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Tasmania worms, flies and lice update - December 2016

Tasmania WormBoss Worm Control Programs

Tasmania WormBoss Drench Decision Guides

Sheep

Goats

Sheep

Goats


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

Since the last posting, the rain has eased a bit, although there have been decent falls (up to 50 mm) over northern areas in the last two weeks. The incessant wind has not only buggered the fishing, but also quickly moved the season towards summer mode. Notwithstanding, you can see from the pic (taken last weekend) that it will be month or so before the harvesters move into top gear.


Figure 1. Wheat at Palmerston. Source: Paul Nilon.
Figure 1. Wheat at Palmerston. Source: Paul Nilon.

The worm honeymoon continues. In the run-up to weaning egg counts have been very low: I wonder if some fiend has diluted the WEC flotation fluid [Ed: saturated salt solution] used at Mt Pleasant lab. So, enjoy it while it lasts.

Because the spring has been cool and wet it is likely that the Trichs. (black scour worm) will have survived the spring. While pasture contamination may be low, it will not take post-weaning lambs very long to multiply the contamination to critical levels in the New Year. Cool, moist summers equals black scour worms. So, monitor the weaned lambs relentlessly: every 3 weeks and whenever you see a scant black scour on the hocks.

Irrigators in the north of the state should also be alert for barber’s pole worm (BPW). I suspect (hope) that the super-dry autumn may have derailed their tilt at the presidency, but we were surprised by Donald Trump’s ascendency, so be aware. If you have weak, anaemic lambs with high egg counts (1000s) you may have BPW. This can be confirmed by a larval culture, but the time it takes to get this done makes a PM a good option. BPW is not a scour worm, but you can reasonably expect the lambs to have both BPW and scour worms, so affected lambs may be scouring as well.

Incessant wind has kept the flies under control. However, my reseller spies tell me that dicyclanil and cyromazine are going out in truck-loads. As mentioned last month this is a good idea.

The value of a thorough investigation

Finally, some thoughts on other causes of scouring. This week I examined a mob of manky weaners 10 days after a drench. The fact that they should have been weaned is not the issue. The grazier does his own worm counts, and finding the count in both ewes and lambs to be zero, he started to look about for alternative causes. He suspected Yersinia: it turned out to be coccidia, which is rare in Tasmania. The lambs had no worms on post mortem (PM), no gross lesions consistent with Yersinia and we were able to use his worm counting kit to demonstrate coccidial oocysts in the 10s of thousands. The point is that many people would redrench without investigation. This not only wastes resources, but it also wastes time, during which the lambs would have continued to die. The simple message is investigate before you drench repeatedly.

Happy Christmas and New Year. I hope your Christmas stocking is as full as a Japanese commuter train. Thank you for your feedback during the year and keep it coming.