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Victoria worms, flies and lice update - June 2017

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

Livestock Logic Recommendations

  • Seasonal conditions continue to favour lower worm burdens.
  • Egg counts remain relatively stable across all classes of stock.
  • Worm burdens are strongly influenced by nutrition, and well fed sheep in good condition are better able to handle worm burdens.

The last 3-4 months in the south west of Victoria have been phenomenal after a very early break with great follow up rain, and while it was bordering on too wet in early May, we have had a relatively dry June, which has been ideal for stock. Anyone who has lambed early should see great results at lamb marking as feed on offer couldn’t be better for this time of year, and the weather has been kind.

Many crossbred ewes joined to terminal rams will be lambing in July and August, and conditions look ideal for these sheep with good feed levels and paddocks relatively dry. Egg counts for all classes of sheep have been relatively low, which is a reflection of the feed levels in paddocks. The spring-like pastures are without a doubt reducing larval intake levels due to the dilution effect of such large quantities of pasture in paddocks. The graph below shows that whilst drenching levels are slightly above those of last year, they are nowhere near the level we thought they would be after such a long spring and early break this year.

It is important to note that whilst this is the average level of drenching for our clients, some producers do check worm levels regularly and hence would have drenched sheep, if required, over the summer and early autumn. If you have not monitored in recent times then you may have massive worm burdens due to continued contamination of paddocks.

As we get into winter we will no doubt see reduced pasture growth and experience environmental conditions that will cause animals to be stressed, and so we will expect to see higher worm egg counts in July and August than we are currently seeing. So stay alert over the coming weeks and monitor young and high risk stock in particular, before worms cause production loss.