Tasmania worms, flies and lice update - September 2017

Tasmania WormBoss Worm Control Programs

Tasmania WormBoss Drench Decision Guides

Sheep

Goats

Sheep

Goats


Perth: Paul Nilon, Nilon Farm Health (pandonilon@bigpond.com)

The season has definitely gone pear shaped.  August was dry and in early September heavy, late frosts and the relentless winds of the equinoxial gales have turned pastures a whiter shade of pale.  The top end of the Fingal Valley, 700 mm rainfall and God’s chosen acre, is very short and the mid-east coast is as dusty as the Gobi Desert.  Lambing is only now in full swing and many, if not most, mobs are lambing down on less than adequate pastures.

Two things have happened in the last month:  firstly, ewe egg counts have blown out in the run up to lambing.  No big surprise:  proceed with a pre-lambing drench if you have not already done so.  However, the tight pasture conditions mean that many mobs that have lost weight will lactate poorly.  Not only are the ewes more vulnerable to reinfection, but the lambs will start to graze at a few weeks of age and may be parasitised by lamb marking.  So, the next big decision will be whether to drench at marking.  Most prime lamb mobs in the north of the state should be OK.  In the Fingal Valley, Midlands and Derwent Valley (including Bothwell) look for light ewes and woody lambs. One or both may be scouring.  Drench both if needed, and plan for an early weaning.

Secondly, egg counts in merino hoggets have gone through the roof.  This happens every year and the advice (every year) is to let the egg counts blow out a bit to stimulate immunity.  This advice is predicated on the weaners having adequate nutrition going forward.  Because of the dry winter, hogget weights are down and some mobs are seriously parasitised.  Many mobs will need a spring drench to help them through until the first summer drench.  Use judgement: especially if the egg count is greater than 500 epg with scours, and sheep are grazing on poxy pasture.

It’s important that you do not chase a bit of fresh pick for the hoggets if it compromises the weaning plan.  Now is the time to decide on weaning paddocks.  Lock the hoggets up and feed grain if necessary.  Grain is (relatively) cheap and sheep valuable.