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Victoria worms, flies and lice update - June 2015

VIC WormBoss Worm Control Programs

VIC WormBoss Drench Decision Guides


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

Livestock Logic Key Recommendations

  • Next 2 months are the highest worm challenge period for weaners
  • Start thinking about lambing paddocks and avoid high egg count mobs in those paddocks
  • Be strategic about WECs in pregnant ewes. Monitor monthly and 3 weeks prior to lambing start date to help make informed drench decision.

Conditions in the south west of the state are reasonable and recent weather has been varied. A fortnight ago we had some very cold weather that Hamilton is renowned for, but the last few weeks have seen some sunny and warm conditions.

While not a worm issue, we have seen many cases of hypocalcaemia in both sheep and cattle that is a direct result of the drought last year. Paddocks have been left with nil dry standing feed and now fibre as a percentage of animals’ intake is very low. This is reducing calcium absorption resulting in clinical cases, even in non-pregnant and non-lactating animals off feed for extended periods. It is important for producers to be feeding out hay particularly to late gestation and lactating sheep and cattle with increased emphasis during periods of inclement weather.

Weaner egg counts have been on the rise over the last 3–4 weeks, but adult sheep egg counts mostly remain very low. Those with higher counts need to reflect on summer drench practices and monitoring frequency throughout the summer as it has been a good year to keep worm egg count levels low. We are now 10–12 weeks after the autumn break so we have confidence that egg counts that are still low in mature sheep are unlikely to suddenly increase, this gives us an ability to predict likely worm challenge over lambing for winter and spring lambing flocks.

The chart below shows how worm egg counts in the South West of Victoria spike throughout winter and remain high in the spring. This increases the need for regular monitoring during the winter months and spring.


Graph 1: Percentage of weaners requiring drenching from Livestock Logic Laboratory over the past 3 years. Shows need to monitor weaners very closely throughout July and until spring.