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Tasmania worm update - September 2012

Paul Nilon, Nilon Farm Health, Tasmania (

Most areas of the state have had a start to spring, although the east coast and Fingal Valley are quite dry. Here in the north it is very wet, the grass is growing and the ewes look good. It's time to plan weaning paddocks. The first comment is to be realistic about the number of lambs that will be finished straight off mum - it's better to wean the majority early to make use of green tucker. The second point is that good worm control is only part of the equation. Nutritional adequacy is the main goal. This means at least 100kg of green pasture. Hay aftermaths often fall short in quantity and quality. Grain stubbles (the second or third move after weaning in Tasmania) rely on spilt grain and green weeds. No additive makes cereal stubble nothing more than high-class cardboard.

The weaning drench needs to be a working drench. For ewes it is often the first summer drench. Lambs need all the help they can get. My clients are being pushed towards triple O.P. combinations to preserve long-acting mectins. I have reservations about OP's as weaning drenches because lambs spend the days after weaning, patrolling the fence, and not eating or drinking. If you are on an OP rotation, consider monepantel or a triple abamectin as an alternative. With the former, remember the ESI. Long-acting products should only be considered in exceptional circumstances. During the spring there is a rapid decline in larval availability, so long-acting drenches are rarely needed, even if the spring has been wet. A wet summer is a different kettle of fish, and sometimes long acting drenches are recommended in February/March.

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