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

NSW WormBoss Worm Control Programs

NSW WormBoss Drench Decision Guides






Central West LLS

Coonamble: Jillian Kelly, DV (

Hot and dry conditions mean that worm activity is low, with no wormy sheep detected clinically or on faecal worm egg count. Stock numbers are at an all-time low, with further destocking due to the ongoing dry conditions. Small black house flies are abundant and are causing immense worry to animals and humans. They are increasing the risk of marking infections and pink eye and many producers are using fly repellents on stock and companion animals. Producers are urged to look at the label and use products suitable and specific for fly prevention and control, rather than using dual-purpose products that may have an impact on internal parasite drench resistance. There have been regular dust storms with no rain, so other fly species are not active.

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

Not much more to add from September!

In this season there is great benefit for conducting worm tests prior to drenching. Most worm test results have shown that local sheep flocks have very low egg counts, and there is no production benefit to drenching. Reaching for the drench gun may, in fact, do more harm than good, by increasing the likelihood of developing drench resistance on your property. 

Riverina LLS

Young: Eliz Braddon, DV ( and Evie Duggan, DV (

In the Young area, we have received 11 worm egg count (WEC) tests for October, mainly from 2 properties testing multiple mobs. The results of the WECs highlight the variability of mobs. One property ranged from 140 eggs per gram (epg) to a high of 1360 epg, all in lactating ewe mobs. Similarly, another property had barber’s pole (Haemonchus contortus) burdens ranging from 632 epg to 4280 epg. The take-home message—don't rely on assumptions of your neighbour’s information. Test your own mobs! Similarly, when moving ewes into confinement feeding, induction drenching should be done with consideration of the WEC of the mob and drench program of the individual property. To discuss your property and management, please call your district veterinarian. 

Wagga Wagga:   Emily Stearman, DV ( and Dione Howard, DV (

Worm egg counts in the central Riverina have been minimal this month, however, now is an important time to be completing WormTests in mobs prior to drenching. WormTest results are essential to drench decision-making and mob management if producers are yet to wean lambs, or have decided to confinement feed over the coming months. Technical support through the process of collection, submission and interpretation of results is available—call your local District Veterinarian. 

Northern Tablelands LLS

Inverell: Andrew Biddle, DV (

Seasonally, there has been no significant change in the season for sheep or worms.

Drought conditions across the region during lambing had a devastating impact on those flocks joined in autumn in the hope of a spring break.

Hand-feeding lambing ewes in containment is a delicate balance between nutrition, feeding behaviour, frequency of disturbing ewes and the ability of those ewes to count and remember where they left their lamb/s.

Even the best considered well-managed systems have suffered increased losses.

One message for our region’s sheep producers is about the increased selection for resistance put on drenches when used in seasons like this. There are limited numbers of worm larvae in refugia at the moment, so when drenching, any worms surviving treatment will be resistant and likely to make up a large percentage of future worm populations.

Our drought message remains:

Look critically at feed on hand, funds to purchase feed and the nutritional requirements of stock on hand. Consider water security.

If the sums don't add up, sell stock sooner rather than later while they are desirable in the market.

Don't guess or self-assess. ASK FOR ADVICE

Murray LLS

Albury: Mark Corrigan, DV (

There have been very few worm egg counts (WECs) in the Eastern part of Murray Local Land services over the past month. Rainfall over the last 3 months has generally been below half the average rainfall for this time of year. Later spring lamb producers are now towards the end of lamb marking while for the early spring lamb producers, weaning is in full swing. At weaning, lambs should be drenched onto a clean paddock with an effective broad-spectrum, and preferably multi-active, drench. A post worming worm egg count is recommended to assure that the drench used on the lambs was effective. Monitoring of WECs should continue to allow appropriate drenching as necessary even though the immediate outlook is dry.

Deniliquin: Scott Ison, DV ( and Linda Searle, DV (

The conditions in the west continue to dry off. These conditions are not ideal for worm survival which correlates with the lack of clinical cases seen and worm test data available.

South East LLS

Bega: Mark Doyle, DV (

There have not been many routine Worm Egg Counts (WECs) submitted, BUT, I would encourage everyone to not only start thinking about worm testing but to ACT now.

There have been cases of acute death in local sheep confirmed to be due to barber’s pole worm. Please be vigilant, with a little bit of rain and the warmer weather, worms are already back in abundance in some areas. I would not only encourage everyone to monitor their situation but enact their worm management plan for the warm (fingers crossed) wet season soon to be upon us.

Yass: Fiona Kelk, DV ( and Alexandra Stephens, DV (

Worm egg counts (WECs) done in the Yass region have shown average counts around 700–1000 eggs per gram with greater than 75% of the worm eggs being barber’s pole. In some ways, this seems surprising given the dry conditions; however, during the winter there were barber’s pole worms showing up in many of the WECs. The 20 mm of rain received about a month ago, and the warm conditions combined with a few further small showers, seem to have got the barber’s pole cycle started. 

Monitoring and treating for this worm may need to be implemented much earlier than the usual first summer drench for scour worms, usually in December. 

My advice for sheep producers in the south-east is to WormTest, particularly the hoggets.

Drenching lambs at weaning is a strategic measure and is always recommended. To reduce selection for drench resistance, it is essential to ensure an effective drench is used, especially against barber’s pole.  Where there is no information on drench effectiveness, a combination drench type is most likely to be effective both for worm control and to reduce the development of drench resistance.

Producers are encouraged to do drench resistance tests, or at a minimum, a worm test 10–14 days after drenching to check the efficacy of the drench you just used. Both a drench resistance test and a drench check done on properties in the south-east have shown emerging resistance of Haemonchus to the triple drench category, showing the importance of including the newer class drenches, unless there is clear and current evidence that other options are still effective.

Greater Sydney LLS: Aziz Chowdhury, DV (

Greater Sydney region has had a good amount of rain (50–100 mm) over the last month resulting in green pasture and plenty of good feed for livestock. There has been a noticeable restocking trend since the last rain. 

However, worm monitoring is still at a minimum in the region with only a couple of worm egg count (WEC) tests processed through EMAI. In the Sydney region, barber's pole worm is still the main culprit. 

One flock of 30 sheep on the Central Coast has (unsurprisingly) shown white drench resistance in the last month. The flock was drenched with Panacur© (fenbendazole) and 2–3 weeks later the WEC showed high egg count. Farmers are encouraged to do a post-drench WEC to check the efficacy of the drench used. 

For October 2019 state outlooks, please follow the links below:
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