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Victoria worms, flies and lice update - August 2019

Hamilton: Andrew Whale, Livestock Logic (a.whale@livestocklogic.com.au) and Lexie Leonard, Livestock Logic (l.leonard@livestocklogic.com.au)

  • As we come into spring, animal health and weight gains are expected to improve
  • Subclinical worm burdens can prevent peak production in at-risk classes of stock
  • Close monitoring of worm egg counts and mob health remains important throughout spring

Conditions are looking promising in south-west Victoria, despite a relatively dry August. Recent rain has kept hopes up for a good spring, but if below-average rainfall continues, high-risk stock and feed levels will need to be well managed to maximise production. The Hamilton region is about 100 mm behind in rainfall compared this year compared to this time last year. 

There has been a moderate number of worm mortality cases this winter, which fits in with the slightly below-average year for rainfall. Stock that has been well managed over the summer and autumn period are showing lower than normal worm burdens thanks to the extended dry period over the summer. While worm egg counts (WECs) have generally remained low–moderate, there have been many instances of higher WEC’s, and frequent drenching has been the result. It is important to continue to monitor stock as feed levels also remain below-average and may stay so into spring if further rain does not eventuate. Spring is when worm burdens are generally at their highest in all classes of animals and can hinder peak stock production. Monitoring is most important in this years’ and last years’ lambs and calves, and any light stock needing to put on condition. Maximising spring pasture is the easiest way to reduce supplementary feeding over summer and autumn, and much like last year, grain and hay are expected to be scarce, so a bit of forward planning can go a long way. 

This time of year can provide a good opportunity to have a drench resistance test done on your property as WECs increase in young stock. It is very important to have current and relevant information about the drench status on your property so a drench management plan can be formulated coming into summer. 

With temperatures remaining cold, and moisture levels lower than normal, flies are not expected to be a problem this September.