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Tasmania worms, flies and lice update - January 2016

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

New Year’s greetings to all clients and readers of this wee report. Twenty-sixteen has started as dry as the previous year finished. The extraordinary system which flooded huge areas of the eastern mainland refused to cross Bass Strait. It has been uncomfortably warm and windy and as dry as whatever simile/epithet you care to muster.

Not surprisingly, worms are not a big issue. Some properties previously diagnosed with barber’s pole can still find the worms under irrigation, but there have been no new finds. Apart from that nearly all counts have been less than 100 eggs per gram (epg). This means that the time to the second summer drench can be extended. Not an excuse to stop monitoring, but realistically the counts should remain low until well after it rains.

There is always, a but! So, but, be aware of the damage Nematodirus can do. Back when the world was young someone notable told us Nematodirus was not highly pathogenic. Be that as it may, it’s pathogenic enough to kill lambs when it’s the sole species. Post mortem examination of some ‘crookies’ in a mob of about-to-be weaned lambs revealed nothing except Nematodirus. These buggers survive when all else perishes. It’s likely they will be the dominant species for some months. Use a low count as a trigger as they lay eggs sporadically.

One of the PM’s (post mortems) was chockers with tapeworm. I mean, if you could get the lamb to swallow some prawns you could sell the mess as spaghetti carbonara. Now, the difficulty is not the tapes: it’s convincing experienced stockmen that they are not a problem. So, take the time to check the PB (ParaBoss) website about it.