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Tasmania worm update - December 2013

Paul Nilon, Nilon Farm Health, Tasmania (

Now, have you ever had a computer glitch that, no matter what you do, you keep getting an error message?  "Error 4545#:  the file syntax is illegal".

The weather here is much the same. It's repeatedly cold, wet and windy.  The wind is an irritant. The cold and wet are creating the potential for an almost unprecedented worm season.  Weaning is well underway, and the lambs are going on to exceptional tucker, but the high paddock contamination is proving difficult to manage.  

Little can be added to last month's missive except to say it's imperative to monitor all weaned lambs every 3 weeks to make sure you don’t miss the boat.  It's highly likely that the lambs will need additional drenches over the summer and autumn.  

A few random thoughts:

  • Protect your fodder crops:  brassicas and grass seed crops may be worm free in a sea of contamination.  Drench on to them.
  • Do not rely on hay paddocks to be extraordinarily clean.  Because it's been so cool the spring decontamination of these paddocks may be less successful than usual.
  • Finally, just because it's a wormy season, don't presume all cases of ill-thrift are due to worms (even though common things occur more commonly than uncommon things).  Make sure your trace element status is good.  I’ve also seen cases of Eperythrozoan causing deaths.
  • Our worms are called Scour worms for a reason.  If you have a clinical picture that does not include scouring, look for another explanation.

Happy  Christmas!

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