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Victoria worms, flies and lice update - October 2018

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

Reminders for the next 4 weeks:

  • Weaners and light conditioned ewe mobs still require close monitoring to capitalise on the good feed available coming into summer.
  • Consider mobs that will be suitable for a Drench Resistance Trial if you have not done one in the past 3 years
  • Ensure that spring–joining rams have an effective drench at least 6 weeks prior to joining
  • Newly purchased rams receive a quarantine drench (4 actives, including either or both monepantel and /or derquantel) on arrival at your property.

The good weather for lambing continues and spring lambers have been achieving good marking results with feed conditions continuing to improve.  Recent rainfall and warmer weather has bolstered pasture growth, however rainfall is well below average for the spring period. The majority of mobs tested prior to lamb marking have not needed drenching at marking, and lamb Worm Eggs Counts (WEC) have been relatively low over the past 4 weeks.

Egg counts between properties and even between mobs on properties have been quite variable over the past 4 weeks, highlighting the need to monitor mobs closely. Properties with good autumn/winter worm control have followed this trend into spring with WEC levels generally staying below 250 eggs per gram (epg). There have been some recent dramatic rises in egg counts in mobs drenched in late August and not tested until October, which fits with the rainfall pattern over September and the relatively short pastures around the Hamilton district until early October.

Continuing to monitor mobs into November is paramount to ensure sub–clinical worm burdens do not go untreated and ewe mobs are able to gain condition on spring pasture. This is especially important this year with predicted high grain and hay prices. The same goes for weaners and hoggets needing to capitalise on spring growth while pasture is available to decrease feeding pressure once the pasture dries off.

The chart below shows the differences in worm challenges between this winter/spring period and the same period last year. We expect worm challenge to increase post recent rain events and would not expect pasture to dry off until late December.