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Victoria worm update - February 2013

Tricia Veale, Benalla (triciav7@bigpond.com):

Very hot conditions, dry brown grass, little rain and high winds have caused North Eastern Victoria to become very fire prone. In this area there was 4mm of rain in January and only 2 mm so far for February.

Large fires have broken out in hilly country with many thousands of hectares and many animals destroyed. The support of the CFA and those who have given help to the affected farmers is wonderful. Many people are assisting with re-fencing and providing fodder.

The water levels in the dams are now rapidly falling and paddocks are depleted of grass and property owners are busy sourcing water and putting out feed.

Some worms however are surviving and being sheltered close to the ground. It's very important to test animals to determine the worm burden.

Now is the usual time for the second summer drench.

It's very important NOT to give a second summer drench unless it is really necessary.

Drenching when it's not needed will help the worms to get used to that chemical, which is how drench resistance begins. This is because you kill all the susceptible worms in the population … allowing the drench resistant ones to survive.

So if you are in doubt I strongly suggest that you get a worm egg count done. You may wish to test a group of younger sheep and some older ones to obtain a comprehensive picture of the worm status of your property.

Also, make sure that you have a plan of your drenching regime which makes the efficient drenches last as long as possible on your property.

It is a serious mistake to use one type of drench only every year for a few years. This actively encourages the appearance of resistant worms.

If you own a sheep property where Barber’s pole worms are present, then I suggest that you keep an eye out for these blood suckers. Get a larval culture done to identify the species of worms present.