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Victoria worm update - May 2013

Editorthis month we welcome a new contributor in Victoria.  Andrew Whale, Livestock Logic, Hamilton posts his first contribution.

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

There was a significant rainfall event across most of Victoria with 40-60mm in the south west falling in the middle of the month. This was much needed as the first 4 months of 2013 had been very dry, as a result worm activity has been limited with very few sheep, including majority of weaner's requiring a second summer drench.

Counts have risen steadily during May in the South West, in reviewing the 250 bulk egg counts in sheep for the first 3 weeks of May, it shows our recommendations have been that about 20% of mobs have required drenching.

On the back of the rainfall event, signalling our autumn break in May we expect worm activity to be on the rise and urge producers to monitor weaner's in Mid-June, once weaner and maiden counts start to increase and drenching is required then monitoring can move to the next most at risk mobs, eg. lighter condition ewes. The timing of egg counts will greatly affect the results as due to the worm life-cycle it is expected that counts will not rise until at least 4 weeks post autumn break. This is important to understand as counts done pre 4 weeks that are low will need to be followed within 2-3 weeks in high risk mobs to ensure a production check does not occur.

Egg counts from southern NSW clients have been somewhat different to the southwest on the back of their earlier autumn rains with adult sheep requiring drenching with counts of over 1000epg in sheep given highly effective second summer drenches in February.

Results from clients in Tasmania have shown increased worm activity and recommendations to drench have increased in the last 4 weeks.

Tricia Veale, Benalla (triciav7@bigpond.com):

Finally we have had some rain this month, 28 mm so far in this part of North Eastern Victoria!  This is a good start and we hope for more to relieve the previously dry conditions. The dams fortunately still have some water in them but good falls will fill them. Farmers are very relieved and those who have planted crops hope for more rain. Sheep and cattle are having to be fed in most places.

Worm egg counts in sheep, goats and young cattle are slowly increasing, with moderate counts of 200-400 eggs per gram of dung (epg) about the average.

Liver Fluke, Fasciola hepatica, are also appearing again on those properties where they are present. There have been quite a number of positive Liver Fluke egg counts. So if there has been a history of Liver Fluke on your property then now is the time to drench the animals.

Some farmers have suggested that the fluke drench is not working in their cattle. In most of these cases a test has revealed that there are no Liver Fluke eggs present but there are eggs of the Stomach Fluke, Paramphistomum sp.  These flukes can cause scouring and poor condition in the tail of the mob. There have also been Stomach Fluke detected on a small number of sheep properties.

Low numbers of eggs of Moniezia spp., the sheep Tapeworm are now being seen. These are not usually very harmful to the sheep when present in low numbers. High numbers of tapeworm eggs in young sheep….or when you see the animals passing whole worms…like spaghetti on to the ground… indicate the need for a tapeworm treatment.