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Queensland worms, flies and lice update - June 2021

QLD WormBoss Worm Control Programs

QLD WormBoss Drench Decision Guides

Sheep

Goats

Sheep

Goats

Brisbane: Maxine Murphy, Veterinary Parasitologist (maxine@paraboss.com.au)

A week of "active" weather has been forecast by the Bureau of Meteorology, with southern parts of Queensland set to see showers and storms later in the week.

Currently, temperatures are cool, and very cold at night, and not at all to Barber’s Pole’s liking. But don’t be complacent, wormy sheep will continue to drop eggs onto pastures, but the eggs are unlikely to hatch under the current temperatures. So for the next few weeks, keep monitoring. Take worm tests every six to eight weeks, depending on where you are. Less often in the drier areas and more often if your sheep are on wetter pastures.

With lambing imminent on many properties, concerns are for the ewes and any early drop lambs. Pastures should be low-worm risk so that lambs are not setback by an infection early in life. At around lambing time, the natural immunity ewes have to Barber’s Pole infections, falls off with protein being redirected away from worm immunity to lamb growth and milk formation. This relaxation of immunity begins in the last few weeks before lambing and continues well into lactation. Therefore, producers are strongly advised to worm test within the two- to three-week period before lambing to determine the best way to manage the ewe worm burden. There will also be time for a short-acting drench without the risk of mis-mothering or pregnancy toxaemia, especially in ewes carrying twins. If not managed, worm burdens will impact the ewe's capacity during lambing and lactation and further contaminate the pastures for the lambs-at-foot. 

If lambing is in early spring, paddocks still have time to be prepared for this event and can be grazed without restriction provided the maximum daytime temperatures are consistently below 18°C. If they are not, use spelling strategies including cross-grazing with cattle, cropping or haymaking. Adult sheep with negligible worm count can be grazed for 20 days after an efficient drench.

While the mid-length (some combined with vaccine) and long-acting mectin/ML (macrocyclic lactone) products provide convenience, they are better off reserved for the higher risk times of autumn and summer.  A long-acting product may well be warranted in those years with good June rainfall and if sheep are confined to higher ground. The downside to using a long-acting product when few larvae are on pasture is that these products may well exacerbate drench resistance — just another reason to factor low-worm pasture development into your management plan. 

If you are buying in weaners, don’t forget to drench all these introduced sheep with a combination of no less than four unrelated drench actives with at least one of these being the newest drench actives: monepantel (Zolvix®) or derquantel (with abamectin — Startect®). This can be done using multi-active (combination) and/or single-active products concurrently — up the race with one product, then up the race again with the next.

Do not mix different drenches unless the label states you can, different products may be incompatible.

 

For June 2021 state outlooks, please follow the links below:
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