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Graph 1: Percentage of Sheep Requiring Drenching from Livestock Logic Laboratory over the calendar year.
The graph shows that the last 3 months have had the highest worm pressure for the year. While these levels are below normal for winter/spring, there are still plenty of sheep that have benefitted from a drench.
If you did not monitor sheep in October then you are overdue for an egg count.
There have been confirmed losses in adult ewes caused by massive burdens of lung worms. These particular sheep were purchased early in the year. They were last drenched in May, and had been grazing a heavily waterlogged paddock during July to September whereas in previous years they always grazed dry and well drained paddocks.
Lungworm is normally of no consequence, only causing a mild cough at worst in young sheep. In very wet years however, it can kill adult sheep and cattle in spring. Affected sheep are in poor condition and coughing, and on post mortem, airways in the lungs are full of thin white worms up to 8 cm long. It is worthwhile talking to your parasite laboratory about these worms if you have had conditions suitable for lungworm which is mostly of the temperate east coast of Australia.
It is not surprising that we still haven’t had many reports of flystrike in the south west as conditions have remained very cool. Normally we start to see pressure in October but we have not had many days above 20°C so flies have not yet become active. We would expect to see flystrike issues occurring in the south west once some warm weather arrives and soil temperatures increase allowing the fly life cycle to commence. If sheep stay susceptible due to continued spring rainfall, then it has the potential to be a nasty fly year.