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Queensland worm update - April 2013

Maxine Lyndall-Murphy, (maxine78@bigpond.com)

(Editor) Maxine may no longer be working for DAFF(T), but she has not forgotten the WormBoss news readers.  She offers some observations that bear thinking about.

40% of properties on the Weanersafe project ran Dorpers. Most of these enterprises used to run merinos and attributed productivity losses to 'nutritional' causes (easy to blame the grass) and didn't often / never drenched.  With Dorpers, every gram lost is important. One Thallon Dorper producer claims that his greatest productivity gain has been through learning to worm egg count - courtesy of DAFF.  He also initiated an egg counting day on his property - complete with a sheep’s gut nicely displaying nodule on the walls. 

As far as losses from Haemonchus are concerned, they are tied to the season. For the wool producer it's a visibility issue - can't see what's happening under the wool, and it's easy to pull the wool over one's eyes - but Dorper producers are very conscious of weight gain and constantly measure it.

Everyone can see deaths - or count those 800 weaners didn't come home.  

If worms were visible like cattle tick and buffalo fly producers would be more than happy to change behaviours.

It seems to me there are 2 levels of interest - those producers who understand worm issues and those who are indifferent.  Both groups understand that another kilo of meat or wool makes a lot of difference when prices are not as high as they would like to stay viable.