< Back to Outlooks Listing

Victoria worm update - January 2013

Tricia Veale, Benalla (triciav7@bigpond.com)

There was very little rain in North Eastern Victoria recently, 32 mm for December and 4mm so far for January. The abundant grasses and very dry conditions have sparked small fires on several local properties, but all have fortunately been extinguished.

The terrible fires in other states including Tasmania and NSW have caused severe property and stock losses.

Very sincere condolences to those affected by these dreadful conditions!

Worm egg counts are generally low to moderate here. Farmers are still sending in lots of tests to check out the situation.

Water in the dams is presently lowering rapidly due to the very hot conditions. If you see a green scum on any of your dams it is a good idea to get a water sample examined. Most of the algae are generally found to be harmless but in some cases a bloom of toxic Blue-Green algae (BGA) may be present. Toxic blooms have already been reported this year on some dams in this area. Then arises the awful situation of telling the owner that the dam water is not suitable for stock use.

There are many types of algae that bloom. Most of them are harmless to stock, however there are 5 types of toxic BGAs.

The major pollutants that stimulate excessive algal growth are plant nutrients, nitrogen and phosphorus, which are contained in human sewerage, animal manures, fertilizers, detergents and also result from soil erosion.

If you are confronted with an algal bloom in your dam the first thing to do is stay out of the water and do not drink it (even if filtered and boiled). Then, keep stock away and provide an alternative water supply. Don’t spray water containing algal blooms on to pastures, crops, grapes, vegetables or fruit. Then get the algae causing the problem identified. Only a microscopic examination in a laboratory will confirm the types of algae present.

Suggest that you consider supporting the people who have lost homes and stock in the terrible bushfires. Send donations to organisations that are helping the victims or give practical help wherever possible. Fodder is needed for those who have lost pastures and fencing is required in burnt areas.

I think that the work and dedication of the Fire Services to our communities is wonderful!

Good wishes to all for and a happy, safe and prosperous 2013!