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Tasmania worms, flies and lice update - March 2019

Tasmania WormBoss Worm Control Programs

Tasmania WormBoss Drench Decision Guides





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

I guess autumn tends to be dry here (except when they are wet like 2011), but this one seems exceptionally so. Even dry standing feed seems to be in short supply. Although adult sheep are generally in excellent condition after the late spring (and most cattle are obscenely fat), Merino weaners and parked finishing lambs are struggling. There are supplementary feeding decisions to be made (now, rather than in a month when it is still dry), but that is another story.

Egg counts in Merino weaners are running high, with plenty of Nematodirus (thin-necked intestinal worm). Give a second summer drench if you have not already done so. Also remember that the egg output from Nematodirus is capricious, and so drench at a lower worm egg count (WEC) of say, 150 eggs per gram (epg), if there is scouring.

Lambs finishing on perennial pastures and irrigated grass are really under the pump. These pastures are now likely to be highly contaminated, and additional contamination laid down will survive well into winter. Therefore, consider drafting off the bottoms (those not likely to be finished before the end of May) and protect them with a long-acting treatment, being mindful of different Export Slaughter Intervals (ESI). Finally, the late spring (and irrigation) may have given fluke a head start. If you have fluke-prone paddocks do a fluke test on stock that have grazed them after December 1. It might just be the year for a therapeutic drench in autumn, as well as the late autumn/early winter strategic drench.

Records: When I arrived at the client’s place he motioned me to the side-by-side. Thinking a paddock inspection was first up, I went to put my diary and computer in the office, but he called me to bring them to the vehicle. We went nowhere: the windscreen of his machine was festooned with numbers: lamb marking results, ewe mortalities, and (of course) WECs. There was even a small patch in front of the passenger’s seat for his children to doodle and emulate dad’s sophisticated record keeping. The system worked. Tim was able to give me all the information required.

When it comes to WECs most clients can tell me what a mob or age group returned, but not a paddock history of WECs. This is critical information, particularly at this time of the year when contamination is likely to survive into the winter (see this month’s feature article on the Mexican hat). So, whether you use a spreadsheet or a sheet of toilet paper: record WECs against paddocks.