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Tasmania worms, flies and lice update - July 2016

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

It’s just as well The BoM predicted a low probability of above average winter rainfall; imagine how wet it would have been if it had really rained. As it is, every little shower seems to send sheets of water running across the paddocks and bloats the gullies and creeks. As I write, the northern rivers are all in flood or under flood watch. And at 7:30 this morning Liawenee had a temp of -4.3°C with an apparent temp of -15.6°C. At least the Haemonchus will be inactive for the next few days.

There have been a few interesting developments.

Nearly all egg counts are now above zero: no big surprise as there have been more than 2 months of favourable conditions, and many ewes are close to lambing, which is when we expect the egg counts to blow out. Overall, egg counts have remained pleasingly low. Notwithstanding, there are some worrying signs: there has been a late diagnosis of haemonchus on a northern irrigation property, and a client running lambs (rising 1yo) on green perennial pastures lost sheep to Trich (scour worms) infections.

So the precis is:

  • While pasture conditions are now fair to good (most places should reach pasture targets for lambing), all the water lying around is a good predictor of Trich infections to come.
  • Most prime lamb ewes are in good condition and should be robust to worms.
  • Some Merino ewes on the east coast, lower midlands and Derwent Valley are light after the dry autumn. These sheep will be vulnerable to parasitism.
  • Get some WECs done pronto to see what is going onto pastures. Consider an LA (long-acting) product if:
    • Ewes average condition score is less than 3.
    • Lambing paddocks have been grazed by lambs after mid-April, or are currently being grazed by ewes with high WECs.
    • Lambing paddocks will fall short of the requisite pasture quantities.

Note: Cut additional firewood so you can excogitate the problem from the comfort of the office.