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

NSW LOCAL LAND SERVICES

Central West LLS

Coonamble: Jillian Kelly, DV (jillian.kelly@lls.nsw.gov.au)

The Coonamble district received 30–70mm of rain over the past few weeks. For some landholders, this was the biggest fall of rain they have received in three years.  This rain has caused blowflies to become active with struck sheep detected by landholders.  Lambs in confinement feeding situations seem particularly affected, although some only have one small struck spot with a couple of maggots. Early weaners with coccidia scours and dags are particularly at risk of breech strike.  Producers should be checking sheep regularly, identifying struck sheep, removing wool, putting maggots in a black plastic bag and treating with an appropriate chemical.

Sheep producers are urged to look at the FlyBoss website and use the online decision-making tools to help determine the best flystrike prevention approach on their farms.  Shearing and crutching could be considered before immediately reaching for a chemical preventative. 

Unfortunately, the rain has not been enough, nor consistent enough to increase worm burdens. Producers are continuing to hand feed stock and hoping for follow up rain, although the forecast does not look promising.

Editor's note: The AWI/DPI NSW flystrike resistance project is still accepting samples of maggots from farms. Take advantage of this opportunity to get thousands of dollars work of tests for free. >> Read more.)

Forbes: Nik Cronin, DV (nik.cronin@lls.nsw.gov.au) and Belinda Edmonstone, DV (belinda.edmonstone@lls.nsw.gov.au)

There continues to be very little rainfall in the Forbes area of the Central West with the last significant rain bringing a much lower total than was expected. It is, however, still important to perform a worm test to determine whether to give a first summer drench or not rather than just assuming there will be no need, as a few recent worm tests have indicated the need to drench.

Riverina LLS

Young: Eliz Braddon, DV (eliz.braddon@lls.nsw.gov.auand Evie Duggan, EV (evie.duggan@lls.nsw.gov.au)

Internal parasites are at a steady-state at the moment due to the dry conditions and mostly short pastures and crops. There have been scattered cases of Haemonchus contortus (barber's pole worm) on individual farms, but trends are not suggesting a district-wide concern.  Most of the enquiries have been around drench decisions for sheep going into confinement feeding or stock management areas.  The recommendations are fairly broad—if worm egg counts are below 150–200 eggs per gram (epg), we are generally not recommending a drench into the confinement areas as a matter of course. The pick-up of worms in these areas is variable, but environmental conditions are generally unfavourable due to the bare open ground, hot conditions and minimal moisture for larvae to survive in. 

If producers want more specific advice, give the local LLS office a call and speak to one of the District Veterinarians about their particular circumstances and potential risks.

Northern Tablelands LLS

Armidale: Amanda Walker, DV (amanda.walker@lls.nsw.gov.au)

Continued dry conditions across the Northern Tablelands is keeping worm activity low. The worm tests that have been performed have generally demonstrated very low egg counts. 

Producers are reminded to continue with worm tests as there remains a risk of significant worm burdens developing, particularly where isolated rain showers have produced short green pick. As many stock in the region are in very light condition making them more susceptible to worms, producers may consider drenching at lower worm egg count thresholds than they would typically use in a better season. 

South East LLS

Bega: Mark Doyle, DV (mark.doyle@lls.nsw.gov.au)

Not many tests for faecal worm egg counts are being submitted, but those that have been are showing an increase in worm activity. This is not surprising with the seasonal rise in temperatures and the mild increase in moisture levels from small bits of rainfall. As a result, act soon on your summer months drenching program.

Yass: Alexandra Stephens, DV (alexandra.stephens@lls.nsw.gov.au

Faecal worm egg counts (WormTest) across the south-east region have averaged between 100 and 780 eggs per gram (epg), with larval differentiations showing Haemonchus contortus (barber’s pole) to be present between 0 and 100% of the time. This indicates that there is significant variation between properties and between mobs in both worm egg counts and worm types present.  There is a lot of value in getting a worm egg count (WEC) done for any individual mob you are interested in. 

Although we had some storm activity at the beginning of the month, the hot wind has dried most pastures rapidly with conditions looking more like mid to late summer than early summer. In regards to the first summer drench, as larval availability drops with drier conditions selection for resistance becomes a more important issue, and it is important that we only drench sheep if they need it, and with an effective drench.  As sheep become more nutritionally stressed and are selectively grazing any green pick areas close to the ground, resistance to worms can lower, and it is important to monitor for the effect of worms with a WEC.

Post mortems have been valuable to distinguish between Ovine Johne's Disease, worms, or other causes of weight loss or scouring; and Mycoplasma ovis, Haemonchus, fluke, and other causes of anaemia.

Central Tablelands LLS

Orange: Nigel Gillan, DV (nigel.gillan@lls.nsw.gov.au

Orange retains a tinge of green, but still in need of rain!   

Parts of the Central Tablelands have received rain in the last few weeks, and some areas (particularly those of higher elevation) have more pasture cover than many other parts of the state. We have seen some high WormTest egg count results, as well as clinical cases of haemonchosis (barber's pole infections).  This is a good reminder to stay vigilant. 

Fly activity is also on the rise.

Western LLS

Bourke: Charlotte Cavanagh, VO (charlotte.cavanagh@dpi.nsw.gov.au)

There have been few WormTests submitted from the whole of the western region. WormTests are also usually performed as part of disease investigations, but to date, no worm infections of any note have been identified. 

Greater Sydney LLS

Sydney: Aziz Chowdhury, DV (azizul.chowdhury@lls.nsw.gov.au)

Severely dry and hot weather conditions are affecting every aspect of livestock management and human life. The severe to catastrophic fire warnings of the last several weeks are likely to continue until the end of this month. 

Due to hot and dry conditions with record low humidity (below 10%), minimum worm activity has been observed. Only one WormTest (WEC) report came through the lab, and it had medium to high levels of strongyle-type eggs in the count. No larval typing has been done, but barber’s pole (Haemonchus contortus) would be the most likely parasite affecting the mob.

However, small house fly activity has increased over the last few weeks and is likely to impact livestock and human life soon.   

Despite good rain just two months ago, the water levels of the dams are dropping very fast and many farmers have started destocking again.