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Victoria worm update - May 2012

Tricia Veale, Benalla (

Very little rain in April (15mm) has caused drying out in the paddocks in this area of North Eastern Victoria. In the first three weeks of May only 6mm of rain has fallen causing increasingly severe drying out. Some farmers are describing their land as a desert, which is very difficult as on many properties ewes have young lambs.

Worm egg counts are at quite moderate levels, averaging around 400epg of dung on many properties. The dry weather has now been accompanied by morning frosts. These conditions will kill Barber’s Pole worm eggs but small numbers of larvae will survive. On paddocks where animals have been quite wormy they will continue to pick up roundworm and liver fluke larvae.

This is the ideal time to think about getting a drench resistance test done on your younger sheep. Knowing your drench resistance status is a good business strategy. I suggest that you now need to do such a test every 2 years to keep up with the resistance trends on your property.

To check out your situation, I suggest that you do a worm egg count reduction trial or resistance check test. This is a trial that you run on your own place.

Doing a resistance test will help you plan a drenching regime that makes the efficient drenches last as long as possible on your property.

It is a serious mistake to use one type of drench only, every year for a few years. This actively encourages the appearance of resistant worms.

Once again it is very interesting to see that the onset of colder weather in this area has a very useful side to it. The recently noted appearance of Blue-Green algae in lakes and dams has subsided due to colder water temperatures.

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