were not home bred and did not have a quarantine drench containing a flukicide on arrival.

Liver fluke is a production disease.  It can cause significant mortalities, but at the least livestock affected with liver fluke will not be producing at their best.  Consider using a flukicide effective against all stages of the fluke cycle as part of your quarantine drench when introducing livestock.  If you have creek country or have been affected by flood in the last few years and are concerned about liver fluke in your stock we can arrange for some testing to be done.  

Kasia Hunter, Condobolin (

In the western area of the Lachlan LHPA no WormTests were conducted during the past month. The continuing dry conditions and lack of rainfall have greatly limited the potential impact of parasites so far this autumn. No parasite-related stock losses have been reported. Most producers are supplement feeding their stock or destocking. Nevertheless a pre-autumn lambing WormTest (4 – 6 weeks pre-lambing) is still recommended as parasite numbers can often peak around lambing time when the ewe’s natural immunity wanes.

Elizabeth Braddon, Young (

The eastern end of the Lachlan LHPA has seen 24 WormTests performed this month mainly on pre-lambing ewe mobs.  For the most part, these mobs have had low counts requiring no action – a range of 8-1120 epg with an average over all ewe mobs of 181 epg.  As always, it pays to know what your mob is doing and not guess based on others’ situations.  The ewe mob with 1120 epg would be in real trouble come lambing if they had not had the opportunity to take action now!  In comparison to the previous couple of years though, the worm situation has improved markedly due to our hot dry summer conditions.


Evelyn Walker, Dubbo (Evelyn

Worm activity seems to have spiked this month despite having a relatively dry summer season.  We were lucky to get some rain a few weeks ago, but the rain coupled with some sunny days was perfect conditions for the barber’s pole worm.  Average worm counts have ranged this month from a low of 20 to high of 11,148. The predominant worm type has been Barber’s Pole worm.  I strongly encourage all farmers if you haven’t already done so to start wormtesting your sheep mobs now. By checking your worm levels now, you can avoid getting hit by a nasty surprise. One farmer was not so lucky and had lambing ewes severely affected with barber’s pole.  And, don’t be fooled by this cool weather that we are now experiencing. The barber’s pole worm larvae are capable of surviving on pasture going into winter.  So check your mobs now and see whether a drench is required.


Bill Johnson, Goulburn, (

There’s a big difference between sheep flocks in this district at present: some have Barber’s Pole worms present and some don’t. Somewhat surprisingly, worm egg counts in many flocks are higher than at the same time last year, despite the dry autumn. A high proportion of Barber’s Pole worms is pushing worm egg counts up. No new Barber’s Pole larvae will develop; it is just too cold and dry. Larvae on paddocks contaminated by these highly fertile critters in the summer remain viable, even though we’ve had frosts. Deaths from Barber’s Pole have stopped for now, but worm egg counts in the tens of thousands suggest they are still affecting production.

Worm egg counts in flocks without Barber’s Pole are generally low. We’re still waiting for that significant rainfall event to aid the development of ‘scour worm’ larvae on pasture. Nutrition will be a major influence on how well sheep cope with these winter worms. Most flocks are already losing condition as pasture quality and quantity decline. Some producers thinking about using long-acting worm control products in lambing ewes this year would be better off spending that money on supplementary feed.

Don’t ignore the possibility of liver fluke in your sheep. Testing dung samples will identify infections picked over summer; it takes three months from pick-up to eggs in dung. Further pick-up was expected through the dry autumn, so continue to check with dung tests this winter, or ask your vet to collect a few blood samples for a result sooner.

Jim McDonald, Yass (

The Yass District has experienced a very dry autumn.  Worms have not played much of a role at present in sheep management.

Those tests carried out are below 200 epg in most classes of sheep.

It is always a danger opting out of a pre-lamb treatment and this year will be no exception.  Unless a very detailed and regular worm monitoring program has occurred through autumn and early winter, I would suggest the normal pre-lamb husbandry occur.

As feed quality decreases so too does the ability of sheep under nutritional and pregnancy stress to manage the worm burden.

As usual in this district, winter is the time weaners can really suffer parasitism if these young sheep are not monitored closely.


Petrea Wait, Cooma (

Here in the Monaro we are still seeing a lot of WormTests done. Most producers are looking at counts in their pregnant ewes and deciding whether to drench now the frosts have started.  I think we may be the only place in the state that still has any green feed in the paddocks although it is starting to dry off with the frosts. There is a mix of worms about in moderate numbers, some properties have almost 100% Barber's Pole while others are almost all scour worms. We have also had some high liver fluke counts and an unusual incidence of stomach fluke, not normally seen inland.

Bob Templeton, LHPA DV, Braidwood (

In the Braidwood area the worms are running hot and cold.  Some places having high egg counts (most likely barbers pole worm) and other places having very low counts.  This situation is most likely due to the drying weather that followed the very hot days in January.  We have had out first frosts so things should be quietening down as far as larval pick up goes.  I have had few calls from Dorper owners with poor results after using white drench (because it is cheaper!).


Tony Morton, Wagga Wagga (; Amy Shergold, Wagga Wagga. (

Sheep worm counts have been variable around Wagga Wagga during the months of April and May, both between farms and also between mobs on the same farm. In total 18 WormTests were recorded and represented all classes of stock including lambs, dry animals and pregnant and lactating ewes. In addition, 1 ‘DrenchCheck’ was performed demonstrating excellent efficacy of an abamectin triple.

Most mobs received their last drench in December or January and counts varied from nil to an average of 1289 eggs per gram. Mostly populations consisted of Teladorsagia (small brown stomach worm) and Trichostrongylus (black scour worm); however 3 properties had significant Haemonchus (Barber’s Pole worm) burdens comprising 83 to 97 percent of total worm numbers. The recent rain has been well received but is also a reminder to continue worm monitoring over the next few months, particularly where pastures are short and green.

In cattle a couple of Type 2 Ostertagia (small brown stomach worm) cases were seen. This problem was rampant in the mid-late 70’s before the modern  BZ’s and then the ivermectin type drenches. The cattle consume larvae in the previous spring and they lie in the stomach wall over summer and suddenly emerge in late summer /early autumn with weight loss, scouring and sometimes bottle jaw and death. Eggs counts are often low despite severe disease. This problem may worsen over the next few years as drench resistance in cattle becomes more common.


Gabe Morrice, Narrandera: (;

There have been no WormTests conducted in the north-east area of Riverina LHPA over the past month and no clinical cases of parasite related issues have been reported.

Dan Salmon, Deniliquin (

We have not had many WormTests and what we have includes a few post-drenching tests.

Egg counts are generally low.

The post-drenching tests, admittedly few and a month post-drenching, indicate that weanerguard is producing zero egg counts.

Colin Peake, Hay; ( );

There have been no WormTests over the last month and no clinical disease reported or seen.

Dry conditions and feeding stock are the main concern at present.


Fiona Fishpool, LHPA, Moree (

Everything is quiet in the North West in regards to worms with no reports of Haemonchus for the past 3 weeks. This can be attributed to the dry conditions in April. However, flocks in the southern slopes that have not been drenched in autumn may still have egg counts. Current conditions are keeping pasture contamination to a minimum and the colder weather means the next risk period is likely to be early spring. Producers are advised to use an effective long acting against Haemonchus in early October, or alternatively monitor from then on for any spring rise.

For May 2013 state outlooks, please follow the links below:
Back to State Outlooks