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Victoria worms, flies and lice update - March 2020

Dr Lexie Leonard
Dr Lexie Leonard

Hamilton: Lexie Leonard, Veterinary Consultant, Livestock Logic (l.leonard@livestocklogic.com.au)

Following on from a wet February, March has been mainly dry so far for Western Victoria.  Patchy rain in areas have left some pastures and summer crops lush and green, while others down the road look very dry and dusty. Our WECs have been reflecting this with results ranging from 0 to the high hundreds across different areas around Hamilton.  It is vital that regular monitoring is done to ensure mobs are not being drenched unnecessarily, and that WECs do not get too high. Weaners should be checked every 3–4 weeks, and mature sheep every 4–6 weeks, especially if your property has had a bit of rain and there is green pick around.

If your sheep are in containment, don’t rush to let them out onto green pick until we have had good follow up rain. For paddocks that have had standing dry feed (over 1200 kg DM) over summer, these are considered to have a moderate to high worm challenge; be mindful if you have heavily pregnant ewes or young stock on these paddocks. For stock (especially weaners) on summer forage crops, monitoring is still important as they can pick up worm burdens quickly, especially if grass and clover species are present in crop paddocks.

If your WECs have been higher than expected since January, now is the time to formulate a sound worm management plan for the rest of the year, as you can expect high pasture contamination over winter and spring.  Managing weaners and maiden lambing will be high priority if pasture contamination is an issue.  We do not expect pasture larvae burdens to decrease from now on.

Flies have generally not been a problem this season, with cooler temperatures seeming to hold off any major activity. We do not expect fly numbers to increase dramatically in the next 2 weeks, however, this could potentially change if we get big rains while temperatures remain mild.



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