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Victoria worms, flies and lice update - March 2018

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

Livestock Logic recommends that

  • mature sheep if not drenched or egg counted since early February should be checked now

Livestock Logic advises that

  • seasonal conditions over the last few months have been good for reducing worm contamination issues on pastures
  • it is important to know the worm levels in your stock heading into autumn conditions
  • monitoring frequency can be reduced until the autumn break as we are not seeing worm infections occurring 5-6 weeks post drenching as was the case earlier in the year
  • autumn contamination of pastures will lead to nasty worm burdens in winter and spring

We have had, over the last few months (100 days), a hot and dry summer with no real rain events except for one light fall of 10 mm in February. This has been a blessing for worm levels, which were incredibly high in December and January, resulting in many weaners needing monthly drenching during this period.

Unfortunately, the hot, dry weather has been a major contributor to the fires in south west Victoria and has also hindered the production of good quality feed from summer crops for young stock.

When the autumn break finally arrives there will be the potential for considerable numbers of worms to be present on pasture as large numbers of larvae would have survived the summer within faeces. For this reason, monitoring (WormTest) post the autumn break will be critical. 

  • weaners will need to be checked 4-5 weeks post the autumn break, and
  • mature sheep at 6-8 weeks post the break depending on how rapidly the weaner counts rise.

We urge producers who have not drenched or egg counted mature sheep since early February to check them now as there is the potential for high levels of pasture contamination to be still occurring, as we expect that animals would have ingested large numbers of worm larvae in the January period or even earlier.