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Victoria worms, flies and lice update - May 2015

VIC WormBoss Worm Control Programs

VIC WormBoss Drench Decision Guides


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

Livestock Logic Key Recommendations

  • Egg counts are on the move—WEC all weaners NOW
  • Start thinking about lambing paddocks and avoid high egg count mobs in those paddocks
  • Be strategic about WECs in pregnant ewes. Monitor monthly and 3 weeks prior to lambing start date to help make informed drench decisions.

It doesn’t take much colder, wetter weather to get us whinging about lack of sunshine. After a prolonged dry period we have had very welcome rain over the last 2 weeks and as of the 20th May we have had 3 inches of rain for the month. In most areas, grass had germinated so we are quickly seeing decent quantities of grass for dry stock. As always, those ewes/cows that are lambing/calving at the moment are short on feed and doing it pretty tough with hungry mouths staying on top of pastures.

As predicted, we had enough rain in April to give us conditions for worm survival and we are starting to see egg counts on the rise, particularly in weaners. We have in the last 10 days setup 2 sheep drench trials (the first in Western Vic for this year for Livestock Logic), this is usually a pretty good indicator as to worm pickup. If we can’t find weaners to do drench trials in then there aren’t many sheep around with a significant worm burden.

The below chart shows a spike in WECs for May and this should trigger you to get some egg counts done in your local lab. With ordinary weather around, weaners with a worm burden will crash due to worms, weather and lack of nutrition. Regular monitoring, every 2–3 weeks is a must for weaners from here on in and at least monthly for older animals. Note that the majority of these higher counts have come in last week, so would expect the proportion of weaners needing to be drenched to be somewhat higher at the moment than the 15% average for May.


Graph 1: Percentage of Sheep Requiring Drenching from Livestock Logic Laboratory

Anyone who has not done a drench resistance test in the last 3 years should be thinking about getting one done now that weaner counts will start to increase. We can help you setup these trials and provide informed independent advice with a drench plan to reduce your reliance on certain drench classes.

Benalla: Tricia Veale (triciav7@bigpond.com)

We had good rain last month in this part of North Eastern Victoria!  There was a total of 80 mm for April but only 16 mm so far for May. Young lambs are now present on many properties.

The dams are fairly full and the grass is now growing well and animals have plenty of fodder. Farmers are very pleased and many have planted their crops this season. We just need more rain to top up the dams and help the crops grow.

Worm egg counts in sheep, goats and young cattle are increasing, with moderate counts in some places and higher ones elsewhere. The counts are mostly around of 200–400 eggs per gram.

Liver fluke, Fasciola hepatica, have appeared on many of 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, now is the time to check it out and then drench the animals if needed.

Some farmers believe 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 to moderate numbers of eggs of Moniezia spp., the sheep Tapeworm are now being seen. These are rarely ever harmful to the sheep.

Check the worm egg counts and for the presence of fluke before drenching.