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Tasmania worms, flies and lice update - July 2014

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

Between Launceston and Perth there is a wee gully that normally struggles to support a Saharan yabby. However, when the subsoil is full it runs a banker in anticipation of the next shower. When this happens you can be sure the Trich larvae will be abundantly available, and so it is now. Except for a prodigiously dry February, the year is tracking at about average rainfall, but after last year’s wet spring and summer it only takes a cloud shadow to have water oozing over our poorly drained soils.

Last month I (stupidly) predicted a medium risk year for worms. How this has changed. The almost-big wet, and a series of ball-tearing frosts in the last week, have increased larval availability and reduced pasture quality. Merino weaners are at high risk of worms and the risk is reflected in bounding counts within 4 weeks of a drench. Most ewe mobs are still holding on well.

Reconsider the need for a long-acting product for weaners. If counts have rebounded to trigger levels quickly, and if pasture availability and bodyweights dictate supplementary feeding, it may be time to act. I urge you use a priming drench with all long-acting products, and monitor their efficacy through the payout period. If you get good worm control from a capsule or LA the rapid larval die-off that occurs most springs may make the paddocks grazed by these sheep candidates for this year’s weaners.

Now, we all know how useful the WormBoss notes are. However, there is a container-load of high class info on the other “Boss” websites. Most people have set routines for fly control, but I urge you look at Brian Horton’s FlyBoss tools to refine treatment times and chemical choice.