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South Australian worm, flies and lice update - May 2014

Adelaide: Colin Trengove, Sheep Health Lecturer (UA Roseworthy campus) (

The weather gods are very confused in SA. After a great start to the season extending back to February in many parts of the state and good follow up rains we've had a reversal in May. Adelaide is heading for its 10th day above 22 degrees equalling a 1918 record and corresponding reduced rainfall. The impact on worms and crops/pasture has been minor except for continued warm soils and above average growth rates. 

Worm egg counts indicate similar variability around the agricultural areas ranging from 0 to 975 epg. All this indicates is that WEC is a product of animal physiological status, drenching and grazing history plus local environmental conditions. Without regular monitoring the need for a drench to prevent production loss is at best a guess. Thirty dollars for a WEC is money well spent—especially for ewes prior to lambing at this time of year. 

While mild conditions have suited worm larvae survival on pasture the low rainfall has not encouraged fly strike, with negligible reports. 

It is considered by some that shedding sheep do not carry lice. Dorpers have been found with lice in the Dublin Saleyards in each of the last two weeks and serve only to highlight the apparent prevalence of lice i.e. if Dorpers have them, plenty of wooled sheep will also. 


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