< Back to Outlooks Listing

Tasmania worm update - October 2013

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

Our wet rubbish weather has been replaced by windy rubbish weather.  The parasitologist at Mt Pleasant Lab said that some larvae observed during pasture larval counts had extra spicules, presumably to hang on to the grass during the incessant gale.  More importantly, the fishing season has been crap: so windy that most fly fisherman are sporting "blingy earrings" as a result of failed back casts.

Egg counts have remained higher than is preferred.  Lamb marking is in full swing and many clients have opted for a drench for ewes and lambs.  At least two clients have drenched ewes in advance of marking.  In spite of the egg counts and the clinical parasitism I've not heard of any worm-related losses.  No doubt there have been some, but compared to previous years (notably 2002) the poor situation has been controlled.  Obviously all Tasmanian producers read WormBoss.

Pasture availability has gone through the roof.  Between dilution of larvae and good nutrition the worm burden should ease.  Later lambers should give a pre-lamb drench, but the need for a lamb marking drench should diminish.  I also suggest that people let egg counts in 1yo Merinos run out a bit compared with Winter triggers.  While the common trigger for a weaner drench in Winter is 300epg, they can blow out to 500 or so provided they have plenty of pasture.  Sometime soon their natural resistance will kick in and, hey presto, the WECs drop.