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Tasmania worm update - February 2012

Paul Nilon, Nilon Farm Health, Tasmania (

We are under the spell of the most protracted dry spell since the autumn of 2009. Pastures are seriously dry and, in some cases, depleted. 

It’s not all bad. The poor worm control during the last two, wet summers can now be reversed. 

Because it was lush until December it is unlikely that a single summer drench will suffice. Therefore sheep on perennial pastures should receive a second summer drench, almost regardless of location. Don’t drench if a WEC comes in at less than 150epg. I would be surprised if many were so low.

Two warnings: firstly, graziers in the lower reaches of many river valleys may have become fluke havens following 2 wet years. Anaemic, ill-thrifty sheep, particularly weaners, grazing marshy riparian areas are prime candidates. Get a fluke test with your next WEC. 

Secondly, there have been a few reports of Haemonchus (Barber’s Pole) along the northeast coast. These are marginal Haemonchus areas but the series of wet autumns have favoured them. Graziers in the Tamar Valley, the upper parts of the Fingal valley and perhaps even around Westbury and Deloraine should keep this species as a possibility, particularly if the summer has been extended by irrigation.

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