< Back to Outlooks Listing

Tasmania worms, flies and lice update - February 2020

Tasmania WormBoss Worm Control Programs

Tasmania WormBoss Drench Decision Guides





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

A widespread rain event on 18/19 of the month gave particular relief to the Fingal Valley and upper east coast. Other areas remain dryish, but not absolutely desperately dry after the rains in mid-January and early February. Nothing like the amounts of rain the tablelands and Gippsland regions of Victoria received after the fires, but still useful.

In line with the rain, worm egg counts have crept up a bit in Merino weaners and, to a lesser extent, prime lambs. There have been few counts in adult sheep, but the “observe scour from the road” index does not show too many issues.

The fly season has been quiet due to the cold windy and generally dry season. This last rain and some noticeable humidity may change things a bit, so watch out.

Second summer drenches should be completed by now, or at least planned. Ugly, fat crossbred ewes on fresh air and scenery do not need drenching.

Calves in confinement:  Some producers have weaned months in advance of the usual weaning time, and are feeding their calves in confinement or in sacrifice paddocks. Weights vary from about 140 kilograms (kg) to over 200 kg. Most of the issue with these guys is feeding them appropriately to gain weight at a reasonable pace (say, greater than 0.5 kg/day). A 150 kg calf not gaining weight is vulnerable to wind from a passing truck.

Interestingly, not all early weaners were drenched at weaning. This is a grave mistake. If cows were condition score (CS) 4 there was little need to wean. If they were 2–2.5, as most were, the lactation would have forced the calves to graze early, thereby exposing them to worms. Given these animals are so fragile, they need every help they can get. While the recent rain may foreclose their stay in detention, it will also activate any residual larvae on the pasture. So, drench them if they have not been drenched, or consider a drench when they are put back onto the burgeoning pasture.