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Victoria worms, flies and lice update - February 2021

VIC WormBoss Worm Control Programs

VIC WormBoss Drench Decision Guides

Sheep

Goats

Sheep

Goats

Hamilton: Lexie Leonard, Livestock Logic (l.leonard@livestocklogic.com.au)

Key recommendations:

Following on from another month of mild weather and sporadic rainfall, worm management recommendations are staying the same looking forward to March. While the majority of WEC results coming through the lab remain higher on average than last year, we are seeing a growing divide between properties with frequent WEC monitoring and a solid drenching plan compared to those with a more ad hoc basis. This February approximately 44% of weaners tested require drenching, compared with 24% tested this time last year.

Weaner sheep generally will have higher worm burdens than adult sheep, and this can be due to both lower immunity in weaner sheep and their preference to graze closer to the ground. It usually takes sheep until they are 12 months old to develop strong immunity to worms, so any lambs younger than 12 months should be watched closely. WEC every 3–4 weeks between drenching and 4–5 weeks post drenching will ensure you don’t miss a spike in worm burdens that are growth-limiting. As we have seen from January and February, weaners and hoggets grazing pastures with short green pick are often returning WECs of 400+ eggs per gram (epg) four weeks post-drenching. Chasing green pick can be tempting while it is there, but often comes with more issues than it is worth.

Flies are starting to become more than a small problem, and the predicted weather for the next fortnight will be conducive to fly activity. A sound fly program revolves around reducing susceptibility of your sheep to flies and controlling environment condition that increase fly populations, like carcasses and rubbish in the paddock and yards. AWI have a recent webinar called It’s Fly Time which covers how to develop and implement a fly prevention plan.

Preparing early for lambing paddocks and weaner paddocks of winter will be crucial this year as we don’t anticipate any long periods of hot weather. Ensuring you plan paddocks so twin and maiden ewes lamb down on adequate feed, with lower-risk worm paddocks if available. Reducing large levels of dry feed in paddocks will ensure that any hot, dry weather we do get in March will provide some worm kill, as well as promoting fresh pasture growth in late Autumn for lambing ewes. If you have any concerns with developing a worm management plan for this year it is definitely worthwhile seeking professional advice.

For February 2021 state outlooks, please follow the links below:
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