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Tasmania worm update - May 2013

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

Some of the state received about 25mm of rain last week to follow on from falls in March.  However, it is tighter than it has been for the last few years, and stock condition reflects this:  not desperate but few mobs of sheep would be candidates for the NZ version of "Biggest Loser".   The good news is that it has been exceptionally mild, and there is still time for substantial growth, provided we don't get a string of heavy frosts.

Eggs counts have remained pleasingly low.  Merino weaners always throw up a few surprises, but maintaining worms is a big part of their life's work.  Prime lambs on irrigated grass are also showing high counts.  However, most producers are racing to get them finished and in so-doing juggling the need to drench with withholding times.

The bad news is some disappointing drench test results.  On one day last week I was shown two tests with severe moxidectin resistance.  Now, while the test technique was less than perfect, it would be foolish to dismiss the results as artefact.     It really is time to start looking after the mectins, particularly the long acting formulations.  We do not need to use long-actings as a matter of course every winter, particularly in prime lamb mobs.  Devise a drench program that limits use so that the years where they are really beneficial we have a good chance of having a working product.