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Victoria worms, flies and lice update - July 2017

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

Livestock Logic Recommendations

  • August is the danger month for worms in most years in south west Victoria
  • Seasonal conditions are still favourable for livestock due to a combination of plenty of feed and surprisingly, but uncharacteristically, pleasant environmental conditions

The conditions in south west Victoria have been phenomenal for the past 6 months or so. An awesome autumn break in March and April led to conditions becoming quite damp in May, but the last 6–7 weeks have been relatively dry and most welcome for lambing flocks. The most recent rainfall has been welcome as it has come without any really harsh lambing conditions, which is a plus.

Early drop lambs in the area look fantastic and you would have to think they will be 4–6 weeks ahead of normal years in terms of their body weight come the spring. It is uncommon for autumn and winter lambers to be able to lamb onto spring-like pastures but this year it has occurred, and lamb growth rates should be well ahead of normal years.

Worms have remained fairly quiet for most sheep due to the wonderful levels of feed for stock. As we get deeper into winter we would expect, as per most years, that worms will become more of an issue in August (as shown in graph below).

The week of Sheepvention (7th and 8th of August in Hamilton) is often one of our [Livestock Logic] biggest weeks for investigating mortality events relating to worm burdens. This is due to the increasingly shorter length of feed in the later stages of winter causing increased levels of worm larvae ingestion as sheep graze closer to the ground.

In summary, we urge producers to stay vigilant by monitoring their livestock, particularly high risk mobs, weaners and lambing ewes throughout August. Once spring arrives the frequency of testing can be reduced, but for the time being weaners need monitoring every 2–3 weeks and every month for older classes.