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Tasmania worms, flies and lice update - November 2015

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

“Is your cough dry, sir”?

“Dry as Barry McKenzie.” Blank look. “Dry as the midlands.” Another blank look from the earnest young pharmacist who was both culturally and geographically challenged. I pulled out my phone to show him the picture of how dry the midlands are. He shook his head in disbelief.

“No worms could survive there,” I said.

“I’m sorry sir, I though you wanted a cough medicine, not a wormer.”

 


Dry conditions in the midlands, November 2015

So, what do you do in the face of such overwhelming “un-irony” and such prodigious parchedness? Well, you take a trip to Taralga to see how the world should be.


Taralga

Not surprisingly, in the current dry conditions egg counts have remained low.

The most common question has been: “Should I drench at weaning”?

The answer is a simple yes, unless:

  • The ewes are being sent to non-perennial pastures (i.e., the bush or to do clean-up duty).
  • The lambs are being put onto contaminated ground with a likely move to clean ground in a short time (say, within 2–3 weeks). Sometimes this is the case with finishing lambs going onto irrigated paddocks.

Remember that for most people the weaning drench is also the first summer drench. The dry conditions provide an unprecedented chance for the summer drench to have real traction. While worms may be the last thing on your mind, chances are there will be some sort of break in the autumn (that’s an historical probability, not idle speculation), and we now have a chance to go into a “worm-free” winter for the first time since 2009.

There will be little benefit in a second summer drench if conditions remain dry. Indeed, drenching when it is so parched and bare only promotes resistance.

On the other side of the coin some clients are gearing up to finish lambs on crop and special fodder paddocks. Clean paddocks need to be kept clean. Even modest worm burdens will knock growth rates. Always drench onto clean paddocks and monitor fanatically. It’s hard to decontaminate a fodder crop once worms have established.