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Queensland worms, flies and lice update - September 2016

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

With many properties already lambed, it’s time to plan for weaning, specifically developing worm-safe weaning paddocks and choosing effective weaning drenches. Both will be needed this year.

But firstly, there are predictions around for deaths of young sheep from haemonchosis by New Year. To prove the nay-sayers wrong, monitor minimum temperatures; 18°C is the number to watch, the worms become active at this temperature; above 22°C at night the worm cycle will be in full swing.

WormTest each month, WormTest multiple mobs.

Worm-safe paddocks are about spelling, grazing with cattle, and/or grazing with sheep that have received a very effective drench, but only in the 21 days after the end of the recognised protection (kill) period for that drench. That’s 21 days after a short acting drench, or 21 days after the pay-out period of a longer acting drench. During that time, worms may be developing in your sheep, but will not yet be mature enough to produce eggs onto the pastures.

Drench choice: will you use multi-active combinations or stick with drench rotations? Twenty years ago, the November drench was when producers rotated from one drench group to the next i.e. white to clear drenches, and used that drench for the next 12 months. Current best practice states that the cross protection afforded by combinations of different drench actives are far more effective in removing drench–resistant worms.

The Barbervax® vaccination product is now registered for all ages of sheep and has proven ability to significantly enhance barber’s pole worm control and is an alternative given the current unavailability of naphthalophos (Rametin®), if drench resistance is severe on your property.

Further expected rain may increase the risk of diseases associated with warmth and moisture such as flystrike. Preventative treatments should be considered this year. 

Texas: Noel O’Dempsey, Sheep Veterinary Consultant (odempseyn@gmail.com)

With the rain and the warming weather, I would expect a rapid build-up of barber’s pole in most flocks. Regular worm egg counting (WormTest) is essential. However, there is not yet any evidence of rising worm levels at my property, ‘Linallie’, near Texas.