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Tasmania worms, flies and lice update - June 2015

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

In the last month many areas in the north have received between 50–75mm in dribs and drabs, but there has been much less in the lower midlands, Derwent Valley and east coast. Across the state it has been cold: day upon day of heavy frosts. Apart from damage to simian scrotums, the frosts will slow growth if the dry conditions have not done so.

Egg counts have remained relatively low, but there is enough surface moisture to get things moving. Importantly, body condition scores are dropping, making all sheep classes vulnerable to parasites, and more likely to shed substantial contamination. Do your utmost to maintain body condition. It will pay dividends in lamb survival, as well as limiting parasitic damage.

It’s time to consider pre-lambing drenching. Subscribers know my views on the need to limit use of long-acting products so that they still work when we really need them. While the autumn has been a relatively worm-free time, tight pasture conditions and declining body condition may undo the good work. Going out on a limb I suggest that many prime lamb flocks will be robust enough to get through without long-acting products (indeed, some may not need a pre-lamb treatment at all), while the condition of many merino flocks in the midlands argues in favour of a long-acting. Contact your independent advisor to nut out the decision.

Producers in heavy fluke areas should give a strategic fluke drench, if they have not already done so. The frosts will have stopped transmission of all fluke except those infecting Antarctic seals.

Finally, changes are afoot at Paraboss. These notes are written at the request, urgings and threats of one Arthur Le Feuvre. Art has driven Wormboss since its inception 10 years ago. All sheep industries owe Art a huge debt of gratitude for his tireless work on the Wormboss, and before that as a “sheepo” in western Queensland. While the sheep industry may have deserted Queensland, Art never left the sheep industry. Well done Arthur. Travel well and enjoy your retirement.