Victoria worms, flies and lice update - January 2019

Hamilton: Andrew Whale, Livestock Logic (a.whale@livestocklogic.com.au)

Livestock Logic Key Recommendations:

  • Continue to closely monitor weaners on pasture
  • Conduct worm egg counts in ewes and the ram if soon to be joined
  • Drench weaners into containment zones to ensure worm burdens remain low
  • Take advantage of high worm egg counts in weaner mobs to conduct a drench resistance trial if one has not been done on your property in the last 3 years.

The season has continued to be good for livestock producers going into January. Relatively mild weather after the December rain has allowed well-managed pasture to generally stay green, and remain high in protein for young, growing stock. This season is tracking the same as the 2017 and 2018 seasons where there was plenty of standing dry feed, but it lacked in quality due to the late, December and January rains. Monitoring feed quality and supplementary feeding early is essential to manage ewe condition over the joining period for autumn lambers, and also when coming into the joining period for spring lambers.

Mild weather, green feed and periods of rain have ensured that the larval challenge on pastures has remained high, and will be expected to remain relatively high going into February. Weaner mobs, in particular, have been returning elevated worm egg counts 4–5 weeks after the December drench.  There has also been a sharp increase in the number of hogget and mature ewe mobs requiring drenching over the past four weeks. Worm egg count results are expected to plateau coming into February. However, weaner mobs should be monitored closely, every 3–4 weeks, especially if grazing green feed.

Levels of flystrike have remained relatively low overall with the majority of strike being seen in weaners. We expect flystrike risk to stay high for susceptible mobs over the next month. Lice burdens remain a significant problem for producers, and all producers are encouraged to review their biosecurity management, especially if dipping or backlining stock for lice eradication.


The graph shows the increased number of classes of stock particularly weaners requiring drenching this month, January 2019, compared to those in December 2018.
The graph shows the increased number of classes of stock particularly weaners requiring drenching this month, January 2019, compared to those in December 2018.