Paul Nilon, Nilon Farm Health, Tasmania (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Our wonderful spring has hit the wall after 10 days of dry winds. The irrigators are going flat out and the rivers are dropping like bat shit under the banyan tree. Parasitically, this is fine. Strategic drenches should work better than most years.
Drench lambs at weaning, as well as ewes and wethers that will be staying on permanent pastures rather than being sent to Siberia.
There is one group of ewes that should not be neglected: the 1 year olds that have had a lamb. Compared with older ages they have some catch-up to do. They should be treated well, so this means permanent pasture or crop, and therefore should be drenched. Even if they are going bush or doing crop-cleanup duty consider a drench to give them every chance of getting up to speed.
This is not the year to delay weaning (no year is, but certainly not when the green is fading before your eyes). Merino weaners should be imprint fed in anticipation of needing grain. For prime lambs, make decisions on what can be sold as suckers and wean the rest.
By now, most ewes have insufficient milk for a cup of tea so be realistic in what will finish as a sucker.
Keep a tight rein on the parasites to reduce dagging and the risk of flies. Unlike other parts of Australia it is not mandatory to treat for flies at weaning, depending on shearing/crutching times and the time available to manage the risk.