Arthur Le Feuvre, Warwick (email@example.com):
Generally worm activity across the State is very low, mostly due to droughty conditions. The exception is around the granite Belt/Eastern Downs where rain fell.
While most western sheep producers are hoping for an early Spring/Summer storm or two, it might pay to think about how to make sure that worms do not make an early comeback with the rain.
Few farmers realise that Barber’s Pole Worm is hypobiotic, meaning that it is capable of what is equivalent to “hibernating”. It does this by parking itself in the gut wall during hard times (drought etc), and re-emerging once the feed eaten greens up and conditions for the sheep (and the worms) are much more favourable.
This attribute explains why WECs suddenly pick up soon after the first storms following drought.
So the message is: concentrate on drought management, but don’t forget the worms if it starts to rain.